I hate… hate… hate… the final images that I’m left with of some people. Namely the people that I love.
Sometimes, I wish to have not visited them at all in the hospital, so that my final memory of them is as a vibrant, alive, fully functional human being. Because, chances are… that’s how they were when I fell in love with them. When they affected me so that they’d be in my life until the end of theirs or the end of mine. But obligation makes us visit them in the hospital every day. To show them that we’re there and that we care. And while they look at our faces unchanged… and touch our hands alive with the heat of youth (as my granny referred to it)… we gaze upon the deterioration. We stare down the Grim Reaper as he seeps his way through their pores and into their bodies and he just… slowly… nibbles them down. So that the final images that we have of our loved ones are emaciated… slack jawed… wide eyed shadows of who they really were.
The first man I ever thought of as superman (because at 4 years old, I thought that would HAVE to be the credential for someone who could hang me from his bicep and not get tired) has passed from this earth. He was NOT the best most wonderful most ideal father. But… he was my father. The 0nly one I knew. I have some precious memories. I have a lot of painful ones. And the idea that he’s no longer with us… and that he breathed his last tonight is still really seeping in. Slowly. Painfully. I’ll figure out what to say about him sooner than later. They’ll expect that I’ll speak at the funeral – although I’d rather just sit quietly and not deal with anyone. I might share my favorite memory of him.
As a child, we had a “big screen” 27 – 30 inch tv in the house. So big, it had to sit on the floor. This was before remote controls. So my dad would sit in his lounger and if he wanted to change the channel, he get to his knees, crawl over to the tv and turn the knob. I would be waiting in the shadows for that opportunity. And when he was on all 4’s… I’d LEAP onto his back and demand a pony ride. He would always oblige… and drive me once around the center table in the living room. All the while, me holding on to his ears and squealing in delight. I knew my limit was about once a day, but I always took my pleasure to do it… and until I was a little too heavy… he always obliged. They were the very sweetest moments I’d spend being Daddy’s girl and to date… my most favored memory of my dad. And the way I’d like to remember him most.
Rest in Peace, Daddy.