Thursday, December 4, 2008

a year has passed.

a year has passed since i sat in that hospital room that one night, just me and dad. the night nurse was phenomenal. all night she would come in and touch my dad while she looked at those machines. she was patient with me as i asked my questions, she kept my hopes up because during that time hope is what you need. the nurses knew more than they were telling and they were trying to comfort the one person who would remember this time. i am sure now that i was in denial. denial of what was more than likely to be the outcome of this visit. i would sit in the chair. then move to his bedside. then up against the wall. then back to the bed. every time i touched him his back would arch, he would tense up and his eyes would roll to the back of his head. i can still vividly see that image in my head. the nurse tried to comfort me and tell me that there were two possible reasons: one, the medicine they had given him in the er was finally wearing off and he was reacting to my touch, or two, he had gone too long without oxygen to the brain. it was the second reason. sometime in the early morning my mother came back to the hospital and i went home. i tried to sleep because i knew the next day was going to be just as long as the first.

around 8 in the morning the phone rang. lee answered it. after he hung up he told me we needed to get to the hospital. "oh crap" that was all i said. i knew this was the end and all i could say was "oh crap."

when we got to the hospital there was lots of waiting. waiting for amber. it was only fair that she be given the option to be there when dad took his lasts breathes on his own. i found a window and baked in it. the warmth of that window was comforting. i would wait in dad's room. i would leave. i would go back. they had given him more medicine so he wouldn't have seizures like during the night. lots of family came and waited in that one small waiting room. there are so many of us that we could not fit, so we basically took over that hall. we have a way of doing that. i guess there is power in numbers.

the time finally came, we were all there. we each took our turn at his side. to tell him goodbye. to tell him i love you. then they removed the tube. it was the worst thing i have ever seen. and i thought dad's gangrene foot was bad. i will never witness that again. i watch my fair share of grey's anatomy and this is nothing like on the show. to watch someone turn colors, the life leave them. never again.

that night i did the hardest thing i have ever done. i told my oldest child "remember how daddy told you that papa was sick and you needed to pray for him when he dropped you off at school this morning?" i had to tell him his papa died. he looked at me screaming, wailing, crying "but i love papa." if only love could keep someone alive. for a six year old child he understood a lot.

in this year there have been many things that i have missed about my dad.
  • the way he would wrap his bottom lip around his upper lip and mustache
  • the way he would rest his wrist on the steering wheel as he drove
  • how he put his glasses in his hat and set them on the pile of crap at the pharmacy
  • how messy the pharmacy was (mark it is not normal and frankly still disturbing how clean it is behind the counter at the pharmacy)
  • growing a garden with him (i don't know that i will ever be grown up enough to do one on my own)
  • having to tell tayte to hush up when i told him to kiss papa goodbye (he always said papa's breath was bad)
  • having dad at my side in church
  • having dad at my side at baylee's basketball games
  • hearing dad yell "alright, alright, alright" when he was watching a game on tv, at the football field, or playing 42
  • the way he rubbed his finger on his thumb
  • his daily milkshake
  • the way he rubbed the boys hair from the front to the back because he believed it makes babies smarter. it stimulates the nerves in the brain
  • his singing even though it was bad
  • him pestering the boys all the time
  • the love he had for his grandkids
  • going to lunch on sundays after church
  • i miss people telling me "i saw your dad getting the paper" which by itself is not that weird, the fact that he did it in his underwear is
  • i miss watching him brush his hair straight back, i am thankful he never did the comb-over thing
  • i am sad that he didn't get to see tayte do the hook em at the funeral home that first day
  • i even miss his god awful stinky farts

the list could go on. these are the ones that i wish i could see one more time. all lot has changed in this last year. things are easier now, they say it gets easier with time. i know that my dad is still around. he tries in his own way to let me know. in fact on thanksgiving while i was taking a bath i was listening to my ipod. i had it shuffling through about 180+ songs and this is the order of songs that it played small town southern man, cowgirls don't cry, and you'll be there. i stood in the bathroom crying and yelled "enough i know that you are here." there are certain things that happen that i know he is trying to tell me it is ok. today an ambulance drove right in front of the store, to my knowledge that is the first time it has happened.

i love you dad. and will see you in time.