The call came that afternoon.
"Your father is here in the hospital. You need to come. " The calm voice on the other end of the phone spoke softly, but firmly.
"What's wrong? Is he alright? What is going on?" "Who is this?" I couldn't wrap my brain around this alarming piece of information.
Again, the voice summoned me with direct and urgent instructions in such a way as to cause the least amount of freaking out on my end. We left immediately.
What ifs went through my mind all the way to the hospital. With my pulse racing, my upper body swaying back and forth in the passenger seat, I remember praying frantically with fingers laced together. I never cried. I remember that. I did, however, beg. I begged and pleaded in disbelief that we were even on the road to the hospital not knowing what was going on.
Walking through the hospital doors, I locked eyes with my brother. I knew. He was gone. I just knew. I just didn't want to believe it.
"No no no he's ok right? Just tell me he's ok." The whole emergency waiting area heard my pleas.
My brother's broken heart could be seen in his eyes. He came toward me. "He's gone Gail."
"No...." My husband grabbed me just as I lost my balance. I beat him in his chest with my fists until my body went limp. I had no strength. My husband tells me my eyes were open but I wasn't there. It was a hard moment for him...for all of us.
May 08, 1999. Today in history.
He was 54 when he died.
There is a lot that has happened since we said goodbye.
Grandkids of his born, great grandchild too! High school and college graduations, marriages...LIFE.
One day I needed to go to my father's grave. I traveled alone and sat there with my pen and paper. I marvel at what flowed that day on to paper.
A letter from him to me...
"I think I know how much this hurts to not have a parent here on earth. Remember, I lived the deaths of both your grandparents. Those were hard days for me...I am proud of you my precious child....move past your grief...don't grieve for me. I am where I have always wanted to be."
Much more is in this "letter", but I walked away from his grave different.
The need to be there was so strong. Now its gone.
I think of him a lot. He was my dad.
I try now to think of the good things. Like his cool whip sandwiches he made every day after work for his "snack."
Being the first visitor to the hospital when both my children were born.
The dirt under his fingernails. He had a strong work ethic. I think that is where I get it from.
Ah yes, today is a memorable day. But I know my dad is in heaven. Without a doubt. It gives me great peace.
Is there a day you will never forget?