Exactly one year ago today, my life changed. My dad, completely jaundiced, stopped delaying his trip to the hospital and went only to find he wasn’t able to leave and further testing was required. He went to the hospital in Adrian late on the 6th and they transported him to University of Michigan at 3 am. Before he left, they told him it wasn’t good. I felt like I was standing so firmly, only to have the ground open up beneath me and swallow me whole. My family descended into the darkness and the unknown to fight a battle we ultimately never stood a chance against, but damn it, did we fight. We fought HARD. I don’t think I’ve ever tried so hard to do anything in my life.
I have Time Hop and my “memories” come up on facebook. I realized that I will be reliving all of the emotions I felt and seeing all of the updates I posted as this year unfolds and I am feeling a lot of emotions about it. On one hand, I do not want to see it. I don’t want to read it. I almost want to forget it even happened, but on the other, it gives me a chance to see my dad regularly. His photos and videos will show up. I wish I could stick my head into those moments and tell him, “Hey! You don’t have a lot of time, but I want you to stop acting like you’re going to die tomorrow! You have 6 months, let’s get out there and do something with it!”
But I can’t.
A couple of weeks ago, I was laying in bed and out of no where started thinking about my dad’s feet. They were long and skinny; almost skeletal looking even in good health. My dad’s toenails were always too long. He stepped on a nail in his youth and still has the dent from where it went in on the bottom of his foot, but as I laid there thinking about them, I started crying so hard. I don’t have a picture of his feet. I will never see those feet again. Those feet only exist in my memory and that is a very overwhelming feeling. I wish I had photographed every thing that seemed mundane to me. I wish I could see his feet again.
When all of this was happening, I remember feeling like I was in a whirlwind constantly. There was a lot of uncertainty. We were on an emotional rollercoaster. After my dad passed, I felt like the entire world changed and seemed different, but it took me a little too long to realize that it wasn’t the world at all; it was me. I had changed. I have changed and I don’t think I can ever be the same person I was. The colors in this world seem a bit muted after the loss of someone so profound to me. I cry a little bit more. I have experienced a loss and lived through something I never thought would actually happen to me.
So, today begins reliving the same journey as one year ago, but this time, I know the outcome. I know when the journey ends and I’m not looking forward to it, but this time, I will do my best to honor and celebrate that loss and not let the darkness consume me. I have to believe he died on Halloween so he could come back because everyone knows the spirits cross over that day. This time, I will be ready.