I’m too young for this is a series of posts that I wrote shortly after the death of my dad. I wrote them so that I would remember. It’s been 2 1/2 years since that day and I’m just now ready to share them, starting today, his birthday.
The phone call came in the wee hours of the morning just as we knew that it would. My brother and I left the hospital that night with hesitation. We knew. We even knew it enough to say that we were okay if this was the last time we saw him. We expected that it would be. The signs were all there.
How, I wonder now, did I ever go from knowing nothing about death – like, nothing – like not a clue about what your body goes through other than drawing on my childhood expertise of numerous hamsters who met their demise in a cage in the corner of my bedroom – to here. Here, where I knew that his body had gone through what it needed to in order to shut down. How did this happen? When did I become the girl who no longer had her daddy? This wasn’t suppose to happen. Not yet. I had a plan.
My plan went something like this. My parents now yearly trips down south for the winter became longer with each passing year. It meant we saw them a bit less, which we didn’t like at all, but it also meant that we got to live in their house just the five of us. Somehow time would pass and my kids would finish school, marry beautiful wives and we would all still meet their Grandpa and Grandma at Tony’s for breakfast. Somewhere along the way I would turn 60, my dad would be in his late 80’s and we would reminisce about the old days and talk of what a great life he’s lived and how he did so much and how he was ready to go now.
That was my plan. Clearly, I do not have a hand in the decisions of the universe because it didn’t go like this at all. At. all.
Instead, I’m 32. I’m 32! Do you hear that God? 32! Not 60. Not with fully grown children and in the phase of life where I can care for my parents. 32…32. My munchkins are little. My days revolve around packing lunches, spelling tests and making sure everyone has brushed their teeth to an adequate shine. I’m working part time to help make ends meet. I’m volunteering in classrooms. I’m having coffee with girlfriends, a luxury one officially deserves when the youngest of her children finally makes it to first grade. This is my life. It’s nice. It does not have room for a dying parent. It just doesn’t.
But here I am answering the phone. Hello? Hi Rhonda, It’s Kev. Is it Dad? Yeah, he’s gone. Are you going to the hospital to be with mom? Yeah. I’ll meet you there.
And like someone who seems like they know what to do in this situation I crawl out of bed and throw on the clothes, already saturated with hospital smell, that had been tossed there just a few hours earlier. I kiss my husband, tell him Dad’s gone, and head out into the darkness.