Today’s #Write30 topic comes from Crafting the Personal Essay. The prompt focuses on loss – not exactly the loss itself, or the moment where you get the news, but the moment when you realize the impact.
It seemed like my father had had pneumonia forever. I’m sure he was sick when I was down in Florida for my brother’s IBEW Local Ironman Challenge Golf Outing. It was hot that day, but even so, he couldn’t walk from the golf cart to the tee, nevermind swing a club without needing a 15 minute rest and a tank full of oxygen. That was early June. He and Kevin arrived in NJ the day before father’s day. The next day he was in the hospital. And he basically stayed there for a month.
He probably had an ice-cube size section of working lung left, and it seemed to be melting fast.
I probably shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was when Kevin’s voice said “Hello” in an uncharacteristic somber monotone. And then, “Your dad died.” (His dad too. That was just the way he always said it. As I write that now, I’m glad he didn’t let go of that mannerism.)
The rest of the conversation was the cliched blurr. I said what, he repeated it. He had to go, and I made a plan to get down there as quickly as I could.
I was off the phone but still hearing a voice. It wasn’t the tv. It wasn’t the computer. For a second, I actually thought it may have been the voice of god – or some anthropomorphized force in the universe.
Then I realized it was my father.
It really was. I am sure of it.
“Now you can write what you want.”