I was told in the middle of last week that Dad had pneumonia and that's when I sort of fell off the face of the earth. I just kind of disappeared. I made the decision to not go and see him. My last vision of Chris was of his gaunt sickly face. There are times a vision of that face enters my brain and I will have to physically shake my head to remove it. I didn't want this for Dad and I was in a position this time where I could choose my own way to say goodbye. Michael and I went camping instead. Camping was one of Dad's favorite activities, so this seemed like the appropriate course of action. We headed up just an hour north to Watkins Mill State park, set up camp and proceeded to roast soy dogs for dinner. We spent the rest of the evening around the campfire and shooing raccoons away from the picnic table.
I woke up the next morning to a message from mom telling me that Dad had passed away around one that morning. I couldn't help but sigh with relief. As Janell said, we've been mourning Dad since he went into that VA hospital last Fall. But it is surreal to go to sleep one night with a Dad and to wake up the next day to no Dad. I wished for his death months ago after that last visit. His illness took away all the things that made him my Dad months ago. What was left was suffering, confusion and pain. There is a relief in knowing that all of that is finally over.
I've received many messages asking me if I'm OK. I've replied "fine" to all of them. Really it's the simplest most uncomplicated answer. Though there is a peace to this end of Dad's suffering, it doesn't necessarily sooth. I may have wished for his death, but it I am still surprised by the finality of it all. That's it. Your Dad is gone. The end. It's sort of hard to wrap myself around the emptiness. We got home from our camping trip and put all the camp gear away. I took a shower and then collapsed on the bed. It was more than a nap. I slept hard, the kind of sleep that left me foggy. The rest of the evening I felt like I was moving through thick liquid. In a way this is how I've felt mentally in regards to my Dad. It's difficult to clear the cobwebs and has been since the beginning of this ending. I'm working on it.
In the meantime, I want to thank you all for your kind words and wishes to me and to my family.