I found him dead a week ago.  Seven days, sometime between midnight and 3 am.  He died, slipped away, passed into rest, but left me here.  How can a parent slip out so quietly?


The death of Dad was a stunner.  How can that poor body hold so immense a thing as death?  And now, I'm supposed to let go of him?  How?


No friends, or family had any reason to suspect he would leave so unexpectedly.  Its true he was 71, but thats not so old today.  I know he had diabetes, and it certainly charged a toll, but I don't get to know what killed him.  When I found him there, in his bed, looking for all the world like the sleeping old man I've found there many times before, I didn't know he was dead immediatly.  I said "Dad" to him, to wake him up (he was a late sleeper always) but when I touched him, the cold passed from him right to the center of my being.  My Dad was dead, and I was certain in once touch.  I was stunned.  I had to catch my breath for a moment. 


I felt no horrer or fear of his death, or even of him being dead in the room with me.  I felt privilaged to be the one to find him, and not a care giver or friend.  I felt like it was a precious moment with him, just he and I one last time togather alone, before I had to make THE CALL, and lose him to time forever.  And now he's gone from me, body and mind and spirit, and I soooo don't want him to be.  I want another 6 minutes, an hours, 3 days, 20 years, but not over.  I DON"T WANT OVER!  No.  I want Dad, and I want him here and alive and with me, not like this. 


When I called 911, I couldn't think.  I couldn't remember his address.  (I lived here with him as a child!)  She had me get  a letter, and read it too her.  I just couldn't think, and I've been not thinking all week now.  Thoughts just leave right in the middle of making.  When they were on the way, I called our friend and neighbor to be with me.  We'd been talking on the phone that morning, about some rummer that Dad had passed away he'd heard last week.  Oddly, I'd assured him Dad was fine, to the best of my knowledge.  Less than an hour later, he stood with me, looking down at my sweet dad laying restfully on the bed.  It took over 24 hours for the image of Dad there on that bed to not be the first thing I saw when I closed my eyes, or stopped.


Calling my dads only two brothers (he was the youngest), and giving them the news was the most painfull phone calls of my life.  Both are older, and one is in poor health allready.  We almost lost him two monthes ago.  Theirs were only the first of many painful conversations I was forced to make and indure, as the only child, and the last of our immediate family.  It also fell on me to discover the only plan for this end, was that there was one burial plot.  I had the horrible job of the funeral details and planning, the arranging for military honors at graveside, to decide on times, visitations, flowers, and all the details of the ending of a life.  It was completely awefull to have to force myself out of my house to go increase my pain, and draw closer the inevitable funeral.


And now, having somehow made it through the funeral, sobbing into the shoulder of my favorite uncle, the poor thing also in agony, and somehow surviving the burial, which I stayed and watched completely, I am here.  I feel like the whole in the donut.  I feel like their is no amount of inheritance, no treasured collections, that I wouldn't trade for a minute, an hour, a day with my dad.  I trade it all and all I own, even down to my home and shoes, to get to sit with him his last few minutes alive, so I could hold his hand and tell him goodbye, while he lives. 


Today I hurt.  Today I know that I understand what a gift love is.  I know loss now.  Real loss, unlike any pain I've ever known.  I don't want to forget him, or have anyone else do it.  I don't want to feel the pain anymore, but I can't let myself be numb.  I was numb the first few days for sure.  I just can't be know.  Now, it is a world of sadness and heartbreak I feel. 

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