On January 9th, my dad died. He was suffering from liver and kidney failure due to alcohol induced cirrhosis. He was in the hospital after Thanksgiving for a couple weeks and then went back in on Christmas Eve. He never came home. After a couple more weeks at the hospital (the second time) he went to the Hospice Center on Wed January 3rd. I couldn't decide whether or not I needed to go until I found out Ward was not leaving town to travel with the band. Knowing that he was there and had seen Dad's condition and didn't leave, told me it was time. I got there on Friday the 5th and so did Davis. We had a great weekend with Dad. He was alert and joking and even singing. Davis went home on Sunday because the new semester of classes started for him and it seemed like we had a little more time. On Saturday, Dad asked to go outside in the courtyard and smoke. I told him I didn't think he could. He'd been unable to move around on his own for days. He showed me! On Sunday afternoon when I got to the center, he was outside in a rolling chair with my mom, uncle and brother- smoking away. I couldn't believe it. I took pics with my phone and sent them to Davis and Tyler because they thought I was making it up. On Monday, Ellie and I were going to wait a while to go because we'd been there late on Sun night, but my mom called and said Dad was outside again and wanted to watch Ellie run around in the courtyard like the day before. So of course, I hightailed it over there. Ellie was in her princess dress and fairy wings and would not change. Dad loved it. We stayed outside for a long time enjoying the sunshine. After that, things went downhill and it gets a little blurry. I do know that Tuesday was horrible and Wednesday was worse. Dad was in and out of sleep most of the time. He would respond, but was not initiating any conversations. On Tuesday we called Davis to come back and they got there about midnight. We all stayed overnight on Tues night because it looked like the end. There was guitar playing, singing of my dad's favorite Paul Simon songs, many crossword puzzles done and even more cups of coffee consumed. There were members of my family sleeping on every flat surface of that place. Wednesday morning he was in a lot of pain, but still hanging on. I went to get Ellie from Sharon's (where she'd spent her first night away from me) and she wouldn't leave. I was getting sad about that until I got the call to come back quickly. I hurried back and joined my mom, brothers, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins around my dad's bed. He was really suffering and fighting to breathe. We all held on to him and to each other and told him we loved him and that it was ok to leave and we were all going to be ok. One day we will be. Maybe.
For now, I look at old pictures, listen to the songs we danced to and talk to my brothers about funny things he said and did. Some of them even sound so much like him that I get spooked.
The visitation and funeral were a real testament to the good memories of my dad and to the rest of my family. People showed up that he hadn't seen or talked to in years. They had to turn people away the day of the funeral because there wasn't enough room.
I stayed in town for a little while after to funeral to help my mom and continue providing comic relief (Ellie) to everyone. Now that I'm back to my own house, it doesn't seem real or possible that he's gone. I know it will be hard for a long time.
I miss you Dad.