Today is the one-year anniversary of my Dad’s death.
I miss him horribly.
I had a dream a few weeks ago that I was watching my life race past, with Dad beside me. The two of us were sitting in the garage of his home at a table, and everything was racing all around us. I saw my babysitter from when I was little (I didn’t like her back then but I’m sure she was a nice girl), then various old ladies we had known, walking in then out never to be seen again, then the paint was changing around us and objects were coming in and out, cars in and out, as if watching years pass in seconds. People long dead would appear, then disappear for good. Dad and I were shaking our heads and laughing about how things change, and he was eating a bowl of cereal at the table. Then, suddenly, the garage filled up with all the stuff from his office. With horror – I realized we had just passed the date of his demise, and the subsequent clearing of the room where he wrote his books.
“Wait!” I said. “Dad! Now we’ve passed you!” He looked at me quizzically, cocking an eyebrow. Tears sprang to my eyes. “We’ve passed you, Dad… but you’re still here!” I grabbed him and hugged him tight… and then he fell to pieces in my arms, crumbling away.
I woke up shaky and overwhelmed with loss.
Dad was my closest friend. He adopted me after my biological dad was murdered by Muslim terrorists. And now he’s gone. One day, healthy, brilliant and smiling… the next, lying in a coma in a hospital bed.
“The damage is too severe,” the surgeon says, shaking his head. “The human brain can’t take that kind of trauma. There are blank spots all through his brain. I stopped the initial bleeding, but the chances of recovery are near zero.”
He was driving home from teaching kids at a summer camp when a freak storm dumped water on the road. He hit it, spun out into a tree, slammed his head against the inside door of the car, and his lights were out for good.
And then Dad lay there, unresponsive for a week, his body continuing. Muscles strong, shoulders broad, hands thick and masculine… and limp. He looked like he would just sit up any moment. But he didn’t, no matter how we pleaded with God and cried and talked and prayed over him.
And then early this morning, one year ago, he breathed his last.
And we go on without him.
No more Dolphins games with big bowls of popcorn, terrible puns, conversations about theology and life, cheesy sports movies, Green Acres episodes with the grandchildren, working in the backyard food forest, no more “Love you, Dave,” every time I said goodbye on the phone.
No more. And it kills me.
I love you, Dad. And I miss you.