As I held the phone to my ear, listening to the sounds of the ICU in my father’s hospital room as he lay dying, I thought, This is the hard part. This was the part that I’d prepared my heart for, the inevitable day that we all knew was coming after my father’s diagnosis of esophageal cancer nine months prior. Every chemotherapy setback, every hospital admission, every missed family gathering had led us here. We knew cancer was going to rob us of our father and my kids of their grandfather.
He was dying, and his cancer-ridden body would finally be at rest.
I was 1,600 miles away and helpless to do anything but whisper to my father through the phone I clutched in my hands as I sobbed.
When the nurse got on the phone and said, “It’s over. He’s gone,” I breathed a sigh of relief.
My father was at peace.
The worst was over, I told myself.
But my grief journey was just starting. And it’s been excruciating, painful, and wonderful, all in different stages.
Though it’s been five years since the day I said goodbye to my father, I still grieve him every day. Not a day goes by that my heart doesn’t feel the pang of sorrow when I want to share a professional success with him or when I catch a glimpse of his smile on my son’s face.
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