I wanted to take the time to thank you all for your kindness and your support and friendship and love. March was a pretty rough month for me. I've been sick almost the entire time with an illness that sent me to the doctor many times and the ER three times. It started off as the flu and turned into pneumonia and settled in as a stomach virus that mimicked pancreatitis so closely that I didn't believe it when the tests came back and said my organs were all fine. There were entire days I spent puking my guts out and then dry-heaving when I didn't have anything else to offer the toilet. I had a deep pain in my guts, and the constant nausea prevented me from sleeping. It was an absolute nightmare, and I'm 99% certain I can trace it all back to that snot-nosed kid who coughed and sneezed over everything at the Urgent Care facility I went to for that lump in my armpit.
But that's not what I wanted to talk about today. When I was at my lowest, just as I was getting ready to go to the ER a second time, I got a call from my stepmother telling me that my father had just had a heart attack. From what I understand, he didn't know it was a heart attack, and he was feeling odd for a couple of days. They brought him to the ER, found out what happened and instantly went to work on him. I was confident he would pull through. He always does. He was in the air on 9/11, and he's a two-time cancer survivor. This heart attack would probably just be a bump in the road. My brother kept me appraised of the situation, and it seemed like he would get better for a while, and something else would happen, but then he'd get better again.
When my mom passed away, we all knew it was coming. She'd been sick for a long time, and her organs were failing her. She was in hospice, and she was in a coma. We had plenty of time to prepare. Even when the inevitable happened, we all lost it. No matter how prepared you are, you're never prepared enough.
Losing Dad surprised the shit out of all of us. It came out of nowhere. He was a few years shy of his sixties. He was in fairly good shape after several bad medical run-ins. Full head of hair. Strong as an ox. And bam. One minute my brother is telling me they're getting ready to take him out of ICU, and the next he's calling me to tell me that Dad is gone.
It happens just like that.
I cried a long time. Dad wouldn't have wanted that, but I couldn't help it. From what I've experienced with my mom's passing, I know it will go like this: it will hurt less and less everyday, but every once in a while, maybe in intervals of six months or a year, it will come back and hit me hard out of the blue.
There will be no funeral for Dad. He didn't want anything like that. He was a circle-of-life kind of guy. So am I. I always wondered where I got that from. When I go, I want a green burial. Put me back into nature. Recycle me. Dad donated his body to science so people could pop his hood and check out what happened to him, so they'll know what to do for the next person this happens to. That's the kind of guy he was.
There will be a celebration of Dad's life, though. One last get-together, where everyone can raise a pint to his memory. I wish I could be there and see my family, but Dad wouldn't have wanted me to go to all the trouble. He didn't want to make life difficult for anyone. He was a man of convenience, which is probably why he made such a good salesman. This is my way of sending him off.
Which finally brings me to that "thank you" I promised in the title of this thing. I don't know how it happened, but I've somehow surrounded myself with the most caring, loving, wonderful people anyone could hope to have in their lives. So many of you rushed to offer help, assistance, someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on--you name it, you all offered. Thank you. I'm grateful to have you all in my life, and I can't thank you enough. I love you all.