What I mean, is...

I am surprised at how coherent my last post was.  I was not only half asleep writing it, but I was trying to avoid a topic that I really wanted to talk about, but didn't think I should.

But I'll be damned if I'm going to self-censor on my own blog.  So here it is.

I have the sometimes painful gift of remembering anniversaries of events.

Today is the third anniversary of my father's death.

May 2011 - Our Cabin.  The dirt behind him is actually the root ball of a tree that fell during the tornado that moved our front porch of the back yard.  We had gone up to assess the damage and I took this photo.  You can get an idea of the size of the tree. I kept that sweater.  I think we let the overalls go.   We are about 20 yards from the famous rattlesnake killing incident of 2009... or 2010?   Nope, I checked, I was right - 2009. Trust your gut, people,

I won't mention it on social media.  Well, I take that back.  I probably won't mention it on social media, unless my sister does.  Not even then, probably.

My mother, if she even remembers, hasn't said anything - maybe because she doesn't want to upset me.  I know that her plans today have no connection to the anniversary.  I suspect that she has a vague idea of  "it happened around this time...", but doesn't have it inked on her mental calendar.

And here's the thing - it's totally OK if they don't remember it.

And it's totally OK if I do.

I don't remember how much I talked about the details when it first happened, and I honestly didn't want to look at the archives and go down that rabbit hole.

But I need to tell you one story, because it's important to me.

On the night of the 22nd, my mother, my sister and I stayed up late talking.  We were in my parents' den, where my father was in a hospice bed and hooked up to oxygen.  We had hospice workers coming in during the day, and our job, as it was, was to administer morphine drops under Dad's tongue every two hours.  The thing is, Mom didn't like doing it.  So at night, we had decided to take turns coming down to help (basically do it with her watching).  Anyway, that night, we were all there for the 1AM dose, so we did that - then my sister volunteered for 3AM, I said I'd do 5AM.  My mother was going to sleep on the couch next to him.

When my alarm went off at 5AM, I came downstairs and heard Dad's oxygen - it seemed loud.  I figured they'd had to turn it up.  When I got to him, I noticed he wasn't breathing.  I felt his neck for a pulse and he was cold.  No pulse.

I woke Mom up and said, "I think Dad's gone..."  She told me to go get my sister, so I did.

As we were walking down the stairs together, I thought, "Jesus, I hope I didn't screw up and we get down there and he's breathing."

I didn't.  He wasn't.

We called the hospice nurse, and she came, and I watched her flush the rest of the morphine and signed off that I had seen her do it.  She called for the Cremation people to come out and stressed it was a two person job.

Shortly after, one person arrived.  That was awkward.  After a few uncomfortable minutes, he said he thought he could lift Dad on his own, and my mother said she didn't want her husband dragged out like a sack of potatoes.

While she was out of the room talking to hospice, the guy tries to make conversation.  "So... what happened?"

And my sister, to her everlasting credit gave this guy an eat shit look and said very icily, "Well... he died."  It was funny then, it's even funnier now.  I think we offered him coffee.  We did a lot of coffee offering that week.

Help came, and they removed him from the house, and we started the process of figuring out what was next.

I tell you this story because it is significant to me that I found him.  Sometime between 3:15 and 5AM, he died, quietly enough that he didn't wake my mother.  Mom is a deep sleeper.   And Dad wouldn't have wanted to wake her, I don't think.  And I think he spared Laura from having to be the one to tell her - and me.

I firmly believe that Dad knew I needed to be the one to find him, and to tell Mom, and to tell Laura.  I know that's magical thinking.  I know it's the height of narcissism.  But I really do believe that's why it happened when and how it did.

It was an honor.  It was surprisingly not scary or gross.  He didn't look peaceful or serene, scared or in pain.  He was like an empty suitcase after a long and wonderful journey.

And that was three years ago today.

I miss him.  Not a day goes by where I don't think of him in some way.  I don't expect that to change.

What has changed is that I'm not angry, or weepy, or paralyzed with grief.  I am not trying to fill my life with toys or work or food to dam up the space left by his absence.

I'm OK.  And I know that he loved me.  And that he was proud of me. 

And I know that everything is going to be just fine.

Because it already is.

So, while I don't expect anyone to remember that today is "that day", I wouldn't be true to myself if I didn't.

That's all I really wanted to say,