A year ago today I held my dad tight as he let go of this world.
That sentence is very heavy.
That morning, exactly one year ago, I sat at the breakfast table with my mother and my niece. We talked lightheartedly about the past and the future and listened to music on our iPhones. There was one popular song we played that can be “shagged” to (a South Carolina dance), so my mother and I showed my niece how to shag while listening to Kenny Chesney sing about “American Kids”. Right there in the kitchen we danced our hearts out. I’m sure my dad, who was in the other room, was very aware of our dancing and would have smiled if he had been able to smile in his comatose state.
Shortly after our little dance I had a moment alone with Dad. I played a few songs that expressed my feelings for him. One of them was “Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn, and another song was “You Can Let Go” by Crystal Shawanda. That second song ripped my heart out to listen to the lyrics while playing the song in his ear, but it was such a beautiful song and so well suited to our situation at the time. I spent the day sitting by his side, knowing in my heart that it would be my last day with him. We even told the Hospice nurse that she didn’t need to come that day. My son was driving up from Charleston that afternoon. They say when someone is holding on long after they should have passed on that they are waiting for something. We had been telling him we would be ok and he can let go, but he kept holding on. It turned out that he was waiting for the arrival of my son, because it was only about two hours after Justin walked through the door that my dad took his final breath.
The borrowed time we shared has so far been the most precious and meaningful of my life, especially that last summer.