It hasn’t even been two years since.
Mourning should be an easing, a slanted downward ramp toward a lighter load. A slow walk from aching to peace. But this one is different. It’s like a dull knot within that remains and I wonder if it always might…
This current reminiscence was triggered by the simplest thing: my digital notes, the accumulated history of everything. I take notes. Lots of them. When dad’s cancer recurred and we took turns bringing him to the appointments, I would sit there in front of the oncologist and… take notes. I wanted to be competent, to be able to tell my brothers all that had happened. So that there would be a seamlessness to it, so that the other could take the baton and continue forward, all to the betterment of dad’s medical prospects. We were dutiful and my way through it was to take the notes.
I recall looking at the doctor, hearing the words, jotting them down, looking into his eyes and wondering whether the spoken encouragement matched his own knowing eyes. I often felt there was a misalignment there.
All the while, my dad kept his smile. Through the pain and what must have been worrying and despair, he smiled. I say must have been because he wasn’t keen to let on. He would tell us he was ok, thinking of us the entire time. That was his final gift.
So it’s only in the notes now. They were meant to chronicle, not become a someday reminiscence.
As I casually meandered through the notes a few days ago, I see the one. June 21, 2017. Dad’s last time at the hospital. I see these words, which I had tapped onto my iPad as they breathed:
“No further treatment at this point.”
And then this:
“I can see dad gets it, emotional.”
That was the moment. When we knew. When he knew. The doctor’s words matched his eyes. And he was sorry.
A month later dad was gone and the dull knot began.
Dad’s smile is no longer. But the notes remain.