Wednesday, May 11, 2016
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
I mean, as they do.
Although I suppose technically they don't, in that the dates are not fixed to days, and the 15th has shifted to Sunday, when seven years ago it was on a Friday. But it is still mid-May, and it is still that particular weekend.
I feel it and I start to dread.
On Friday, seven years ago, I answered the phone at my office. It was my parents' number, and I started to cry even before I said, "Hello."
Because I knew. I knew.
I answered the phone, and my mom said, "Dad is gone." And I knew that we would never see him alive again.
But even though I knew, I held out some minuscule hope. Because this had happened so many times. It had happened a month prior. And they'd found him. Barely alive, but alive.
And do you know how many hours I sat holding his cold hand, willing those monitors, coaxing the numbers up and up and up. And, when they dipped and the alarms screamed and the nurses came running, do you know the bargains I made with God? How fervently I begged and pleaded, all the while acknowledging that I'd really not been that into Catholicism or really done any of the formal religious things, which of course God would know, because God...
So when I say I knew, it is with the caveat that a tiny piece of me was still praying, still begging. Please, God, please. I need my dad. I need him to know my kid. Please, God, let him be alive, and I will do anything. Please, please please.
He lived last time, even though they didn't think he would. He lived the time before that, even though he was, in truth, mostly dead. Please, God, please.
I was six months pregnant.
I'd believed, naively, that my dad's enthusiasm for my baby would keep him alive. That he would stay with us long enough to meet my baby, and he would love him so much that he would never, ever leave.
And then, then he left us. He never met my boy, born three months later. He never met my girl. We never saw him again, even in death.
Seven years have passed, and I now understand that I couldn't keep him alive, no matter how hard I tried. And I didn't somehow fail to save him that one last time.
I am better and healthier and no longer weighed down by guilt.
But if you have ever lost someone you loved dearly, you know the day. You will know it forever.
And it is this weekend. Every year.