|Dad with his one and only. I wonder if his corsage was Lily of the Valley? ;-)|
Thursday, May 10, 2012
I remember the Lily of the Valley blooming so beautifully along the side of my parent’s house in May of 2002. They were amazingly fragrant and gorgeous as they are every spring, and I can only remember looking at them with a mix of joy and pain. You see, they bloomed on the day we buried our dad.
He’d been sick a long time with cancer, and yet this sudden illness (respiratory problems) still took us by surprise. By some miracle I was actually visiting my family in Minnesota from my home in DC when this happened. I could have had no way of knowing that he would get sick, nor that when he left the house that day he would never return.
It’s funny how intense periods result in memories that can only be described as snapshots that never ever fade. I can still see my sister Alice pulling the car up to the house as close as she could so he wouldn’t have so far too walk—that’s how shaky he was. Mom was really hobbled with a knee replacement too and it was all just so stressful I remember.
Like I said, I don’t think that we knew then that this was it, but maybe on some level we did. Dad had always taken such care to have all of his papers in order, and yet as we were trying to get him out to the car, we realized that we did not know the passwords to his computer--you know that place where all of his papers were in such perfect order? He was able to tell us eventually, but I can picture him now, just looking at us somewhat confused and so tired.
I won’t list all of the memories that have been washing over me as I've reflected on dad today, but I will share one. After days in the hospital hooked up to so many lines and IVs etc…we moved him to a wonderful hospice. After he’d been transported, and attended to by the loving staff, I cried to see him resting so peacefully in soft blue pajamas--his stubble shaved and his skin so clean and soft. So serene. To me, he looked for everything in the world like a little boy peacefully sleeping.
I will forever be grateful for the loving way that the hospice workers, in big ways and small, helped us to just be with him, and help him to die with dignity and peace on that sad day of May 16, 2002. I loved my dad very much and will always miss him (mom too now that she has joined him).
The Lily of the Valley bloomed very early on our street this year due to the unseasonably warm weather. By the time I got out to collect a little bouquet it was too late. They were pretty must past their prime. But you know, that’s okay. They’ll bloom joyfully again next year. Just like my memories of dad will. -Monica