Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Letting Go

On Tuesdays, the community of Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Join the incredible community by writing a snippet of life, or even join with just a comment or two. Everyone is welcome!

Many of you have gotten to know my dad over the years, as he has inspired many, many stories and slices. Last week, I wrote about holding on. This week, I write about letting go. 

My dad left us on Wednesday. I am working on putting together a cohesive set of memories about him for the service we will have on Friday, and part of it will wrap around the wisdom we have all gained from his life and his way of living.

The end of my dad's life wasn’t the one he envisioned full of trips, retirement homes, and grandchildren's college graduations. Thirteen years ago, our dad had a terrible accident and my brother Charlie was there to help him live.  Last Wednesday, it was Charlie who held Dad and told him to let go, he would never be forgotten and our paths will all cross again.  In those thirteen years, we have had the gift of more time with our father. In those thirteen years, his past faded and his future blurred, but Dad always, always, was up for an adventure, was up for the moment. Dad’s moments became what he knew and he always loved them--the game to watch, the concert to attend, the fish to catch, the cards to collect.

"How was your day, Dad?" we would ask him.

"I had a great day," he always answered.

He meant it, too. His moments mattered, because that's what he had, but that’s what we all have, and that could be Dad’s most important lesson. The wisdom I need to always keep. Moments matter. The moments of right here, right now.

Rest in peace, Dad. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Slice of Life: Holding On

On Tuesdays, the community of Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Join the incredible community by writing a snippet of life, or even join with just a comment or two. Everyone is welcome!

On Sunday night, I met up with my writing group on our Google Hangout. (Do you capitalize those two words? I always debate that...) Toward the end of our meeting, I admitted that I have been the absentee slicer for the last few weeks. 

"We've noticed," one of them said.

"We miss you," another added.

"Honestly," I said, "what I'd write would probably be sadder than anyone would want to read."

"Try us," someone else says.

 "And, my blog is tricky. It's not about personal stuff. It's about educational stuff."

"Write on your personal blog," one of my writing partners said. 

I nod and sigh.

"By the end of the day, I'm beat," I want to say. "I'm just not up for getting back into work mode."

Because, from the time I walk into the door these days, I'm in full work mode. Not books. Not computers. Not reading. Not writing. 

I'm taking care of my dad.

But tonight, I'm on my personal blog, and I'm writing. And I don't think it's too depressing. (Maybe just a little...)

One of the most helpful posts that I read throughout my dad's sickness reminded me of the difference between the words have to and get to. I get to live with my dad as he is in the late stages of prostate cancer. I get to feed him. I get to help him walk. I get to brush his teeth, comb his hair, tuck him into bed... I get to love him through this inevitable part of his life. 

Caring for someone when they need help doing everything is hard and exhausting, but it is also intimate and full of moments to hold on to, cherishing and remembering. 

Tonight, I will hold on to the image of my brother inviting my dad to hug him, to put his arms around him and hold on. I will hold on to the image of the two of them wrapped in an embrace, my brother's strong arms around Dad's frail body. 

I will hold on.

Becaue, from the time I walk in the door