Before his death, I witnessed a spiritual rebirth of such a great magnitude in him that it remains a powerful example in my life to date. He began attending not only church but also Bible studies and prayer groups. He began receiving the sacrament of the Eucharist on a daily basis, with members of the church bringing Jesus to his bedside once he no longer had the strength to stand. I witnessed his spirit temper, his exterior soften and I sensed a peace that was seldom present in him before and I am truly grateful that God in His Infinite Mercy allowed him to receive the Last Rites before his last breath.
I remember fondly the two times that I was the recipient of his utterance of "I love you." The first occurred on my wedding day just before I took his arm for the traditional walk down the aisle. The second was after the birth of my first child and his first grandchild. His dark eyes were soft, gentle, sincere, void of the melancholy.
I cherish these memories.
Curiously, during his illness, an eighteen month ordeal battling lung and brain cancer, I found that I withdrew, ever distancing myself from him. I was fearful that he might choose to open up to me in his final days and, now that I faced losing him, I preferred that our relationship remain as it had always been. The emotional intimacy that I had been seeking from him for the last twenty eight years now appeared foreboding.
Today, as I behold this reminiscent sky, the floodgates open and his memory rushes over me. I ponder all that he was to me and I feel. I find that my eyes are moist with tears of loss and sadness. These tears are appropriate for I realize that, although I did not know him entirely, I knew this man well enough to love him.
Today, I miss my father.