what i remember...
he was gone a full week before i could see him, a week consumed with momma's dying too. she still drew a labored breath & held onto my hand~ she needed me. he was already gone from this place~ seeing him really meant seeing the shell of the man i needed to see.
i had to choose.
it was a very long week.
momma was in surgery when daddy's funeral began. she was out of my grasp for those few hours~ beyond my words of comfort in a place i hoped would relieve her longing heart for a moment & ailing body for a very long time.
finally, my time to say goodbye to him.
i kept touching his soft, wispy hair & his fingernails...they felt like him. i knew better than to try & find comfort in the feel of his skin. i had been around too many dead by then...i remembered the disturbing feel & i stuck to what carried his memory for me, not wishing to shatter it with something morbid.
life & death do not feel the same & i could only cope with one of them at the moment.
from the funeral home to the church...Brad, our friend & unfortunate funeral director (imagine that occupation in a small town) asked me if i wished to cover daddy's remains & close the coffin lid.
i could not begin to imagine doing that.
he patted my shoulder to let me know that my way was okay & then he removed daddy's wedding ring. i had never seen his hand without it. i placed it on my finger, in my heart intending it for momma but in my head knowing she would soon have no use for it.
i walked outside to breathe. i could not listen to Brad directing his staff. i could not watch them prepare daddy for his funeral Mass. i could not believe i was following a hearse to my childhood church.
i could not pray.
i could not speak.
Father F. had the choir sing & their music is all i remember...that & the cold coffin resting beside me. i put my hand on it to steady my every move.
by the time we reached the cemetery, momma was out of surgery. the nurse called my cell phone as i followed the pallbearers to daddy's gravesite. she wasn't doing so well...rather than being in the hospital, i think her heart was right there beside me & that made her post-surgical recovery that much more strenuous. surely her time under anesthesia was a relief from her newfound burden of widowhood; waking was not just waking to a medical recovery, it was also waking to a broken heart.
her presence with me was a keen as her absence.
another twilight...an ending of a day...& of a life. i know at that moment i would have preferred to leap into the light that hovers between day & night...clinging to the last notes of taps, letting them carry me far above the pain that had been & that was to come. the last note floated through the valley & in its wake was a silence that consumed me. i held my breath until the dry leaves rustled in a stray breeze.
in another moment we were driving away~ into twilight's last hurrah, heading again for the hospital.