Sunday, October 23, 2016

366 Project - Day 297 - "Dad (I'm Sorry)"

October 23, 2016 - "Dad (I'm Sorry)"

Saturday was a long and busy day. My alarm went off at 5:00AM, calling me to get ready to head to the shelter/soup kitchen to serve breakfast to the homeless and needy. When I returned home about six hours later, I pretty much collapsed from exhaustion... knowing that I only had a few hours before I'd have to head down to Norwalk for a Vigil Mass and a Knights of Columbus dinner where a very dear friend of mine was to be awarded the very-much-deserved "Knight of the Year" award. After dinner we were to jet from Norwalk to Shelton for my brother-in-law's famous Halloween Party which would go on until the wee hours of the morning.

I woke up with the plan to leave for Norwalk a bit early, and pop down to Stamford to visit my Dad before needing to be at St. Matthew's parish for the Mass at 4PM. By the time I got home from volunteering I was so tired... I decided to change my plans. I decided to chill out at home a bit longer and then head straight down for the Mass... leaving Danbury as late as we possibly could, still allowing us to get to Norwalk before the opening hymn.

In short... I had planned to go see my Dad, and decided not to because I was too tired.

This morning my alarm clock went off, calling me to get ready to head down to Hamden to receive both my 2nd and 3rd Degree initiations into the Knights of Columbus. It was about 10 or 15 minutes before my ride was supposed to show up at my house. I was in the bathroom getting ready for a very quick shower, when my wife started knocking on the door. She was holding her cellphone in her hand... and I could see on the screen that it was a call from my Aunt. Somehow I just "knew" what that meant, and I said "No. No. No. God... No."

My Dad was gone.

Everything became a blur. A mad scramble to contact my Brother Knights to let them know what had happened. A rush to get out of the house as quickly as possible and make our way down to Stamford.

Blur upon blur upon blur. Talking with my brother on the phone... "No, I'm not OK"... trying to get out the door... running to the car... racing south.

Walking into the room alone and seeing him.

Blur upon blur upon blur.

My Dad was gone.

Hugs and tears.

Kneeling beside the bed.

His hand was so cold.

I haven't felt that kind of cold since...

... is this really fucking happening right now!?!

What do I say?

What do I do?

Dad... please... don't be gone.

I pull out a vial of Holy Water and anoint his forehead...

I begin to pray:

"Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord...

Those are the words coming out of my mouth. Prayers. Prayers upon prayers. Words flowing from my mouth... and I don't even know what I said.

My mind?

Very different.

"Dad... Dad, I'm so sorry. Why the fuck didn't I come here yesterday? I knew that this was about to happen... I've been dreaming it every single fucking night this week. Lord, why did you let me not come here yesterday? How could I be so fucking stupid!?!"

... as it was in the beginning... is now... and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."

What do I do now?

What am I supposed to do now?

Blur upon blur upon blur.

Helping to lift my father's body off of his bed, onto the gurney that will carry him away....


Cleaning out his belongings...


Fighting back tears...


Fighting back the strong urge to punch someone in the fucking throat...


Discussing funeral arrangements...


Calling family members...


Now I'm sitting at home with the Bible my Dad kept by his bedside... and the prayer cards from my brother's funeral which my Dad made it a point to read and put in his shirt pocket each and every morning since we lost my brother eighteen months ago.

Looking at the photos of us he had pinned to the wall.

Dad... I am so sorry. I planned to be there. I meant to be there. I should have been there. I wasn't there.

The very last words we said to each other were "I love you". That was just a week ago. Right now I'd give anything to be able to hear your voice utter those words again.

I'm here, Dad. I'm still saying the words...

Dad... I love you!

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