Friday was the anniversary of my father's death. I didn't realize it until yesterday, thinking erroneously that he died on March 12. For some reason I didn't sleep well Friday night. I tossed and turned. Coincidence? Probably not. Thinking about his death today reminded me of how restless I was on the right before he died. Even though it has been a number of years since he died, my memory of those events are still so strong.
I had been out of town at a meeting for the weekend. On Sunday evening, I was tired from the drive back and the time spent at the meeting. I knew that he had been operated on for prostate cancer. But that seemed to be in remission following the operation. I thought that he seemed in relatively good health, although he did suffer from COPD after years of smoking a pipe.
As I was lying in bed, I had a restlessness that persisted. I was thinking of my father and had this urge to go to see him. My wife said that it wasn’t necessary and tried to discourage me from going, saying that I could see him tomorrow. But I couldn't shake the feeling that I needed to go see him right then. So I put on my clothes and called my parents and went over to see them.
I talked with my father that evening, and he told me that he wasn’t feeling too bad, a bit nauseous and aching some. He talked about his mother whose picture was up on the wall. She had died in her sleep, and he said that he would like to go like that as well--quickly and without any illness. He seemed okay, but there was still this feeling of dread that I had. I couldn't understand why he was talking about the death of his mother. As he sat in the old rocking chair, talking to me, he seemed sad.
Eventually, he told me to go home and get some sleep. He also told me to be good to my wife and treat her well. Those were his parting words. That was the last time that I saw him alive. I received a call at work the next morning from my mother saying that he had taken a nap after breakfast and died in his sleep. It was a devastating time for me. And the feeling kept coming back that I was somehow meant to be there the night before--that it was not a coincidence. I also had a feeling that he perhaps knew that death was imminent.