Sunday, December 23, 2007

My Father

When I was little, I'd go out to the porch in my nightgown and climb up on my Dad's lap and he'd tell me a Tarzan story. They always ended with Tarzan getting really sleepy and going to bed. When I was going to spend the night away from home for the first time, I was afraid of being homesick, and Dad recorded a Tarzan story for me to listen to if I couldn't go to sleep.

I remember he didn't want me to hear it (so that it would be a brand new Tarzan story for me) so he sat outside alone talking into a tape recorder, and Mom considered playing a joke on him and calling the neighbors, saying that Dad had gone insane and was sitting alone talking to himself. Ha.

On Tuesday he and Mom were in the dining room in their retirement home, and he said something (possibly that he would rather be having dinner at Red Lobster) and Mom turned away to speak to someone, and when she turned back a moment later he was gone. Just that quickly. He might have had a heart attack, we don't know for sure.

I can't imagine how unbearable this would be if I wasn't completely sure that he knew how much I love him. I saw him for his 92nd birthday in August, I visited again last month, I just spoke to him a week ago and told him all about the Mt. Dora Christmas lights and how much I was looking forward to seeing him for Christmas. He knew I was going to bring him cigars and a Hickory Farms box, just like I always do.

I mentioned in my blog a while ago that he had dictated his obituary to me, leaving out his degree from Virginia Tech and his Army service (during WWII), and highlighting his faith and church activities. He also gave me a list of things to do and phone numbers to call. I have to admit, even though seeing that obituary in print made my stomach hurt, having it taken care of and having a list of things to do did make it easier for me. I was having trouble thinking clearly, and I know he knew I would be and he tried to make it better for me.

I miss him so much.