Two years ago today my world changed forever. We were awakened around 3 in the morning by our dog barking frantically. Hubby and I both sat straight up in bed. At first we thought something was terribly wrong like an intruder or a fire. I got out of bed to go to WeeMan – he was only 3 months old and had just started sleeping in his own room. Hubby said he was going downstairs to check things out. That was about the time we heard the pounding and realized someone was at the door. If you’ve never had someone come to your door that early/ late, if you’ve never heard that heavy pounding – then I don’t think you can really understand how your heart starts to race and feel like it’s about to burst from your chest. People start rushing through your mind as you frantically try to figure out what’s happened. Was my little brother in an accident? Did something happen to grandma? Was it Steve’s dad down in Florida who had just battled skin cancer? Which of our family members were they here about? (Isn’t it funny how our minds automatically turned to loss and not what had we done wrong? I suppose some people’s minds would have gone straight to what are they here to arrest me for)
I don’t remember going down the stairs behind my husband. I know the officer waiting at our door was a city officer and his lights were on on the car parked outside and I remember thinking why didn’t we notice those upstairs. I remember that he told us we needed to call a phone number that would ring in to some department at Saint Vincent’s heart hospital in Indianapolis. He said my mom was trying to get ahold of us. I don’t remember who answered the phone or even who dialed the phone. I think we had to wait a bit before someone found my mom. I think I asked if it was daddy and said we’d get dressed and head down there right away… but then she said “He’s dead.” He had been rushed to the podunk bandaid station in the tiny town they live in. They had immediately contacted the LifeLine flight to take him to Indy about an hour and a half away by car. He had been stable when they put him on the chopper. But he was gone before my mom could even get there.
So many thoughts run through your head at a time like this. I remember hitting my knees and crying out and hubby asking if it was my grandma and me telling him no my daddy. I remember hubby saying “No, no, no” Denying that it could be him. I remember spending the next few hours rocking with WeeMan – holding him and thinking this had to be some mistake. We had just been with my family for Easter the Sunday before. Just a day or so ago and dad had been fine. He had been playing and rocking the grandbabies and just being his ornery self. He had been to the doctor just the week before for his yearly check up and other than a pesky cold he couldn’t seem to kick that had him worn out – he was fine. I remember thinking why him? He seemed like the healthiest member of my family. Thoughts that I’m not proud of ran through my head… things like why not grandma – she was much older, or his brother my uncle he was fighting with cancer and not doing well, why not hubby’s dad – why did it have to be mine. Things that I’m ashamed to admit I thought. I remember thinking that it had to be a huge mistake that they were going to call back any minute and tell us he was in the hospital but was going to be okay. I remember praying over and over – “Please God don’t take my dad.”
Much of the next week is a blur of family, crying, planning a funeral, rocking and cuddling WeeMan, and trying to hold it all together – when it had all shattered into a million pieces.
Two years ago today. Life goes on. WeeMan grows and changes and days can pass when I don’t think of my dad. Then WeeMan will do something or have a certain look on his face and I’ll find myself thinking “Wouldn’t grampa laugh, smile, be proud if he could see this?” I believe that God has a bigger plan. He knew long before us that daddy would be joining him. I believe that that’s why we named WeeMan after his grampa – God knew that he was going to need a tie to a man he wasn’t going to get to know on earth – not up close and personal. I believe that God knew that my dad would never have been happy if he had had to cut back his life – to slow down. My dad was a man of the earth. He was outside every minute he could be. He always said when he retired he was going to buy a cabin in the mountains in Kentucky. He would live there in the mountains with no running water and no electricity and be happy. He was the kind of man who couldn’t sit still if he knew someone was in need. He’d be one of the first one’s out there helping. He had a ready smile and a twinkle in his eyes. He could tell a joke that would make you laugh until your belly hurt or say a prayer that could bring tears to your eyes. He was an elder in his church, a mason, a Lions Club member, and was respected and loved by many in the farm community he lived in – even though he wasn’t a farmer. When you were in trouble he would go quiet… so quiet and you would know then that he was really mad. The worst punishment he could deliver was that look – the one that said he was disappointed, but he still loved you. That look – that look made your heart ache for the wrong you had done. He was ornery though. Always ready to play a trick or tease a niece or nephew or grandbaby. Oh he just loved those grandbabies so much. To watch him or even look at pictures of him with them today – you can see the love just pouring out of every pore. I treasure the time he got to hold and cuddle WeeMan and I ache for the times we were too busy to go home or we forgot to get out the video camera. One of my biggest regrets is that we have lots of still pictures of him holding WeeMan – but we never remembered to use that stupid video camera.
We Miss you daddy and we love you. This song is for him – my dad and WeeMan’s granpa