My Late Father

Me and my parents a month or two before Dad died.

I was recently asked if I wanted to contribute to a series called “Thanks, Dad,” over at ManOfTheHouse. I jumped at the opportunity, even though I knew that in many ways, the exercise would prove to be a difficult and emotional one.

I was wrong. It wasn’t difficult. But I was also right, as it proved to be an extremely emotional endeavor. That said, I’m so glad I wrote it. I was happier still to share it with Mom on Thanksgiving Day. It was invigorating to feel Dad’s spirit as we sat around the table.

I hope you’ll take time to read it. I think you’ll like it. It may even spark some memories of someone you love who’s no longer with us. If it does, I hope you’ll share some of those memories with me via a comment. After all, it’s the holiday season. And there’s no better time than now to reflect upon the people we love.

Here it is:

*  *  *

Early one morning in 2002, my brother picked me up from the airport and drove me to the hospital to see my dad. He had been unresponsive since the afternoon before. His rapid turn for the worse was what had prompted the previous night’s phone calls urging me to catch a cross-country flight – if I ever wanted to see him alive again.

The second I walked into his room, I was devastated. So that’s what it looks like, I thought, with equal amounts of fear and awe. It was dehumanizing. Which made sense to me. What was happening to Dad is what sets our spirit free. And our spirit isn’t human.

I sensed that though he was still with us, he was gone nonetheless. But I was wrong. Dad came back to us later that very day. Shortly after he regained consciousness, he told Mom something she’ll never forget.

“I died last night, Martha Lee.”

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