There are events that have occurred in relation to my Dad's death that I haven't had a chance to record yet. Yesterday was the memorial service, though, and I have to admit that my emotions are a bit raw right now. But I have to get these down before they fade from my memory. They are tender moments that tear at my heartstrings, so I will not cover them in-depth. I just need to know that they are "somewhere" so that when I am ready, I can remember them.
1. The memorial service was so beautiful. We walked into the church behind a bagpipe player. (Dad told me once that he thought bagpipes would be nice at his funeral.) The song was "Amazing Grace" and it was lovely. The pastor did a wonderful job summing up who Dad was, if it's possible to do that in a few minutes. And then the eulogies followed. I can not express how healing it was to hear that my Dad had touched so many people. Practically everyone who attended the service really knew him, and though I always knew my Dad was a special man, I did not fully understand the scope of that. He was well loved by so many people. And he loved them in return. I have been blessed to have him as my father in this life. I pray that this relationship will continue. I love you Dad!
2. I was released from the hospital on December 16th at about 10:30am. We left in a rush (but had to wait for two elevators that took about 10 minutes each!) because Dad's breathing had changed and the Koebacher (sp?) House told everyone to come as soon as possible. It wasn't looking good. We were rushed and I was so afraid I wouldn't make it in time. But I did. And his breathing had changed. It was uneven, though thankfully no longer wet sounding. He wasn't responsive. I sat beside him and held his hand for what seemed like 5 minutes, but turned out to be two hours. Finally, I leaned back in my chair to look into his eyes. They were just barely open. And suddenly, his eyes changed. He didn't blink, but they seemed to come into focus. He was watching me. And I was watching him. And then he took a short breath followed by a long pause...and another short breath. It was time. But he was still watching me. So ever so slightly, I nodded my head. And he took his last breath. We were able to say "good-bye" after all.
3. My last real conversation with my Dad where his responses were audible. He was at OSU and I was still at Riverside. At this point, we were not aware that his earthly life was all too short. My phone rings...
Dad's Nurse: Oh! Hi!
Nurse: Sorry, I didn't expect you to answer so soon. Is this Abby?
Me: um, yes.
Nurse: Great! I am Mr. Legge's (pronounced Leggy) nurse. He wanted me to call you. Hold on.
she hands him the phone.
Me: Hi Dad!
Me: yeah Dad. Can you hear me?
Dad: Yeah. Look, I have to go.
Me: (confused) ok. Love you.
Dad: Just wanted to say good-night. Love you too. I gotta go. (he hangs up)
For a day or so I am simply confused by this strange conversation. Then, while I'm sitting by his bed and holding his hand it hits me. His last audible words to me were, "I love you too. I gotta go."