Time is a funny thing. Everything seems so far away then suddenly you are looking back wondering where it all went in a blink.
This time last year I was on the phone hearing words I did not expect from a doctor I did not know.
I sat on the floor wondering if I was dreaming.The roar in my ears, the trembling of my hands and the calm words of a friend as I sat there made it all the more real.
My father, the last of my parents, had passed away.
I. Was. An. Orphan.
What did I do now? That part was immediately simple. With a friend by my side and the man made laws and social norms in place, I went through the motions of doing what had to be done.
View the body: Check.
Talk to the doctor about the cause and next steps: Check.
Pack up the belongings: Check.
Call someone to retrieve the body: Check.
Notify friends and family: Check.
Pick out cremation plan: Check.
Complete death certificate: Check.
After all the noise and commotion there is resounding silence. There is no getting around this part. It is by far, the most difficult thing to handle and yet something everyone must deal with.
The second thoughts, the what ifs, the guilt. And through it all, nothing changes, nothing could. In my un-unique state of losing someone close to me, I was also freed. Freed of my obligations, free to do what I wanted with no pressure to live up to something or someone. It was as liberating as it was terrifying.
Slowly plans were created from the ashes and goals set to scatter my father’s remains. He left no instructions other than “Don’t put me in the damn ground for the worms to eat”.
As I moved around to leave him to roam the places he loved most (by my memory anyway), I indirectly started laying the foundation for me to move on. The moving around both hurt and helped me move on. Mixed feelings — often at time without warning — would overwhelm me. It delayed my grief because I was focused on what to do next.
In the end, visiting places my father loved the most, brought me closer to him. It brought me a sense of peace and closure that I would have missed had I chosen any other route.
It’s been one year ago today — where did the time go?
Rest in Peace Dad. You are loved and missed.