And just like that, it was over.
The hospital visits. Sleeping there with him, or not sleeping those nights, actually. Waiting for the doctor to make his rounds. Updates. Medicare days. Endless bills.
The home care. Learning how to suction his trach. Tube feedings. Nurse visits. Medical equipment and supplies. Finding out what Medicare doesn't pay for. My name called over and over at all hours of the day.
Telling a quadriplegic with dementia that they can't walk. Every. Single. Day.
Just when we got our footing on the new normal, it ended. And there was another new normal. No sooner than I got used to a life with my dad in it, he was gone.
I'm not sure where to go from here. I miss him terribly. I long to be woken to the sound of him calling my name. For any reason, whatsoever. I wanted so badly for him to be at home with us. And he was for a bit. And then went back to the hospital. And then he returned. Just long enough to be home when he died.
I wasn't ready for that. Not that you ever can be. But, he was supposed to be healthy, and well enough to be home. We were supposed to have more time with him. I wasn't finished with so many conversations. I hadn't told him I loved him enough. I hadn't heard him tell me enough.
Even so, our time ended.
I am guilty of not realizing how precious that time was. Caught in the constant daily struggle of the mundane tasks his care required, I failed to see how precious the moments in between were.
God was gracious enough to lift the veil at times and give me a glimpse. I'll hold onto those moments until I die. And I'll wish I had recognized them more.
I'll wish for that night he told me he'd never been ashamed of me.
Or when he shared his own regrets, and hurts.
I'll wish for another chance to tell him how much I respected his demeanor in the middle of painful twists and turns required in order to clean and dress wounds.
I'll long to watch another Giant's game with him. I'll never forgive MLB for blacking out the one they played the Saturday before he died.
I'll wish I could have made him a meal and never regret not eating one in front of him for 7 months. Not even a sip of water was taken in his presence. Because he couldn't, we wouldn't.
I'll think back often to the day he said to me, "I always wanted to be good."
And I'll thank the Holy Spirit for saying through me, "Jesus was good, because we can't be."
I'll regret the days that I didn't visit but be so glad that it was never out of anger, just exhaustion.
On, dear God, how can we know? How can we know when this time is slipping through our fingers? When this pain isn't even scratching the surface of what will come? How can we? How?