Writing for me is a healing tool, so with that in mind, I am sharing this personal event. Yesterday, my father died. We were in transit from Tokyo, Japan back to Budapest. If he had lived until January 22nd, he would have been 83 years old, but that was not a milestone he felt a need to reach. When he turned 80, he shared with me how surprised he was by the fact that he made it that long. My mother had died years before.
Each time we traveled, I had this sinking feeling that this time would be the time that my brother tried reaching me in vain. Today was that day. Getting home at midnight last night, I was too overstimulated to sleep, so woke at 4am. I had to be at school at 9am and was there most of the day. After feeling like a success by making it home with my eyes open, I succumbed to a rest. Still it took me quite some time to doze off and when I did, I thought I heard the phone in my hazy state. Thinking they would call back, I let it go. Then my mobile started ringing, but I could not make sense of the sound through the groggy web of thought.
When I finally conceded that there really is no rest for the wicked, the e-mail was the first thing I checked. Just spotting the Facebook message from my brother was enough to put me on high alert. We are not casual communicators. Just as I was trying to call him, he tried successfully to reach me.
Dad died in his sleep yesterday morning. Though a stroke had paralyzed his one leg in a permanently contracted position, he was still in great spirits. According to my brother he was loved by all of the staff. Knowing my father, it is not difficult to believe. In fact, only the contrary would be unbelievable. Everyone knew him as “Good Guy Jack”.
I tried calling him before we left. His room in the nursing home didn’t have a phone. I called the nursing station repeatedly asking if they could get him to the phone, but each time they claimed they were too short handed or he was complaining about not feeling well. I knew if he knew I was calling, he would have made it to the phone. We never did get to say our good-byes the way they should have been.
He was in New Jersey and so is my brother. Dad will spend his eternity there next to my mother. My brother said, “I am not sure I know what to feel.” I am kind of the same way at the moment. There was the expectation every day, but now that it is here, I am not certain how to feel. But writing about it is healing at least.