As the date of Dad's heart surgery approaches, we girls are staying at his home.
It's beyond odd to be here without him.
The lack of his physical presence is always at the forefront. We’re here because he’s in the hospital; it’s not like it’s something we forget.
Recent days have a hodge-podged, temporary sense of normalcy to them. It’s like my brain seizes upon things from everyday life which run parallel to the happenings of now and clutches them tightly—a link, however tiny or mundane, to it all being okay. I have coffee at home every day, so the sheer act of making coffee every day here in my father’s home, even without him joining me, ensures that all will be well. If I hear a song I know he’d like, I fill in everyone around me, “Dad would love this.” No moment passes where his presence is not somehow inserted.
It's as though just speaking his name heals his body, strengthening his heart and acting as a substitute until he can be here in person. A reassurance or promise of a return to real normalcy.
Then there are the things that jump out in seemingly innocuous moments, insisting on being noticed: proof of his absence.
The change from his pocket, still lying on his dresser.
His pipe, cold and singular on the kitchen counter.
The jeans and shirt he would have put on when returning from work.
His truck, with his favorite radio station tuned in and waiting, engine cold, devoid of its driver. (My little sister insists I point out the dirt and bugs are NOT how Dad left it; she drove it down to see Mom and is going to return it to the shape Dad insists on keeping it in before she heads home.)
Or George, who just doesn’t understand where Dad could be hiding.
George has had enough of his Dad being gone, and will tell anyone who listens of his insistence that Dad be returned immediately. So things can return to normal.
Amen, brother George. Preach on.