As I stood up to welcome people on behalf of the family and to thank them for coming, I was deeply moved to see other friends who had traveled from afar, at some cost and some inconvenience, just to be with us in our sorrow. So from all this I have learned the value of presence and the value of tangible expressions of love.
I have, in many ways, lived a very easy life. Sure, I’ve had my share of difficulties—I’ve lived, after all, in this broken world and not some perfect paradise. And while I know there isn’t a lot of value in comparing my little suffering to other people’s greater suffering, still I understand I have had it easy relative to so many people I’ve known and loved. Yet, this world being what it is, I knew it was only a matter of time before I, too, would be called to walk that road of suffering. And, sure enough, 2019 forced me to walk it. It was my hardest year yet by a long shot. This is true for various reasons, none more so than the sudden and unexpected death of my father in December. What was a tough year became a grueling one on December 9.
It has been more than two months since I got the call that dad had been found unresponsive in my sister’s driveway, that my brother-in-law had done CPR while waiting for an ambulance, that paramedics had now taken over, and that it was not looking good. And even now, two months on, it still does not sound normal to talk about my father in the past tense, even now it feels strange to type the words, “the death of my father.” Still on a near-daily basis I find myself watching videos or reading articles and thinking, “I should send this to dad.” This is all still a long, long way from normal.
In the past couple of months I have spent a lot of time reflecting on that difficult year, but mostly that one difficult loss.