Sunday, November 11, 2012
Such Is Life...
I don't think I'll ever get used to seeing my Dad's name on a headstone.
This wasn't the deal. I decided back in my teenage years that everyone in my family would be on some great road trip and we'd get in a crash and we'd all die at the same time. Anything else would be unfair.
Well, that ain't the way things happen...
Yesterday I went to a Donor Sabbath Celebration, which is basically a ceremony for the families of donors and recipients of donated organs.
For a long time prior to it starting, I thought my Dad was the only donor of color. I was happy to see a couple more trickle in, closer to start time.
I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd never heard of these kinds of things. Other people in my family were either too far away or had prior obligations, so there I was.
There were bagpipes (thank God we were inside and they were out!), a responsive reading and 3 speakers. A double lung recipient, a mother whose daughter was a donor and son was a recipient (I was bawling by the end of her story) and a transplant doctor.
The mother explained how she came home one day and her 19 year old son was in the middle of a heart attack. They rushed him to the hospital and they were able to put some device in him and during the time they were dealing with issues from the son's condition, their daughter was in a boating accident and because her death was immediate, she was unable to be an organ donor, but was able to be a tissue donor and she helped 5 people. The family filled out the necessary paperwork on the son and just FOUR days after it was turned in, he was called. A heart was found!
During this time, the son's fiance was pregnant and their son was born within the first year after the transplant. They were able to enjoy him for 3 years before he died, leaving his parents with no children and his fiance and son with no husband-to-be or father.
They honored the donors by speaking their name out loud and showing a slide presentation, showing the donors faces. When my Dad's slide came up, I could only smile.
By the time I got to the car however, all I could do was cry. I'm not sure if I want to know who received my dad's eyes. I don't know if I were able to look into them, who I would see.
I was glad that I had made plans to go to the movies with some family and friends. I needed the distraction. We went to see Flight. It was good...
Today I went out to the cemetery after church, it being Veteran's Day and all. Not thinking that he's buried in a National Cemetery and that there would be a ceremony today. When I got there it was a small scale of chaos, but I got in without incident. As I began the drive to the section, the radio show I was listening to started playing Stairway to Heaven and I almost hit the brakes where I was. I made it to the site though.
I was very windy, so I zipped my jacket and was off to the grave site. I was shocked at how many rows had been added since he was buried.
When I got to the headstone, I was appalled when I realized I didn't have a flag, flowers, nothing. Just me. (That pic is from Memorial Day) I guess seeing his name on a headstone makes it really real that he's gone. Since I didn't have any flowers, I cleaned off the headstone with some tissue I had brought. I could see grass stuck on it from when the grass had been cut. I thought, if my Dad was the one cutting grass, he would never have left that there. He would've blown the grass off the headstones, with a leaf blower. I didn't stop until it was white again. When the tears started falling, I thought I'd better go back to the car. I knew what was coming.
After these visits, I usually have uncontrollable crying fits where I take short hiccups of breath and then zone out. In hindsight, maybe I should have someone else drive...
I mean I don't drive crazy or anything. I actually drive pretty slow. The thing is, I'll get home and only remember part of the drive.
Next, one or two things happen. I get a headache or my stomach is in knots. Tonight it was the latter. Now, when the only place I want to be is safe in someone's arms, maybe still shedding tears, maybe just watching a movie and "being", of course that's just a daydream. My reality is that I'm waiting to go to dialysis, where the only thing hugging me will be my chair.
Such is life..