Monday, 25 February 2008

Tracy's take

Here is Tracy's take:

Journaling Reads:
Today at 5:45 the phone started ringing. Odd that I heard it actually...I'm quite the sleeper, but today it rang and then rang again. A cold heavy feeling began growing in my belly as I trotted downstairs to get the phone.
Checked the Caller ID. My brother Dave. My mom. My brother Dave again.
Oh my God. This was the call. THE call. Nervously I called and my youngest brother Timmy (who is 10) calmly answered the phone."Timmy, what's going on.""Dad is dying"*noise in the background*"Dad is already gone."*silence* I replayed those words a few thousand times in the next few seconds."Is someone there with you?""Marsha and Dave are on their way.""Okay. I'm coming too.""Ok."Calmly he hung the phone up. Suddenly my world had changed.
We drove down to my hometown (about 40 minutes away). Mom refused to call the coroner until I got there. The closer we got the more nervous I was. Why? WHY would she wait? Why did I need to see him like that? What purpose would that serve? Was this some morbid thing that I was being forced to partake in? I just didn't get it.
When we got there she was sitting by his bed. There were several people there, faces red, eyes tired, murmuring to themselves. I walked into the living room where his bed was and his hand was on Mom's shoulder. My eyes burned and my face was already wet.

My dad wasn't moving. He didn't look bad or scary or anything. He was just still. Very still. He was still yellow from this damn disease and laying still. I stood by his bed and looked down. His brow was relaxed. His mouth slightly open. So still. In his face I saw echoes of my own. But it was different. It looked different without the animation life brings. I felt my heart hammering in my chest and my throat ached...I realized I had been holding my breath. I don't know why.My hands look so much like his.
It was forever before they came to take him away. Forever watching my mom hold him and cry. Stroke him and tell him how much she loved him. Touch him and say "I'll never feel his warm body again. I'll never be able to touch him like this again."
If hearts really could break, mine did at that moment. I was holding my breath again. I tried to exhale so that no one would be able to tell.
Then the worst part came. Worse than holding dad's hand and thanking God for taking his pain away. Worse than kissing his still warm forehead and knowing that it wouldn't be like that any more. Worse than having to explain what it was going to be like when Joey saw Grandpa for the first time after he had died. Worse...at least it seemed.... We had to go to the funeral home. It was fine at first. They are nice people. Pretty place. Business. Business. Business. Then he said "Let's go choose a casket." and pointed to a door beside his desk."Hmmm." I thought. "Is his catalog in there?"
Uhm....no catalog. It was a small room crammed with coffins. FOR REAL coffins. I mean..I'm not a total sheltered nerd or anything but again I was just taken back at being in this room. Really? Really you can't say something or hang a sign or something? I walked in and immediately felt claustrophobic. OH MY GOD.But I did OK. I didn't scream or run out of anything. I just held my breath. A lot. It took too long to pick one out. Wood was an obvious choice for him, but the prices ranged from $1400 to $5000. Holy crap. Grief AND debt. Eventually this process was over.. Lots of things to do to get ready, but this part was done. I cried most of the way back to Mom and Dad's house.Before we left tonight we went to the cemetery. It’s a family cemetery (of sorts) in the woods, on a hill with a pretty rustic view of green fields and trees. My uncle (a former funeral home guy) met us there to mark the place where the grave would go. A row down front to enjoy the view.I just kept choking back the burning in my eyes and practiced breathing in and out. Slowly in and out. About 10 feet or so away from the markers is the spot where I will be buried. This is the cemetery that we mowed every couple of weeks when I was a teenager. Mom and Dad took good care of it and today it looks just as nice.

They say that eventually I’ll be numb. I doubt it. Today the first man I ever loved died. I took one last picture of him today. My hand on his. The hands that held me and rocked me, taught me drive, walked me down the aisle. My daddy’s hands.

10 comments:

Megan A. said...

Oh my gosh! this is incredibly moving and powerful and wonderful!

allynraye said...

Thank you for sharing this. It truly touched my heart--my daddy died just last year, and it's still raw sometimes. You don't get over it, but you do learn to go on and eventually come to realize that the greatest tribute we can make to our parents is to live the way they would want us to.

Blessings and a great big cyber hug!

Deb

Reformed Mama said...

wow. That's very moving. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy oh boy, what a moving and intense piece of journaling.Thank you for sharing with us. I will never forget that feeling when the phone rings and you know what the call is about, that happened to me 23 years ago when my mother died. When my father died, just over 3 years ago,I was with him. I still think of both of my parents on a daily basis and thank them for all they did for me and hope I am living the way that makes them proud.

jamietg said...

O...M...G...this just moved me so much. Beautiful writing Tracy...just beautiful.

Colette Bate said...

I can't imagine how difficult this must have been to write. So often we keep these feelings inside ... for a hundred reasons that seem to make sense at the time. But, Tracy, you've written this beautifully. You've shared your deepest feelings with us ... the fears, the dread, the horror, the intense sadness ... and they are feelings we all have had, or will have sometime in our lives.

You are so blessed to have been able to see your Dad one last time. Your picture of your hands is very moving. You will cherish this page for the rest of your life ... and your family will thank you for memorializing this moment. As painful as it is ... we all will experience this final loss. It's heartbreaking, for sure, but your words are comforting and full of love.

Bless you for your brutal honesty and for sharing this very touching experience with us.

Hugs!

Stefanie said...

Wow! Awesome hearfelt journaling ~ no-one reading this will be unchanged. Death, mourning are a sad reality and soemthing we all have to work through in our own way. Thanks for allowing us to share this with you.

Nicole Drewniak said...

This journaling is so powerful! I could picture everything as you described. Tfs this heartfelt piece.

scrapnbeetle said...

Oh my goodness, thanks you for sharing this with all of us, I too am trying to put into workds what just happened to my daughter in Nov. * she was in a car accident and we come so close to loosing her even the EMT guy that answered the call was affraid that she would not make it, and was suprised when she did. )
So thanks you for sharing, I had forgotten about how to explain how I heald my breath .
and I am sorry about your daddy.

QueenTracy said...

Thanks for your kind words. It was difficult then. Its a little overwhelming re-reading it and re-feeling it. Hopefully this will inspire others to record their stories.