It’s funny how life’s deepest questions and statements always pass through my mind at the most random times. Often at two or three in the morning. Why couldn’t I think about these deep thoughts at 9 in the morning when the sun is up and I’ve had a cup of coffee? I suppose I don’t get to choose the when life barges in.
I was thinking about my dad. This time, about three years ago, was the last time I saw my dad alive. I went to D.C. to visit him during my fall break from school. It wasn’t much of a fun filled visit as Dad was in the hospital for the whole week, but I was glad to see him. We didn’t talk much. Sometimes that visit makes me cry more than the day he died. It was then that I saw my dad as a human. He was supposed to be the strong, witty, courageous, compassionate, life giving, encouraging, and the corny joke tell dad I always knew.
That time he wasn’t. He was really really sick. Cancer was invading his body.
I watched him do normal actives, which were challenging for him to do. I watched as his eyebrows met, scrunched in the middle and then rose when he asked me for my help. I had a mixed sense of sadness and honor as I helped him.
I haven’t written much about the details of my dad’s death until now because it made me cry. I hate crying. My face get red, my eyes swollen, and I cry ugly. I’ve heard from everyone who’s lost a parent, “You never get over the death of a parent.” Not the best form of encouragement, but it’s truest statement I’ve ever head. The truth isn’t a bandage to cover up the wound, it’s more of an ointment to help it heal.
Three years later, I’m grateful for the truth.
The last day I saw him, I watched him nap on the couch. I would stare long as I sat on pins and needles waiting for what seemed like eternity for his chest to rise and fall. I had never felt so scared in my life. I was scared he was going to die at that moment.
I hope that one day, whether I’m healthy or not, that I’ll have someone who loves me enough to watch my chest rise and fall. To care for me the way my mother selflessly, lovingly, and courageously did for my dad.
I’m not sharing my story for offerings of “I’m sorry for loss,” or cause people to pity me. I don’t want your sympathies or pity, they’ve never helped me in the past and I’m sure they won’t be aid to me in the future.
Empathy, however, is a welcomed thought.
I’m writing this in hopes to the find the ones who’ve experienced loss.
Sometimes, it’s nice to know you’re not the only one. You’re not alone in your sorrow. You’re not the only one who wants a do-over. You’re not the only one who’s watched a loved one’s life slip away. You’re not the only who feels like it wasn’t enough time. You’re not the only one who is surviving. You’re not the only one who feels helpless.
Those who have had a life taken away, you’re not alone.
That’s the truth.