Good Grief.

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I think it is starting to sink it. The numbness is gone, and in it’s place lies a pit of dread, whose proportions I am sure I don’t know yet. What did it? My husband just reminded me of a gift that we got for my father 2 Christmases ago. It was a very tacky light-up figure of Giants Quarterback Eli Manning throwing a football. It was the most excellent gift I had ever gotten him…and we had a long history of exchanging tacky gifts. We went through a period when each of us would bring back the tackiest gift we could find from a shell shop in Florida. I could never afford the sea shell toilet seat, which was unfortunate…because he would have loved that! Anyway, he did love the Eli figure and put it in his front window for a while, until it was relegated to the basement with the rest of his sports memorabilia. I am so proud of that gift, because it was so symbolic of our relationship…I honored something he loved (Giants Football), with something we shared (the love of tacky), just like his tradition of providing treats for my dogs at Christmas, as he knew how much I love them.
How am I supposed to get through this? I guess this week, it will be done by attending to the logistics of wakes, funerals, kind words and sympathy. Beyond that, I can’t imagine. Everyone dies….I know this, but, my dad was not supposed to die yet. There was so much more to do, to eat, to laugh about.
When I think back to March, I think of how brave he was in the hospital. How hard he pushed to recover, how he made us laugh with his “high maintenance” needs. Every time one of us walked into his room, we were given a task….stretch his arms, rub his legs or fluff his pillows. Though it was such a difficult time, it was also funny and amazing…he showed us all what he was made of through his recovery…and let us give him everything we could. We brought him every type of food he loved once he could eat (including meat dishes prepared by my husband especially for him), my brother brought his portable DVD player so they could watch movies together, Lisa and he had a chinese food picnic date, I read to him from books I bought about God and transcendental meditation. He and my uncle devised a PT routine they worked on every day when my uncle came up from Georgia. His friend Charles visited almost every day. He wore his St. Patrick’s day beads that whole day. That month will forever be etched in my mind as, by far, the most meaningful time in my life.
I just went back through my phone to look at texts from my dad when he was in the hospital, and am overwhelmed by them…in one I asked how he was doing and he said “great…on road to recovery now..at intersection of love of life and love of family streets”. Another said, “GREAT DAY!!…great therapy sessions..lots of progress…I’ll be out in no time”. And another….”SPRUNG…be in my house in 15 minutes!”. I am filled with so much pride at his approach to life….and so much sorrow that he won’t be here to share it anymore. But, I do believe that his soul and spirit will live on and remain present in all of us who loved him. I am a very lucky girl.

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