Yesterday marked four years since the death of my father. It wasn’t my first thought when I woke yesterday. I actually didn’t think about until I looked on the calendar and saw that it was my nieces birthday. On that day 4 years ago, my sister-in-law got her a cake and took it to her school, she turned 6. I remember thinking it had to suck for your grandfather to die on your birthday.
I remember a lot about that day and the weeks that led up to it. Driving back and forth from Charlotte to help my brother and sister-in-law get daddy to his appointments. I remember how every time I returned his condition was a little worse than before. I remember him calling me at work and telling me he had lung cancer. I remember losing it and telling my two co-workers and dear friends (Lola and Shanai ) that he was going to die. I just knew it was going to happen. It wasn’t that I didn’t have faith or believe because I did. I’d witnessed the works of God with my mother but I knew that would not be the case with daddy.
As the family gathered at his beside, I remember sitting with him as co-workers, friends and family came and went. It took a while for two of my brothers to arrive (they were working out of town). Daddy waited for them. One of my brothers had us pray for a miracle. He didn’t want to face the inevitable. As the room cleared and the last grandchild kissed his cheek, only a close family friend, an older cousin and myself remained. I finally got up to go to the restroom, gone for only five minutes and returned five minutes later. When I returned, he was leaving. I remember my cousin telling me he waited for me to leave the room so he leave. I remember him taking his last breath and using a magnet to stop his pacemaker. It wasn’t horrible like I thought it would be. It was nothing like I thought it would be. It was eerily peaceful and calm. I was grateful I was there because I’d missed that moment with my mother 8 years before.
I remember a lot about that day and the ones that followed. Then I also remember the great one-on-one times we shared like the lunch dates we had when I was home from school. I remember the requests for me to make certain dishes that my mom use to and that he always phoned me waaaaay to early in college and ask “Why aren’t you up yet?”. Most of all I remember him being dad not the only one I’ve ever known but the one I would choose again and again and again.