The phone rang at 10:13pm. I had been sleeping alone in my bed. I was going to ignore it and go back to sleep. I couldn’t because I knew what the call was. I reached for my phone and stared at it for a moment. The words on the screen were simply my sister’s name but I knew. I knew that those words, at that time, meant.
My dad was gone.
I called my sister back. “Dad died at about 9:30pm.”
I’d known this moment was coming for almost a year. Just the day before I had written my dad a goodbye letter in which I told him that it was time to go. He took my advice and took his last breath that night.
As soon as I started talking to my sister the tears came. The sadness overwhelmed me. I need to cry and I did. I was so sad alone in my bed. Colby was sleeping in his bed but I wasn’t going to wake him. A 10 year old boy doesn’t need to cry with his dad in the middle of the night. His sadness could wait.
I lay there in bed not knowing what to do next; so sad and so alone.
I texted my girlfriend; she called me back and we talked. She gave me an outlet. She let me cry and felt my sadness.
I tried texting some friends. I tried texting Colby’s mom. Nobody was out there. I cried hard and long. I reached out to my mother. Even though I only talk to my mom once or twice a year I still in this time of need reached out to her. It must have been so sad for her to her here grown son, who is so strong and independent, crying out to her and telling her his dad had died.
In the end it was just me and my memories of my dad.
Before I finally went to sleep I sat on my son’s bed. I looked at him and touched his head. He was so peaceful. I didn’t know how he would take it or what he would say. How do you deal with the death of a loved one at 10 years old?
I eventually fell into an uneasy sleep.
In the morning I showered and prepared myself for what I needed to do. I tried to be composed; I knew I could not be.
When Colby woke up he knew the minute he opened his eyes.
“There’s something I need to tell you.”
“I think I already know. Did Grandpa die?”
I read him the letter that I wrote to my day 48 hours before. We cried together. It was a truly sad yet prolific father/son moment.
We got dressed, went to church then went to a bike race as planned.
Life went on and life goes on. Loss has happened and is going to happen to all of us. It’s never easy but it just is. I look back on this time with pride. I think I did my best with what I had to do. I was week when it was OK and I was strong when I needed to be. This period of my life was hard but it has helped to define me and who I am. I have no regrets. I do still miss my dad…