I sat on the floor, back against the wall, where his bed had been, where he had lain for months, where every night we had gone through the sterilization process for dialysis, and I sobbed. The memories were so strong. This is where he fought, where he tried to best the disease that would kill him. That final day is etched in my mind. I came in to say goodbye before getting on the road, and he was writhing in pain. When he attempted to answer my questions about what hurt, he grimaced. When I touched him, he recoiled in agony.
The memories are so strong when I return to Winston-Salem. And this will likely be my last return.
We thought about keeping their condo, about renting it out. And I talked to a couple of folks who might have been interested, but the price wasn’t right, the timing wasn’t right. Mom keeps saying that she never wants to return to Winston-Salem, that there are too many bad memories. The idea of running a third household in addition to mine and Mom’s was more than I could consider.
I put the condo on the market and two days later had an offer. I should be happy. I should be thrilled. We got a great offer and this will be another chapter behind us.
And as I moved from room to room, cleaning out closets and wrapping pictures in bubble wrap and towels, I stopped and sat on the floor and just cried. Cried because I miss my Dad so much. I miss his wisdom and his guidance. I wish he were here to help ease Mom’s sadness. I wish he were here to share happy moments. I just wish he were here. How is it possible to miss someone so much to the point where your heart physically hurts?
I take pictures off the wall that we bought together when we traveled in China, in Korea, in other places around the world. I take pictures off the wall that had been in our house in Rural Hall, where I lived from 5 years old to adulthood. I wondered where these would go. My walls were full. Mom’s walls were full. My siblings’ walls were full. I wrapped them in sheets and placed them in my car, prolonging the decision until later.
I walked out on the balcony. The sun was setting and the sky was turning from pink to orange to blue to violet. My favorite time of day. My favorite place to be. When I lived with Mom and Dad earlier this year, I would bundle up and sit in the rocker as the sun went down and just be. Not think about work, or what I needed to do, or Dad’s medical prognosis, or Mom’s recent cognitive assessment. I watched the sun set for the last time from this vantage point. And I cried some more.