I know what I want to write. What I don’t know is how to start because we’re circling back. Where does a circle start?
In Made To Stick, brother Chip and Dan Heath explore what makes something stick in such a way it catches on. They talk about the curst of knowledge and when you know something, it is virtually impossible to know what it’s like not to know it.
When it comes to the Passion Week, we know how it ends. The disciples and others lived it forward, they didn’t know “everything would be okay.” We live it in memory, knowing how it ends. When Peter denies Jesus for the second time, I find myself wanting to scream, “Are you kidding me? Jesus told you you’d deny him three times and that’s number two, do you hear yourself? Stop! Stop.”
I do not mean to be irreverent when I say this is our passion week. I do not think my dad was Jesus. His death will not change The World, but it did change our world. It did change our story. It did change us.
I look at First Monday Amy last year and I think: Oh you sweet innocent fool, you have no idea where this is headed.
Dad had been sick and I was out of town. I got an unexpected text from Elizabeth who was with him at the doctors. Primary Doc called other doc and got liver results. Sounds like tumor is gone. Gift of good news!
Stunned. We were told the treatment goal was to slow and shrink the liver tumors and Dad could live a long time with them. But gone? It was a miracle in the true sense.
Tuesday I arrived home and that evening Elizabeth, Laura and I texted and called trying to decide if we should take Dad to the emergency room to avoid further dehydration. This is the blessing of living a story forward: we didn’t know.
I look back at Tuesday Amy and Tuesday Elizabeth helping Dad down the stairs and out to the car and I’m so glad they didn’t know this was the last time they’d see their dad leave the house. The home he had raised them in and played roughhouse and made them spend endless summer hours mowing and in winter help hang the Christmas lights outside. They, blessedly, didn’t know. They just knew to put one foot in front of the other and move towards help.
It’s what we all know.
I look back at Wednesday Amy and the calls she made. Calls laced with optimism, parroting phrases used in the ER. “I’m so sorry to tell you Dad is in the hospital, but we don’t think it’s too serious. We just need his kidneys to wake up.”
I have such compassion for Wednesday Amy and her family.
Thursday brought surgery as the doctors thought again they’d solved a problem. He lived through it and they were encouraged.
(I think of you, dear reader, and I wonder if you find all this tedious and, I’ll be honest, I don’t care. Medical situation are tedious, they are. They are hurry up and wait. They are confusion mixed with hope mixed with worry mixed with boredom.)
On Friday Laura arrived in the early evening for the weekend. Friday Amy and Friday Mom had gotten permission for Friday Laura to sneak into the hospital after hours and see her dad and kiss him good night.
They still don’t know. They are so innocent (and tired).
I remember Saturday Morning Amy talking on the phone to her friend Jenny and the laughter. I’m grateful for the times of laughing woven in.
And then it changed. They knew. Saturday Amy, she is no fool. She knows. It was phrased in terms of one option being months and another weeks. Laura left the next day to return home to get ready for a longer stint in Denver. The Super Bowl was not super, but our half-time show was holy. We told Dad how much we’d miss him but that he had been a wonderful husband, father, son, grandpa, engineer, and friend. He was known and loved and he could go without regrets.
We thought the big shocks were over. How many times can you be naïve? Oh Monday Morning Amy, what you think you know and what you’re about to find out.
The vocabulary changed from treatment to care and weeks to days. As Monday Elizabeth and Monday Mom worked on finding a place to transfer Dad, Monday Amy started calling people. Sunday Laura became Monday Laura. I said what I never wanted to say, and she heard what she never wanted to hear. Come, come now. The clock has changed again.
Friends came and sat with us and laughed with us and spent precious fleeting time with the man they loved too. And then the transport team came and we followed to see Dad settled in his last (and worst? Thankfully he didn’t care) earthly bed. Monday Amy and Monday Elizabeth went to a Denver Nuggets game to tell an usher who loved our dad, “He’s dying.” Who else is known by name by an usher? Who else is known for his smile?
Tuesday Laura and Tuesday Sue arrived before Dad slipped too far away. Those hours spent together with him as friends came and went and we took turns holding his hands, it was like being in a labor room for eternity. It was hard and humorous and holy.
Wednesday came. And at the palindrome time of 2:22 (give or take, we weren’t looking at the clock and got to pick the time and Dad loved a good number pattern) on February 5th, Tom Young died.
Wednesday Amy she carries all this and more with her into the next year and now we are circling back. If I could tell my dad four things this week it is this: we remember you, you mattered, I miss you and I love you.
Thank you for your love and friendship this year. Love, Amy
Elizabeth Trotter says
Oh Amy, this was sad and beautiful and nail-biting all at once, and now I’m crying.
So sorry it happened so fast, and too soon.
Elizabeth Trotter says
Oops. Meant to delete that recently posted part. Wasn’t trying to advertise in your pain.
Actually, I’d love for more people to know of you … friends, as you scroll though the comments and see the link to Elizabeth’s blog, feel free to pop over :). My dad would love that new connections and friends were being made! xoxo A
Thank you Amy. I know, as I sense in this stage if life when we our just a phone call away from our roots being pulled up at any moment, that your journey has braced me a bit. Thank you for walking it publicly so that it may pave the way perse a bit for others of us. When that time comes, I have no doubt I will be revisiting your blog for friendly consolation.
Thank you Amy. Just had lunch with a friend&we had similar conversation
Love&peace&hugs at this time X
Tanya Marlow says
This was so beautiful, and sad. I love the compassion in here, the idea of compassion for a grieving self. I’m witnessing with you, dear friend. I’m remembering that last year I read about that game with your Dad, and we chatted, and you were distracted because your team lost. I remember somewhere in the middle of all this we chatted, and it was all surreal. I remember you gave an amazing tribute at the funeral, and I discovered you were a secret Maths-lover, and that connected you with your Dad.
I did not know your Dad, but I did have the privilege of knowing 2014-Amy, and so I am witnessing and grieving with you the many losses – the tremendous loss of your Dad, primarily, but secondarily the loss of this-time-last-year Amy, who had a Dad and did not know what was coming.
Love you lots.
DeeDee Landes says
Love this!!! Can’t hold back the tears!!! He was a special man!