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One Year

November 13, 2020

One year plus two weeks ago after your breakfast, you dressed in the Halloween t-shirt I had given you on your birthday then you had Karen text me your photo. Although Halloween was never your thing, you knew how much I enjoyed it and you indulged me.

One year plus one week ago we shared your last ever champagne. You always loved wine, especially bubbles. Like father, like daughter, I guess. It was a Wednesday, our final Dad and Amy Day. We’d had 17 months of Wednesday dates after Mom died and I am so very grateful for every single one of them. I knew our time was slipping away faster every day and I greedily wanted every moment with you that I could have. I slept over that night.

One year plus six days ago I awoke very early. I sat in a corner of your room praying, the nightlight helped me keep watch of your breaths. I prayed, I watched and I cried. During the third decade of my second Rosary you woke up and saw me. You sat up, swinging your legs over the edge and said “Oh, Honey, don’t cry, I’m not dying.” Then you made this goofy face and added “well, ok, I guess I am… but not today.” Pause. Grin. “…I hope.” Then you laughed and I did, too. You patted the spot next to you and I came to sit. You kissed my hand then held both of mine in yours. We left not a single loving word unsaid. We were, as you had always said, “simpatico.”

One year plus five days ago I packed up to go home, you promised you would be there when I returned the next day. You always kept your promises so I slept like a log in my own home that night.

One year plus four days ago your kids and grandkids visited, everyone thrilled with how alert and funny you were. Jon and I arrived in the early evening and you were still in party mode but after a short time everything about you changed, it was as though you had been unplugged. You rode your stair chair up and walked to the bathroom, needing so much assistance. You were then too spent to walk so you rode on the seat of your walker to your room, Karen gently pushing you down the hall from behind. She and I helped you stand, Karen behind, me in front of you. I wrapped my arms around you to lift and I instantly understood that this would be our last hug. I held on to you for dear life; we pivoted you from the walker to your bed. You would not rise again.

Over the next very blurry days all of your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren visited, we loved, we prayed and we lifted each other.

One year plus two days ago you smiled at me for the last time. Ever the creeper, I was once again watching you sleep. You opened your eyes and I forced myself to grin because I didn’t want you to see that my heart was mid-shatter. You met my grin with such a sweet smile.

One year ago today you journeyed toward Home. I am and will always be immensely grateful for the privilege of being present.

You and Mom had shown such a noble acceptance of God’s will during your final years, acceptance of all the suffering and loss that had penetrated your life. You had taught us all how to live well a Catholic life and now also how to suffer bravely and die well, close to God.

Not a day passes that I don’t miss you both, in fact seldom an hour passes that you don’t cross my mind. I pray that your souls are together in Heaven and have faith that just as God has promised I will see you again.

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