My kitchen is dark today. There will be no simmering sauces on the stove nor fragrant loaves in the oven. I just can’t do it. I am too incredibly sad. It was one year ago today that my beloved father was taken from me. Cancer stole him away, leaving a big gaping hole in my heart.
Cancer is a cruel and cunning foe. It sneaks up on you silently. Sometimes, it lies in wait for a long time before it pounces on you. It doesn’t play fair. It follows no rules. It is ruthless.
My father was a wonderful man. He was kind and loyal and generous to a fault. Charisma oozed from his pores. He was what you would call a “character”. Few who met him, didn’t love him. Those who didn’t, at least respected him. He was a shrewd businessman and could be a formidable opponent, when necessary.
Loving Husband of Forty-Eight Years
Dad was the last person in the world that you would expect this to happen to. At 73, he was one of the most robust and vital men I knew. He either walked or rode his bicycle for miles every day. He golfed several times each week. My father was an avid gardener, growing almost all of our fruits and vegetables in his carefully tended patch of earth. He was scrupulous about his health and had no significant medical issues. When we found out he was sick in September of 2005, it was like being hit over the head with a sledgehammer! None of us could believe it.
For the next fourteen months, there were many ups and downs. Every step forward brought two more steps back, but never once did I lose faith. It simply never occurred to me that he wouldn’t get well. But, ultimately, he didn’t. His last several weeks were spent at Hospice. Let me tell you, he was the most popular guy there!
I really don’t want to dwell anymore on the “C” word in this post. I’ve already lived and relived it enough to last me a lifetime. What I really want to convey is what a special person my father was and how lucky I was to have had him as long as I did. I couldn’t have asked for a better dad. I love him dearly and sorely miss him every day.
I’d like to share a poem that I read at my father’s funeral. It has always been one of my favorites because of its uplifting perspective on death. This is how I like to think of him now; that he is somehow still with us.
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.