I'm tired. I've been tired for weeks. First, I got sick. Then, my dad got sick. Now, all the stuff with my dad is sinking in.
Dad was rushed to hospital on Super Bowl Sunday, and was in there for days. I seriously thought we were going to lose him. The reality washed over me at the time that he will die. Maybe not today or tomorrow or next year, but in the coming years he will.
You always know your parents will go before you, God willing. That's the natural state of things. As a parent myself, I know that there is no greater pain on this planet than losing a child, it's not the natural order of things. Parents go first. They continue to lead the way for us, even in death.
And even as well all know this, we don't really accept it. He's always been there for me, raising me when my mother couldn't, he was my father and mother combined. He's there for me still to this day--with me being over 40 and he being over 80--to ask advice and lean on. He's the ever-present rock in my life.
And, now that rock is crumbling.
When my parents got the FL house 6 yrs ago, it was magical. We'd just moved to NC and so trotting down to FL to see them was easy. Fill the SUV with our stuff, barrel 8 hours down I-95 and boom, we're there, we're beaching and we're reveling in grandparents.
But, now with my dad's illness, they have to sell the place because he can't travel and stepmom won't travel. So, in the next month or two, they'll sell the FL place and head back up to IA one last time.
And then, when we want to see them we have to buy 4 plane tickets...and travel all day in airports...and get up at the crack of dawn...and go through TSA checkpoints...and travel during slow times of the year because I don't do crowds...and...well, it's just a nightmare to think of how difficult it will be to see them.
And, I grieve the life we've come to know with them for the last 6 yrs. I grieve being able to see them so easily. I grieve the fun times we've shared at their place in FL. I grieve the times we've been allowed to use the place, to have our own family vacations there. I grieve the fact that my dad won't be playing golf, or walking on the beach, or zooming around town making business deals.
And, yet, I'm grateful. I'm grateful we get to have him longer. I'm grateful his mind is sharp and he's still interested in debating politics, religion and current events. I'm grateful we can board a two flights and head up to IA to see him. I'm grateful he'll have more time with his sweetheart, my stepmom. I'm grateful that my kids know grampa and gramma and they are excited for our last trip down to FL this Spring.
I'm grateful. And, I grieve.
The last chapter ended, it's time to start a new one.