A year ago, my father passed away after a short stint with metastatic lung cancer. If there was ever a time to be thankful for something, I was thankful he did not have a long time of suffering. It wasn’t easy but it was quick.
It has been the rollercoaster ride of all rollercoaster rides, extreme highs and extreme lows, gentle as a lamb and fierce as a beast. It was an emotional challenge, trying to keep up a good front, pretend all was right in the world, when everything seemed to be falling so apart. In the midst of all this, how do you really accept death?
I found that there are no right or wrong answers, no correct or incorrect way of figuring it all out. Somehow, your mind seems to work through it when you consciously don’t know how. Days go by and the thought of what’s gone never crosses your mind, and then other days it seems you cry a bucket of tears. Some days you love and other days you hate. Quick. Just like that. Up and down and up and down. The rollercoaster ride. Will this ever end?
Recently, I took the task I had been putting off for a while. I cleaned out the old emails. Communications with my dad, I had always kept them because I knew this day would come sometime. Just like disconnecting his cell phone or changing the voice mail recording. Our thoughts, our laughter, our tears – they were all in those email messages. I literally went through every single one, reading each one and remembered when it was written, or why it was written. Dad didn’t type. Period. At all. But he knew how to click to forward with extreme ease. He saw humor in everything and sure didn’t mind sharing with everybody who was lucky (or unlucky?) enough to be in his address book. Yea, some of them were kind of skanky, for lack of a better term, but you couldn’t help but keel over with laughter, knowing that there was most likely a sly grin on his face as he sent the message on.
It was a bittersweet time, going through those memories. Tears flowed but the laughter of his email antics were good for the soul. My grandkids will never know their great-grandfather but they will know what a wonderful person he was and have some treasured sentiments to make him real.
“Not all those who wander are lost.” J R R Tolkien