It has been eight years since my father died. Sometimes it seems like forever, sometimes I still just can’t believe it. His death, while expected, was a surprise. I had actually spent the day speaking with the palliative care team to arrange hospice care at home. There are lots of things I remember about that day, and just as many I wish I could forget.
The following days were difficult, but not as difficult as they could have been. Because he died so suddenly, we hadn’t planned our transportation around it, as we would have being practical people. My mother, brother and I all had to drive home separately, grieving and stunned, in the dark winding roads of rural NH, in January. I remember calling one of my dearest friends, and giving her the terrible burden, and responsibility, of distracting me for the hour drive home. She somehow was able to keep my mind both occupied and on the road with her light banter, while being the right amount of sympathetic and empathetic.
Thinking back on it tonight, I remember the grief, and the loss, but I also remember the support and love we were shown.
I remember my aunt Laura calling me and telling me she thought I should come home from Turkey earlier than planned. I remembered when my Uncle Patrick and cousin Tess visited my father in the hospital, making time while she was home from college on break, thinking it might be their last visit. They were right.
I remember how my husband got on a plane the next day to be with me, and how my in-laws offered to fly to the US for the funeral. I remember my friend going into my closet in Turkey to pack clothes for Bulent to bring with him for me. I remember how another friend tried to get treats delivered but was thwarted by the remoteness of our home, and instead mailed a whole crate of wine. I remember my brother’s college friend who brought us food in the hospital, and went to pick up Bulent from the airport in Boston at midnight. I remember friends driving hours to the service even though they had to turn around and drive hours back that night. I remember how our community rallied around us, prepared and brought all the food for the reception after the funeral, and cleaned up everything after. I remember all the cards, and notes, and emails. I remember the meals dropped off by friends, and the lingering hugs.
I remember the sadness, but I also remember the love that surrounded us.