On this day eleven years ago, early in the morning, I was driving to east Texas with Savannah, then 20 months old, in the backseat. My sister Valarie had called a few minutes after six to tell me our father had died after a hard battle with bone cancer.
We knew it was inevitable he would be gone soon, I just wasn't ready for it to be that soon. I had just left his house 36 hours before. He had suddenly seemed to be getting a second wind. Wanting to eat and laugh, trying to get up from his bed, a hospital bed placed in his den so he could be with his family. We now know that was the surge of energy terminally ill patients get before they die. It can last for one hour, two days, or two weeks. I wish I would have known.
Today, eleven years later - hard to believe - I still find myself grieving. All day I've been quick to grow angry, cry, or feel overwhelmed. Dustin Hoffman once said you never get over the loss of a parent. I couldn't agree more. It seems strange that my three kids will never know their Grandpa Ralph and just how much he would have loved them.....does love them.
But as the day draws to an end, I want to remember the good things,
not the drive I had to take that morning,
or selecting his casket,
or walking away from the gravesite.
I want to remember his hugs.
How he smelled of saw dust and sweat when he came in from his workshop.
How he ate his fries with a fork.
And hearing him say, "Pass the sugar, Sugar."