It's 9:30 p.m. on May 30th. One year ago it was Memorial Day. One year ago we found out Dad wasn't going to make it. One year ago at this time, I was trying to leave the hospital and Dad cried.
Watching my father cry was one of the most painful things in the world. I only saw him do it a handful of times in the 30-some years I knew him. He cried the first time we watched My Girl and quickly ran out of the room. He cried when my 2 year-old cousin Max was killed in a freak accident. He cried when his mother died in 2010. (I never saw him cry when his father died when I was little. My mom said she only saw him cry once.) He cried over losing my mother to that evil world of Alzheimer's. And he cried that night when he realized he was going to die.
Because it was so rare for him to do so, his tears always triggered some of my own. That particular night was exceptionally difficult. For my whole life, he had been the one comforting me. Now it was my turn to comfort him.
That memory keeps popping up, particularly at night. Bedtime is that evil time when all of those thoughts invade your cerebral membrane. You lose the ability to stave them off any longer. Emotions are set free and tears being to roll.
Tonight marks three more days until his one-year anniversary. There is something peaceful to me with that number. I don't know why I keep going back to Jesus and the resurrection and three days when I think about my father. I am more of a spiritual person than a religious person. Perhaps it is because he was so faithful at the end of his life.
I also know that in three days, that first year's cycle will be complete. For me, I have to mark the passage of time. To make it through one full year after a painful event always feels like a triumph. I know I am that much closer to the end. I almost look forward to it in a weird way.
My tears this evening are not nearly as plentiful as they were a couple of days ago. They are more seeping out of the corners of my eyes. My sister would say that my eyes are leaking. They are responding to the pain and emptiness that I feel without my father around. He was one of my best friends; we were extremely close. That hole is by no means smaller one year later. It has shifted and readjusted itself, sort of like a woman's body weight does over the years. It is never going to go away, either. It just stings a little less with each passing day. And I breathe so much easier.