I stayed in Dad’s room Monday night knowing I was not willing to leave him again. I was with him when he stopped breathing, when his heart stopped beating. Everything since then has been surreal.
For two and a half years he has dealt with lung cancer or bladder cancer. He has had a continual string of appointments, scans, surgeries and procedures in Oskaloosa, Des Moines and Rochester. I have constantly planned for my visits to him or where I needed to take him; what I needed to get for him, take to him, do for him. I talked to him daily and tried to make our time together not only about medical stuff but enjoyable stuff: news, pictures, friends, walks, playing cards, funny videos, anything other than the ever looming doctor shit.
But now all of that has disintegrated. It’s as if I was running as fast as I could with an ominous black sky chasing me, closing in for years. It has caught me, consumed me. I’m floating in darkness. There is nothing under my feet. There is nothing onto which to hold, nothing upon which to stand.
At times in my life, especially dark ones, there are songs that replay in my head. The one that has been playing since Dad stopping breathing on Tuesday is “The Sounds of Silence” by Disturbed. It feels powerful and haunting and fitting. All of the noise in my head, all of the “what next”, all of the scrambling and planning and packing and unpacking and repacking and back and forth has evaporated. My father’s voice, my father’s breath, is gone. The silence is deafening.