Monday, February 18, 2008

Its Monday, right?

It feels like Wednesday to me. These last 48 hours are a blur. Actually, maybe the last 72 hours are the blur. At one point today I literally sat down and couldn't remember what day it was today. I actually thought it was Tuesday. So much happened in the last two days that I can't quite, in my own mind, get it all straight. I think part of it is that I had two cups of coffee Sunday morning after coming home from the hospital. I should of just gone to bed and foregone the coffee.

After I got things taken care of at the hospital, I drove home. When I got there my mom and aunt were awake and sort of waiting for me. We sat at the kitchen table talking. I was decompressing a bit. Sorting through images, dissecting words spokend between my dad and I before he died. I was exhausted, yet I wide awake.

We waited until six o'clock and then my Aunt Anita, my mom's sister, went to McDonald's and got some of their breakfast buns. She brought those home, mom made scrambled eggs, and we had breakfast. Two cups of coffee, a sugarbun, and eggs later I was tired, but wired. Great combination. I lay down on my bed and tried to sleep, but I couldn't turn it off. The caffine didn't help. I fought to go to sleep for a couple hours and finally gave up.

I got up, and then kind of walked around in a befuddled caffine-caused cloud. Everything was in slowmotion for a while. About 2:30 mom and I went to the funeral home that is taking care of things. My parents, in forethought, preplanned and prepaid for their funerals. So, my mom and I just had to fill in some blanks and make sure everything was set properly.

By the time we were done there, we were both wiped. We ate out, but for the life of me, I can't remember the name of the joint. It was a deli, McAllister's, I think. THe food was good.

I've been thinking back to Sunday night all day. It was a night that I will not soon forget. I have seen dead bodies before. I've been to many different funerals, but I've never actually seen anyone die. My father's passing was so quiet, it was almost surreal. One second he was here, breathing hard, the next he was gone. It was literally like a switch was flipped off. It was so sudden that the nurses weren't even sure he had gone. He was peaceful. His eyes were slightly lidded and his mouth slightly open. His arms across his chest. It was silent.

I took some time to be with my father before I left. It was he and I. I stroked his forehead and took his hand in mine. I prayed over his body, thanking God for taking care of him and easing his pain. I thanked God for taking my father to Heaven and for allowing me to be his son. I kissed his forehead lightly and then pulled the sheets up to his chin. Before I left I pulled the curtain around his bed so no one could look in. I wanted him to have his dignity. The last thing I did was turn off all the lights and then walked away.

I don't think I can put into words how it felt to be in that room at the moment. I wasn't scared or angry. I was glad I was there. He needed me to be there.

When I was little, right around the time his father died, my dad took me to a funeral home. My grandfather didn't want me to see him in his coffin. He wanted me to "remember the good times," but my father wanted me to understand death. So, he talked with a funeral home director on Long Island and we went to view a body in a coffin. I think it was probably one of the most important things my father ever did for me. It is because of that visit that death doesn't scare me in the least. I remember the man, I don't know his name, but he was laid out in his coffin. His head was to my right. He wore a blue suit. He had white hair. His coffin was completely open. He had been a veteran, I remember the tri-pointed flag.

1 comment:

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

So good that you were there with him — for the both of you, I think.

Let me know if you need anything.