Friday, July 23, 2010

"I'll See You Later"

Today is my Dad’s birthday. He would have been 79 years old. Today makes it a little over 1-½ years since his passing on January 13, 2009. Today is a hard day.

For the longest time, I could not say goodbye – that word seems so final. And, for the longest time, whenever I think about returning to his final resting place to say goodbye, I’d break out into heart wrenching sobs. I just couldn't bring myself to go back.

This week has been a hard week. It is bittersweet with Dad’s birthday being today and the blessing of a new baby shower coming tomorrow. It was made all the harder when Mother got sick. She is battling UTI again and the antibiotics she was taking made her sicker. In fact, this particular antibiotic has made her sick in the past. So, when my brother found out what she was taking, he arranged it so that she’d get a different antibiotic. They took away the pills and are giving her shots. She seems to be doing better albeit weak.

Her skin on her face is still pale and beautiful. And, her mind is still going strong. It’s her hands that give her away. She used to have such beautiful petite soft hands and now, they are a 90-year old lady’s skeletal hands. She’s only 75 years old. It makes me feel sad.

It is times like this that I miss my Dad the most. He never wanted to be the first to leave. He wanted to be around to take care of Mother. But, life often deals hard knocks and takes away your choices.

As I pondered and did much soul searching this week, many things came to light in my mind and heart. It came to me that I was not allowed to properly grieve during that awful week between Dad’s passing and his funeral. And now, whenever I think upon the events that occurred during this time, it leaves only sorrow in my heart with a hint of anger. I honestly believe that I had to get past that first before I could properly grieve for Daddy. Even though I realized that those things have conspired against my ability to fully grieve Daddy’s passing, I still could not say goodbye. I still broke out into heart wrenching sobs.

In one of my many silent listening moments, a memory came to me out of the blue. I recalled one of my favorite Great Uncle’s conversations about the word "goodbye". I remember that he, too, disliked that word. For him, the word "goodbye" seems so final, so harsh. Instead, he preferred to use the phrase “see you later”. It always left room for the hope that we’ll see each other again someday whether it would be on earth or in Heaven.

In my heart, I realized that the same is true for me. "Goodbye" is not the word for me to use. Instead, it should be “see you later”. And, for the first time, I only had tears streaming down my face instead of heart wrenching sobs and a broken heart. I can look forward to the hope of seeing him again and move on with my life.

So today, I returned for the first time to Dad’s final resting place.

Today, I wished him a happy birthday.

Today, I told him about the newest little one coming into the family in November, a baby girl, his great granddaughter, Lily. I know in my heart he would have so adored and loved her so much.

Today, I told him I loved him very much and missed him terribly.

Today, I bid farewell to my Daddy. I said to him “I’ll see you later”.

I walked away feeling at peace…