Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

It’s Been a Decade Since…

In Family, Life, Life Lessons on July 20, 2011 at 8:26 pm

The surgeon told us to prepare for the inevitable.  After an improbable battle that lasted for five days, we were told to say our goodbyes.  I gave my father a hug, kissed him on his head, told him that I loved him, and said goodbye.  I told him that it was okay to let go, and that I would keep him in my heart forever.  I knew that there was nothing more that could be done, and I also knew that he was already gone as I said my final farewell.  All that was left to do was to wait for a life-altering call from the nurse who had spent five days taking care of my father and my family.

We sat on a bench outside of the hospital on a hot summer night.  We all accepted the fact that we were about to receive the news that we had dreaded for days, but we were still in shock and almost numb to what was about to happen.

It’s been ten years to the day since I got the call that my father passed away.  It’s been ten years, and yet I can still remember the exact minute of his passing.  I can put myself in that moment as if it was happening right now.

The two worst days of the year for my family and me are my father’s birthday and the anniversary of his passing.  Never a day goes by that I don’t think of him several times, but these two days are somehow more painful and raw than the rest.  These are the days that we are left to wonder “what if?” and “if only…”

They say that time heals all wounds, but that is not really true.  While the pain doesn’t sting quite as much as time passes, it never truly goes away.  The void that was left by my father’s untimely passing will always be there.

It struck me the other day that losing my dad ten years ago marks a full decade since he has been with us to celebrate the moments, both large and small.  Ten years sounds like a long time, but a decade sounds and feels even longer.

As a society, we look at each decade as a collective moment in time.  We define each decade by the events of the world, pop culture and trends in music, fashion, television, movies, etc.  It’s our way of compartmentalizing our lives so that we can share nostalgic trips down memory lane with our friends and families.

Being born in the late 60’s, I have no memories of what life was like in that decade, but I have very strong memories of my childhood in the 70’s and 80’s, and my early adult years in the 90’s.  Some of the greatest memories of each of those decades were created with my dad.

Time marches on.  Days turn to weeks, weeks turn to months, months turn to years, and now years have turned into a decade.

If not for the fact that my two children were born in the first decade of the new millennium, I would look back at this past ten years as a “lost decade.”  Even with my children, the past decade can best be described as bittersweet and incomplete.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a decade since I’ve spoken with my dad (aside from the occasional conversation that happens all too infrequently in my dreams).

Despite all of the advances that have been made in the past decade, I still find myself holding on to the past with an unbreakable grip, longing for days gone by, and wishing that this was all a bad dream.  If I could have just one wish, it would be to give my dad and my kids the chance to create the memories together that they were deprived of because of a tragedy that happened a decade ago.

For the most part, today was okay.  Spending the day with my wife and kids the way that my dad would have spent his day off gave me some solace and some inner peace.  While I couldn’t stop my mind from drifting towards my dad all day long, I did my best not to let it affect the kids.

Tomorrow starts the second decade life without my dad, which seems almost surreal.  Like this past decade, I fully expect to think about him every day, and keep him in my heart as I promised him I would a decade ago.


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