Friday, March 23, 2012

Saying goodbye

Melting daffodil
It's been pouring all day. This after a week of temperatures nearly in the 90s. (Average temps here in March are usually in the 40s.)

With all that heat, and now the water, my daffodils are shot. I have an insane number of them in my yard, because for several years running, I simply could not resist either the cheap bags of bulbs at the hardware store or the huge, mail-order "money-saving" bulb samplers. Now I literally have hundreds and hundreds of daffodils. It's an amazing sight when they're all in bloom.

But when I left a week and a half ago, the buds were barely swelling. It was cold out. I packed long-sleeved shirts. A black sweater. Lots of underwear. I really didn't know how long I'd be gone.

My dad was sick. Well, no, he was dying. That much I knew. I also knew I wanted to see him and talk to him one last time.

And he waited for me. He waited for my mom, and Robin and her family to gather around him. And then, as all of us will one day, he went somewhere else.

I'm far more scientific than religious, and so was he. But I do wonder. What has become of him? Where is he? Is he just somewhere else out in the multiverse?

The funeral was sad, but it was also nice in a way. There was crying, but also laughing. And then—when Jay played the funny little Irish funeral song he'd written for my dad—there was even applause!

It took us a couple of days to realize it but there was not one single mention of work at the funeral. This is odd because my dad had been a workaholic at times.

It wasn't intentional. We truly had forgotten to talk about the company my dad had built and often obsessed over. There just were so many other more important things to say and remember. It was as though all those worries, which had loomed so large in day to day life meant nothing in the end. What mattered was the happiness we had shared with him.

When I got back, the whole garden looked like the surface of the sun, glimmering and yellow, completely ablaze in daffodils. It was a wonderful welcome home.

But now, I've got a great sadness in my heart, and the mystery of death to ponder. Even the lovely field of daffodils has melted into a soggy mess that will take me most of the summer to deadhead.

But it's all OK. I know that. I know what we're ultimately left with and it's not the hardness of life. It's the joy.


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