I always thought that I would have the big ugly cry when one of my parents passed. In actuality it was some tears especially the first week of my dad’s passing. Mostly its been bouts of sadness. Not depression. Sadness. Some days things feel surreal, like he really is not gone. Other days are like most of my days – work, friends, errands and then I remember and the sadness remains for a moment, hours, or the day. Then is leaves. It really is a odd process. I’ve heard it said that we all grieve differently. I believe that. My sister, my mother, my relatives – we all process differently. Coming back to Vancouver from Ontario was probably hardest time since he first passed. It hadn’t even been a week. I asked my sister how she was. She said it was the same for her. Perhaps the shock wearing off despite the fact that he was in declining health and in long-term care for almost seven months. It was setting in. I had a trip planned to visit my parent for a week and then off to Toronto for a three days. I changed that to spend the whole ten days with my mother. Two weeks before that trip was when my sister and I flew out as the doctors said he regressed and they did not expect him to survive. We had a few days with him and were all present when he passed, as he had wanted. It was very peaceful.
The service will be at the beginning of July as my mom wishes. I like that. It allows for processing and adjusting to him being gone. Back and forth to Ontario. Not quite how I imagined my trips there would be this year. I knew he was dying when he was first admitted into long-term care. I had a dream that he passed. Though my dad was a tough one, full of that Finn “sisu“. He did as much as he could on his own terms. He had given us a couple of scares in the past. About seven years ago he developed a very serious case of pneumonia and was induced into a coma. He survived though his lungs took a beating. At that time the doctors discovered he had a severe kidney infection as well. His kidneys never recovered and he was on hemo dialysis for years. Sometimes I wondered if he would keep going and outlive everyone. I think several people in his life may have pondered the same. Over the last several months he slowly declined and was somewhat of a crotchety old man at times, though can you blame anyone who is hospitalized for so long? In the end he was more sentimental especially when speaking of my mom.
On the day my mom told me that the doctors were saying there was not much time left a friend texted me. She was asking about how I had come to terms with knowing my father was dying (which I had told my friends was the case even though I had no idea when it would happen). She had her own concerns and looked to me for some insight. I was unable to answer her question because, well, it was only about three hours earlier that the news came. It was a Tuesday. I flew out on Wednesday’s red-eye, arriving Thursday morning. He passed on Sunday.
It now been a month. The shock is long gone though the small things make it hard. I saw a TV show where a character (a father) fought the evil forces so he could around for his infant son. I burst into tears. I still say I “my parents” instead of “my mom” when talking in the present tense. Things are getting easier day by day though I think of him often. In the past there was a long stretch when our relationship was tough. That improved over the years. He was a smart man, he liked to socialize and to laugh. He even laughed at his own jokes. Which was very funny because he’d be in stitches before even getting to the punch line. I miss him. Good -bye isä.