Wednesday, February 2, 2011


There is currently a call for writers out in the publishing network I am part of.  They want people to write about their experiences preparing for something coming up in the future as part of an ad campaign set to post sometime next month.

The examples they used were things like birthdays and vacations and reunions and anniversaries. 

The things that most people, at least to some degree, look forward to.  The things that we set weight loss goals for.  The things we anticipate with lots of planning, even if accompanied by some nervous energy too.  The things that we justify buying new clothes for. 

I'm preparing for something right now, and I could write a fantastic submission about this journey, but I'd imagine it isn't exactly what they had in mind when they asked for pieces. 

The thing for which I am preparing is the death of my father. 

I've been vague and nonspecific about him here, for a long time because he asked me to be so.  He's the reason for all the trips across the country in the last 14 months.  He's the reason for all the worry and heartache, sudden reevaluations of all the choices in my life.  He's the reason for my occasional outpouring of love and gratitude to all those around me. 

He's the reason that I am here, back home, again.

In November, 2009, he was diagnosed with stage four cancer.  The prognosis at the time, terminal.  He wanted to buy some time by going through treatments, and he did.  He made it to see things like the birth of my nephew and one last Christmas with his family.  He met all the goals he set for himself.

And a few weeks ago, the end of the treatments was upon us all.  The cancer spreading, his body unable to withstand any more.

Hospice was called, and I came home.

Before I left this time, I was faced with the reality that I needed to make preparations there before I could leave.  I feel like I've been making them them entire time I have been here. 

I came to help him accomplish the things he still felt like he needed to.  I came here to help my mom get through this time.  I came here to take some of the weight off the shoulders of my brother and sister in law. 

And I came here to say goodbye.

Death is an inevitable part of life.  Even when you know it is coming, it hurts like hell. 

All I can do is try to prepare myself, and those around me, for what is coming. 

I'm not sure this is what my publishing network had in mind when they put the call out this morning, but right now it's all I've got.  We'll see if my preparation is something to be celebrated.

I'd argue that it is. 

It's just as important, if not infinitely more so, as any of the preparations that they think they are looking for. 

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