Sunday, November 17, 2013

My dad died early in the morning on September 30. A few hours later, we went on a walk down Old Falls Road as the sun came up. It was the only thing that felt right to do. Walks down that old street will always be his.

Later that day, Jessica ran into a neighbor on the street. He had noticed the hearse arriving so very early. Why was he awake and aware of things going on outside? His own wife had died of cancer a decade ago, maybe more. His twin daughters lived together in an apartment in a neighboring town, one of whom, it turns out, also has some sort of illness. How little we neighbors have shared of our lives. This neighbor is a thoughtful man, probably a little lonely, who goes on walks himself and will trap you in conversation if you aren't careful.

"I am sorry about your father," he started out. "You know, I always loved seeing you girls coming over and talking your father our for walks. It was such a beautiful thing."

"Thank you," Jessie replied.

"No more walks." He said sadly.

"No more walks," she repeated.

And with the first month of surreality and recovery from the exhaustion accompanying both caring for someone with my dad's condition and attending death, and then the handling the services, we are left with facing our feelings again, which is the harder part. I have wanted to try to pour them out onto the page, but when it comes down to it that small conversation of which I was not even a part sums it all up better than I could attempt with more words.

No more walks.