Last week on January 8th at 12:05 a.m., my father died in the hospital. He'd been ill off and on over the last few years, and he's always bounced back from so much. This felt different, as he'd really declined in health, and over the holidays I thought that he might be slipping away this time. He did. He was 78.
This is my favorite photograph of me and my dad together. It was taken about twenty years ago at Clifty Falls State Park. For me, this is very representative of our relationship. Dad standing back, letting me see farther. He sacrificed a lot to send all of us kids to school and give us a great life in general. Whenever I was able to travel far away to a place where he'd never been, I always brought something back for him and shared as many pictures as I could. I saw farther because of him.
When you're the youngest member of a big-ish family, at some point you realize, "Oh, I get it. I was born last, so more than likely I'll die last." This is the first big loss that I've experienced, and I'm really feeling the weight of future losses that will come. I'll be fine, but for now...it's just like I've awaken in a different world.
Goodbye, Dad. I love you and miss you very much.