Maybe It’s A Dream
Today I woke up and said out loud, “damn, my dad is really dead”. It’s a hard feeling to describe. I can’t say it’s a feeling of sadness, but more so a feeling of disbelief.
People keep asking me, “aren’t you sad?” My answer still remains no. Death to me has always been one of those things I’ve always seen for what it is. It’s unavoidable. You can control it, everyone will experience it, and we don’t control the “when”.
My father’s death wasn’t a surprise. It wasn’t sudden. God gave us time. We knew it was coming, yet when it happened, it was still surreal.
When my phone rang at 3:33 AM I knew. It was my niece and she uttered the words, “it happened”. I said okay. I could hear my mom in the background crying. After I hung up the phone, I just sat there, in darkness, completely silent. I needed time to process what I had just heard. I woke up my girlfriend, we got ready and headed to my parents.
We walked into the house, my mom called out, “Jazmine” and collapsed in my arms. I held her as she cried. You could hear the pain in her wail. Her body shook as if she were cold. It made me uncomfortable. I’ve never been comfortable with emotional people. I’ve always had a “man/women” up mentality. A “look at the bright side” disposition, so this was different, even in this moment. I did my best holding her as long as she needed.
After she calmed, I made my way to his bed and I rubbed his bald head, it was cold. I noticed that his frail face once covered in a painful scowl, had now relaxed. His mouth once wide open because of the inability to close it, had began to close. He was at peace. I whispered, “you fought a good fight old man, rest well”. Old man was my name for him, the same way he called me gal. He actually called both my sister and I gal. You could always tell who he was talking to by the tone.
We waited awhile then I made the call to hospice so they could come pronounce him, and contact the mortuary who would pick up his body. I knew, the longer his body was there, the harder it would be. I watched my mother who kept going over to his body. She laid across him and she cried, but not your average cry. She cried a deep cry, a cry that is only expressed from a place of pain. She rubbed his face repeatedly. She asked, “what am I gonna do without you?”
The hospice nurse Jane finally arrived. She spoke to everyone and began her assessment. She pulled out her stethoscope and rested it on his chest. She listened for what seemed like several minutes. She then checked his eyes which were closed shut. She then began removing his catheter. After that, she asked if we had clothes for him. My mom grabbed a shirt, and I grabbed pants. This amazing nurse dressed my dad with my sister’s assistance while I watched in disbelief. It was one of those, “I never thought this is how it would end” moments. As a child you believe that your parents will live forever. After she dressed him, she ever so gently fixed his covers, pulled the sheet up just under his neck and folded it down. She treated him with such dignity! After she was finished he simply looked asleep.
Nurse Jane left and shortly after the mortuary staff arrived. I knew well before they arrived that this was a moment I had to mentally prepare for. Until then, I don’t think it truly felt final to anyone in the house. Before carrying him out, they had to completely cover him, face included and my mom lost it. You see, her husband of almost 60 years was being taken from their home never to return again. They put him in the back of their vehicle, and they drove away.
There were tears shed and hugs shared. I didn’t cry, and I probably won’t. Sometimes I believe people think I’m cold hearted and I’m okay with that. Here is what I know, mourning and grief looks different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Me, I have no desire to mourn a life loss, but to celebrate a life well lived!
Death has a way of showing you what’s really important.
Until next time...hug a loved one 🦋