Ten years ago today I said goodbye to my father for the last time. Though he was in a coma state for the last 24 hours, at 8:05 am on March 13, 2013, he took his last breath.
What a surreal moment that was. You could literally feel life leave the room.
And now ten years later I sit back and reflect the journey since this world last laid eyes on the one William Simonsen.
Life was sure different then. I recall driving home that morning crying out from deep inside…
“Hey world… stop turning, you’re forgetting someone!!!”
Everything seemed so new. This very city in which I was raised was immediately a new experience for me. I would look at places I had driven by a thousand times and yet it seemed like it was the first time I ever laid eyes on them. This time, it was laying eyes on them in a world that no longer was my dad’s home.
Certainly these places didn’t change. I changed. My life changed. My view of this world changed.
It is amazing how we view this world through the eyes of the experiences we had with a parent. Good or bad, it molds us and we carry it. Though some experiences we were never meant to carry, we still carry them and we allow them to cause us to become them.
With my father, it’s funny how life works. As time passes from his passing, the lessons I learned become so much more clear. Kind of like the message on a side view mirror on a car, the objects in the mirror are closer than they appear, its just in life, sometimes we have to live a little before they become obvious or in some cases, we become willing to learn them.
My dad was an amazing listener. When he listened, you knew he was present. He wasn’t thinking about the next thing or the last thing, he was listening to the now thing of which was coming from your mouth.
My dad was a quiet person as well as a very private person. I think this age of social media would have drove him crazy. Heck, he worked for the phone company for like forty years and you could barely ever catch him using one.
My dad was also the funniest person I ever knew. If he thought something was funny, it was indeed funny. One thing I miss more than ever was getting my dad to laugh. When you could get him to laugh, the deep feeling of accomplishment was not comparable to anything I have felt this side of heaven.
To have your father smile upon you for something you said or did is something never to take likely. For some, as my friend whom I met with today, that was a memory never to be had. This breaks my heart.
Was my father perfect? No, and who is that walks among us? Did my father have pain and hurts? Certainly. Did he do the best he could at providing for his family? Yes.
I never heard I love you from my father until the last words he ever said to me before his passing.
It was a day or two before he passed when I saw him last. He was in bad shape and we knew the end was near. Every breath was an effort. On the outside I tried to look strong, but I know he knew… my inside ached to see him this way and my very life knew that soon… I would have to forge on without him.
In this, what was the one thing I needed to hear more than anything that would be like a baton handed off to me to set sail into a life beyond my father’s last breath?
His last words to me…
I love you, too.
I sit in a coffee shop all alone as I write this ten years after his final breath. In this, I wonder…
What have I become?
It is in this thought of what I have become that I notice something deep within my heart that has my fist clenching it so tightly.
A baton that has the words… I love you, too written on it.
Thank you dad for those final words. I love you much. I miss you much. For all the good things, thank you. For those times of not so good things… I forgive you. I know you were doing your best.
In these words, I find freedom. I find the ability to stop flapping my wings and start soaring. I find the wisdom to start working with the wind and not against it. Only then can one begin to soar. To say thank you. To say I forgive you. To say I love you.
In the blink of an eye it is now my turn. What will my daughter say ten years after my passing?
Time is short. Make your moments count.