October 5, 2018


Life After Dad

This is a blog post about my dad passing away.

On May 25th just after midnight and having had a wonderful day with my mom, my dad had a very bad fall that caused a traumatic brain injury that was so bad it was all the doctors could do to keep his body alive long enough for our family to be by his side before they removed life support. His body faded quickly, which I felt as the warmth leaving as I held his hand. And like that I lost the greatest friend in my life.

I'll never forget that moment when I first saw his face in the hospital. I knew in that instant that he was gone. I knew there was nothing that could be done. Something I was very afraid of was really happening and now I'll spend the rest of my life trying to adapt. I'm still trying to make sense of this new reality where my dad is missing, but I find traces of him everywhere in everyday life and they usually bring with them both the joy of remembering his gentle kindness and the pain of that loss. At night my dad sometimes makes visits in my dreams. I've woken early in the morning dreaming of hearing his footsteps and not wanting to believe he's not here, wanting instead to wake back up into that other place where my dad is still breathing and is waiting with a big grin to give me a big hug when I make a visit home. I can still hear him saying my name when I'd walk through the front door.

A couple days after my dad passed away I had an interesting moment where I walked outside and looked up at the stars and had an honest talk with whomever is responsible for this universe. I said two things: I didn't think I'd ever understand why this had to happen, or how any good could come from it, and also I'd happily pay this price of feeling the empty sadness in my heart for the rest of my days if that was the price for having had such an amazing father. But instead of sinking further into the emptiness I felt the most calm peaceful feeling I've ever known. It was a reassurance that everything is ok, it always was, and my dad's love will live in me always. This feeling of relief completely answered the pain in my heart if only just for a moment. It was a glimpse into something bigger and more profoundly reassuring than the weight of all the sadness I felt, or ever could feel. All my troubles were just misunderstandings because the true beauty of this world is right before our eyes if we just allow ourselves to realize it. How I came to this moment is a mystery to me, but one thing I do know now is that I don't have to know how everything makes sense. I don't have to worry about what I've lost. I don't have to know how it happens, or could even be possible, but I simply believe that someday I'll look at my dad again and say "it's good to see you again."