I wonder if it feels like the loss of a limb,
The loss of a loved one.
When the limb is gone, and for a long time after
It feels as if it's there but you no longer see it.
Right now, it all feels like that,
Though I'm not about to test the question.

It hurts, the death of my father, as expectedly unexpected it was. I was driving out east to surprise my parents, like I had done on several occasions before.

My father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three years ago almost to the day. That year I was back and forth between Ontario and Prince Edward Island five times; a ridiculous car trek of nearly 3000km once around, each of five. He was doing seemingly well until recently. That said, his type of cancer is a terminal one, most times.

The doctors took him off chemo therapy on the Friday, which I think to him was a sign that if the doctors have given up, it was time for him also. Then came the call Saturday from his sister that her husband, and my Godfather, had died suddenly. This sealed it all.

Sunday morning my parents called to tell that he was to be taken to the hospital as his pain had become unmanagable and his legs were beginning to swell again from water retention. I hear his frailty in that conversation still. My decision was made to visit then, and I arranged for some time, thanks to gracious people at my work.

I packed my backpack, but then looked at my closet a second time, pulling my suit to add last minute. I was also ready to pack various other items in addition, that I had made/built in my search for adventure and had told my father about. I thought this would lift his spirits. As I was taking one item apart to pack, I stopped myself, put it back and then chose to photograph them all instead to show from my iPad. Why did I take these actions?

I drove off at one in the morning Monday, thinking I would surprise them both at the hospital by early evening. Before the New Brunswick border, and just after eight in the morning, I received a text that he had slipped into a coma. I thought I would maybe speak to him still, if not with, and maybe even miraculously bring him out of it. About an hour later, my mother called to let me know he had died, and all I could say was "OK."

That evening, instead of surprising my parents, I was myself surprised as I was helping plan my father's funeral with my mother. I suppose this was a good thing in retrospect as I quickly realised the funeral agent would have tried to take my mother, who in any case is very trusting, for as much as possible. Later in the week was the viewing of the strangely "different" face of my father's body, and the next day carrying that body in a box as one of his bearers.

The church service was good. I'm not religious, have not been for a good number of years, but I enjoyed the music, and my father loved the priest who presided. During that service I tried to take in as much of the even, for memory's sake, as possible. After the service outside, I clumsily scratched a symbol I claimed many years ago onto his box with a knife I thought was his but ultimately was one my mother uses.

The universe truly has a wickedly marvelous humour about it. I try smile, and I do persist. You see, there is a beautiful bargain to life, bright, marvelous, for which we eventually must all pay. It is a bargain, truly.

The father is dead
Long live the mother
09:07, March 26, 2012