My father died this morning. True to the man he was, he waited until no one was in the room to leave as quietly as he lived. A man who would not tell us a year ago, that he directed his doctors to stop the treatments that took away his quality of life.
A man who jogged every evening at the local college to clear his head and care for his body. He would celebrate 60 years of marriage to my mother in November 2016.
A man who refused to let his family suffer and wait while he awaited his fate.
Over the years, we would share conversations about belief in God, to which he would reply only, “it is better than the alternative,” to the truth of someone battling terminal cancer when he said, “no one, no matter their age wants to die, Kath.”
It would be in these moments over the years, brief and clear that I would learn about the man and his beliefs. I would never know his despair through words, even though on our last visit together it was all around him. The fear of the unknown and the love for my family and me was there in between the grimaces of pain and slivers of joy as my children would say, “I love you Pop.”
I will remember our trading of books and the beer tent at the end of more than one 5k. It is the memory of him cheering me on in only a way a man of his generation could through high expectations, appropriateness, and love.
Born in 1932, he would experience the world and its vast changes taking every discovery as a challenge to learn more.
I am at peace this morning as I prepare to make the journey home to help my mother and siblings put our father to rest. I will prepare music to sing at his funeral because there is no greater way to honor his life.
I will hold my children a little tighter today and hug my husband longer as I remember that all we have is today. Tomorrow is promised to no one.