Haven't been writing much lately. I found out that my dad's terminally ill. He told us a month ago. It's amazing how time passes so quickly. Thankfully, I've gotten to see him 6 times so far, and I hope for at least that many more, but I don't know how much longer we'll have left. It's a 3 hour driving day when I go there, and I've got to be able to catch him on a good day that also meshes with my rigid daily routines.
As I knelt before him at his feet, I told him this the other day, the day after he decided he needed to move from his house to the palliative care unit at the hospital:
"Dad, I just wanted to tell you this... I love you so much, and you're my hero, you've always been my hero and you always will be my hero, no matter what happens. I am SO proud of you for handling all of this with such dignity, humor and bravery. You really are an amazing man. I love you."
He said "I love you too," and went on to talk about the difficult but necessary decision to make the move into care.
As we both teared up, I felt a sense of relief having gotten to say that to him. I hope that when my time comes, I'll be able to handle it even half as well as he has been. Bless him for being so very awesome.
But what I've concluded through the many encounters with death that I've had over the years, is that there is no good way to go. Fast or slow, accidental or knowing... it's just as hard whether you as the survivor get to say everything you wanted to or it happened suddenly and you couldn't say anything at all. Watching and waiting is as traumatic as a sudden event. Death is just hard no matter what. So be kind, be patient with those around you going through tragedies, offer support as you can, and while your loved ones are still healthy and full of vitality, let them know the important stuff, and for God's sake... try and laugh. It's easy to forget how to live and laugh, yourself... but it's so important.