Six years ago today I picked my dad up for church. My family was joining us for the first time since our move. They were coming later. Dad and I had to ready ourselves for choir. He shared about his weekend, certain things were taking a turn for the better. He had golfed 18 holes. He had eaten a huge steak dinner with two of his brothers. These things were not the norm for him. It is true I had not seen his spirits this high since before the diagnosis.
As the church service began we were encouraged to hug our neighbors. My dad gave me one of his truly big and delicious hugs. He hugged will all of his body, in close nice and tight. Someone looking on said “wow, you two must know each other.” I am so glad we hugged that tight, so exuberantly that someone noticed. My boys raced to the stage and Gramps lifted them in to hugs in a way he had not been able to for sometime. It’s so very important that we all got these hugs.
Because it was all a new place and system the boys needed me to join them in the Sunday school so I left the stage and my dad. My oldest son sat near the window looking out over the graveyard he turned to me and asked “Mom is that were we are going to bury Gramps when he dies?”
I had no words in that moment. We had never discussed death and Gramps before. Heck even us adults weren’t brave enough to be discussing after life plans. I truly had no idea. And it all seemed so far away after a weekend of golf, steak and giant bear hugs.
On the car ride home something started to change. The color had drained from his face. “I’m feeling really off,” he shared. I left him with mom and carried on to up the road. His face and thoughts of his health followed me throughout the day. I checked in later and he was hard to see there on the couch, shrinking in to it’s folds, nearly matching it’s color. The liveliness of the morning drained right out of him.
I got the report of his attempts at eating met with a misplaced appetite. Full on fear perhaps, he had no room for a meal. My day moved forward but my mind stayed with him. I shared a meal with a friend to celebrate her birthday. I was present at all. Waiting for the phone, for updates, hoping to hear his spirits pick back up again to the place they were that morning.