Wednesday, May 02, 2007

One click at a time....

11:00 p.m. on Wednesday. The Wednesday before we see Dad for the first time since he flew out of the Little Rock airport about five months ago. Five months. I never stopped to think about that. Just five months, and so much has changed in our lives. It hasn't even been a week since we found out about Dad. Not even five days, let alone five months. These four days have been like four years. It is like being at the end of some kind of "Matrix time," where suddenly everything is about to coming rushing back into full speed... Normal speed, some would say. Normal....

What is normal? In the grand scheme of things, everything that has happened is 'normal,' but in the much smaller confines of the lives that were touched by my Dad, and those that knew him well and love him still, 'normal' doesn't compute. Like walking in a daze, being in a movie or something - what casket do we want? Do we want a casket? What kind of flowers do you want to send? Which plot of cemetery do you wish to bury your father in? Will he wear his glasses? Do you need a drink of water? Can you believe the DHL guy just brought a box with Dad's glasses and top teeth in it (because Dad left the bottom ones in the Houston airport bathroom not so many months ago...)?? That is what has become OUR normal lately....

We visited with Bro. Perry so he could get a feel for what Dad was like... You sit around and sum up someone's 61 years of life in a few laughs, a few tears, a few words, a few hours.... If we had a month, maybe, a year perhaps, we would see something that further jogged our memories (like a photo of Dad eating his favorite candy - circus peanuts, you know the orange marshmallow things?), or a word he used - 'boogity-shoo, boogity-shoo', or a movie he loved - Ben Hur.... Which, by the way, NONE of the things I listed had we thought about or talked about when we tried to help someone understand what Dad was like....Okay, it turns out, the others DID mention 'boggity-shoo' to the preacher... You'd have to know my Dad... You see, well, he had no inhibitions whatsoever, and my Mom tells us that he would run from one bathroom to the other (they were on opposite sides of the house, crossing in front of the front door to get there), calling out 'boogity-shoo, boogity-shoo' while doing some kind of 'naked happy dance.' Look, I can't make this stuff up....

I'm sure my Dad would love to know that I just told world that story.... Then again, he would just say I beat him to it.... Many people try to sleep through their time of heartache and trouble, but I seem to be unable to sleep these past couple days... Afraid, perhaps, that by going to sleep, I ensure that tomorrow will arrive after all, and that by not sleeping, I can somehow keep tomorrow from coming.... Ludicrous, I know. But in the world of what is now our 'normal,' there is no logic, no making sense of reason. There is only the heartache of knowing that when I do go to sleep, I will wake up (unlike my father) and I will have to go to the funeral home and see him for the very last time ever....

In our 'normal' world, we cry because we see his smile in a photo (or see him in a photo giving a high-five to a much younger Tyler). We say things like, "That sounds like something Dad would say (or do)" when someone says something a little 'off' or sarcastic, or when my brother gets down on the floor to play with Mom and Dad's dog like my Dad used to. Up until now, I have been as 'outwardly strong' as I can be, and as I felt I had to be for me, but that will all go out the window on Thursday, and I have no shame in it at all. I told Tyler and Emily that it's okay to cry, or be sad, or be angry... It's okay to laugh when someone talks about Dad because they are remembering some goofy thing he said or did.... Thursday, the world that came to a screeching halt will take one tiny click forward....

As painful and sad as it is to know that my Dad will never, really, come home to his house, I can smile on the inside because I know he is out there somewhere, doing his crazy little happy dance, and entertaining everyone who is around him. We love you, Dad.

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