My amazing dad passed away yesterday.
He fought this disease with tenacity and humor.
And he surrendered to it just as beautifully.
I was lucky enough to hold his hand as he left this world. What an amazing blessing the Universe gave me in allowing me to do this and in allowing me to fulfill the promise I had made to my dad many months ago, that I would be with him in those final moments.
It was peaceful.
And the experience will stay with me forever.
Yesterday was surreal.
A mix of disbelief and relief.
Today it feels real and not at all surreal.
It feels devastating.
I feel hollow.
As if a large piece of my heart and soul went with him.
I am at a loss today as to how to keep moving forward.
Despite my usual strength, I feel weak, unable to navigate my journey.
I know that with time, I will find my muscles again. And I also know that in my journey's next chapter, truths will begin to surface. And these lessons will guide me and connect me with my dad.
I do know that the importance of connection will most certainly be a top-rated lesson. All those who have reached out to me in the 24 hours since his passing have commented on how my dad was a connector... Connecting effortlessly with others... And connecting others together. He didn't just light up a room or 'work a room' (although he certainly did these things!), he connected with others in that room with sincerity and authenticity.
What a beautiful gift!
When we will talk about Grandpa Bobby in my house, we will talk about this ability to create and maintain connection. I hope it will inspire my children, my dad's three grandchildren; may they follow in my dad's very large footsteps.
There are so many examples of connection that can be shared. I think about two nights before my father died, when his wonderful childhood friend Allen came to visit with him. My dad had not spoken in days nor been responsive in any traditional way. This was not a Hollywood moment where Allen's presence made my dad open his eyes and speak. Instead, it was more powerful nd beautiful than any movie scene one could write. Despite my dad's inability to respond in the conventional ways, their connection was truly palpable. Dad most certainly knew Allen was there. Their friendship and connection was so strong that dad's response could be literally felt, instead of heard or seen. That night, I watched Allen rub my dad's chest and speak quietly to him and I felt the bond, love and loyalty permeate and envelop the room.
And as was my dad's way, he has connected me with Allen and his wife Melanie for life. Now my children and my husband and I will be taking trips to Seattle to listen to Allen tell funny stories about 'Grandpa Bobby' as a kid. This will help make them laugh and help keep their grandfather close. This will help me to heal.
(I've included photos of my dad and Allen recently as well as 50 years ago)
Below is the "Hopi Prayer of The Soul's Graduation." The words are comforting, but title alone is what speaks to me quietly; I believe deeply that the soul does indeed graduate.
Happy graduation dad!
You graduated with the highest of honors!
And made us all so very proud.
"Hopi Prayer of The Soul's Graduation."
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight
On the ripened grain.
I am the gentle Autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there.
I did not die.
My Spirit is still alive…