Most of what I want to say I've already said in this post, and I'm so glad I wrote it all out when he was still around to read it. One of the hidden blessings in knowing death is approaching is having the opportunity to leave nothing unsaid. I know he read it because he was one of this blog's most loyal readers. My sister would often snap a picture of him at the computer reading about our latest adventures.
That's the main reason I started this blog - to keep loved ones up to date on what's going on in my life. My first post was the day my parents and two youngest siblings moved to Mexico for two years. I wanted to span the distance between us somehow. And it did. I kept the blog up when they moved back to Pittsburgh and was especially glad to have it when we unexpectedly moved to Philadelphia when Leo was only three months old. I've been writing in this space for nearly 8 years, and through it all my father was the one person I knew checked it every day.
Over the last six months the kids and I have been splitting our time between Pittsburgh and Philly to maximize our time with my father and family. It hasn't been easy, but I feel very fortunate that we were able pick up and cross the state for a couple of weeks each month. The kids were troopers through it all (and so were jb, who had to miss us, and my mom, who hosted our chaos).
In the post I wrote for and about my father after his diagnosis I said that I worried about my family, but knew we were lucky to have each other - and that was the one truth and comfort I kept coming back to through it all. We were all under the same roof this past year more than we have been since before I left for college. Over the summer in Mexico, in November for about a month before my sister moved to LA, and again for the few weeks before and after my father passed. We took turns caring for my father, the children and each other. We tried to make sure everyone got a little time to escape on their own. We drank wine and reminisced and laughed. We cried and fought and asked forgiveness. We were all under a tremendous amount of stress, but we still managed to treat each other gently. Most of the time.
I feel so overwhelmingly lucky to have shared this difficult milestone surrounded by my loved ones and I'm so impressed with each of them for how they rose to the occasion when the going got tough. I'm so glad we could all be there, not only in the very end, but in the months leading up to it...and now in the aftermath as we navigate life without dad. I hope my dad felt surrounded by love in his final moments. Throughout his entire life. He was and is so very loved.