Tuesday, March 29, 2011

His Voice

When Dad was first diagnosed with cancer and we became aware of how bad it was, I had a lot of people try and comfort me.  Give me advice.

Some told me to pray.

Some told me about miracles.

Some told me about every other person they'd ever known who had cancer.

Some just told me they were sorry.

In addition to all the above mentioned people, I had a few who had been down a road like the one I was about to start walking.  The people who'd lost a parent, whether to cancer or Alzheimer's or any other disease.  The ones who knew it was coming. 

The advice they gave me was different than what came from everyone else.

They told me to trust what my heart told me, to trust my instincts. 

To spend as much time as I could with him. 

To say everything that I needed to, long before I thought I had to, just in case the end came sooner than we thought.

They told me to take pictures. 

They told me to record his voice.

I heeded the advice as much as I could, even knowing that it was hard to do it.

When I knew I had to go, I went.

We spent every last penny we had on the trips back home, whether I went alone or took the kids. 

I said everything I needed to, I listened to him when he did the same.  I did the best I could to burn those images into my mind so that I'd never forget them. 

We took pictures, lots of pictures at first.  He asked my sister in law to take a bunch for him after his first real scare.  He wanted people to remember him that way, not how he knew he would end up.   When he got sicker, that slowed down.  It was hard for him, physically and emotionally to do it.  His hair started to go, he lost a ton of weight.  He seemed to get smaller every day. 

I didn't take many pictures of him towards the end.  He didn't want them, and he didn't want us to remember him like that.  I still took pictures though.  Of him doing the things he loved.  He'd be busy and I'd sneak one in without him knowing of him at work or sitting in the sun out back. 

Those are some of my favorite pictures of him.

Before Christmas last year, he recorded his voice reading The Night Before Christmas for the kids.  Last Spring he gave them All The Ways I Love You

The kids adore those books, they would sit and listen to them for hours and hours before Dad died.

When we got home from the funeral, the first thing I did was find the books and tuck them away.  I wasn't ready to hear him again.  I couldn't walk into a room and catch his voice traveling through the air. 

I couldn't. 

Someday, I will be so glad we have those books.  I am already, even if I can't hear them now.

This week, I was a little startled to hear his voice.

Mom has been using his cell phone since hers decided to stop working.  She called yesterday and I missed it.  I called right back, figuring I'd catch her.

It went straight to voicemail.

And he was there. 

I wasn't ready to hear that. 

It hurt, but it was a beautiful gift just to hear his voice again.

I miss you, Dad.

1 comment:

  1. I did the same things. One of my greatest regrets is canceling a family photo because of weather. We never had a chance to reschedule. I really wish I had those pictures.

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