Five questions I ask myself every night since my father’s sudden death

“Life is for living. Death is for the dead. Let’s make life like music. And death is an unspoken note.” ~ Langston Hughes

Nine years ago, when I was inadvertently sitting in a cubicle in my office in Omaha, Nebraska, a receptionist informed me that my dad was in the lobby.

I went out to greet him. He was happy, smiling and wearing his favorite double-breasted suit. He was there because some tax preparation forms needed my signature before he handed them over to the accountant. My dad always took care of such things.

It was midnight on Friday, February. We talked briefly about having lunch, but in the end we decided not to do so due to time constraints. Anyway, we will meet each other on the weekends. After all, we were planning a trip.

A week ago, my dad said he wanted to take me to Las Vegas on his 30th birthday. I have never been to Vegas. There were discussions, hotel rooms to book, and concert tickets to buy.

I signed my tax return, thanked my dad, and returned to my cubicle. I don’t remember anything else on this day. In fact, it was the same as the other days. It was normal. Humdrum, you might say.

But the next day …

The next day, it was forever burned into my hippocampal path, with tattoos in my heart in every detail.

the next day…

That is the day my father died.

I remember the morning call from my sister.

9:38 am

I remember running towards my car. Half a block up Howard Street and then another 12 blocks I remember the whiplash and the stinging cold. The saplings lined up in the downtown streets, their branches are fragile and bare, and I remember scratching the ether like an old lady’s finger.

I remember it was a 17 minute drive to the hospital.

I remember hospitals, stairs, front desks, waiting rooms, faces, hugs, tears, complete and complete shocks.

I remember I didn’t have a mom.

I called 3 times. Where is she Why doesn’t she answer? Who is going to tell her?

Our lives seem to be defined by such days and even moments. The most fun or most intolerable tragedy.

I want to meet my dad.

I miss his tremendously big heart, it was said that we killed him.

I miss his cologne scent, a kind of woody and leathery blend in a classic green bottle. I miss his laugh. It can range from barely recognizable laughter to hilarious high-pitched guffs. I miss seeing him wearing my clothes, shirts, shoes, jeans, etc. that I wanted to throw away because they were obviously out of date.

I miss things that I didn’t think I missed, the habits, mites, and peccadiro that made me crazy. For example, how he crushes ice cubes or smokes hard candies in a quiet movie theater.

It’s too difficult to write tomorrow, so maybe I decided to write today instead of tomorrow. Or if you choose to write this 9 years later instead of 10 years, as 10 years is one of the nice round numbers to use for celebrations such as milestone birthdays and anniversaries. Or maybe 10 years is 10 years, and 10 years without a father seems too strange to understand.

When I think of the last time I talked to my dad, I can’t help but also have to think of Benjamin Franklin’s quote, that is, nothing certain except death and taxes.

But only one of them has some predictability.

Studies show that our brains are wired to prevent us from thinking about our own death. Our brain protects us from the idea of ​​the existence of death and sees it as something that happens to others but not to ourselves.

So most of us rarely even think about the unfortunate truth that we die, probably because of biological wiring, and we don’t know when and how we die.

Meanwhile, some of our greatest ancient philosophers have actually practiced pondering the non-permanence of life. Remember that you have to die.

“You can now leave your life,” Marcus Aurelius wrote in him. meditation. “Let it decide what you do, what you say and what you think.”

Personally, I don’t really think about the end of myself.

However, there is a reason why I decided to pack up my luggage and move to a new city six years ago.

There’s a reason I decided to pivot my career five years ago.

There is a reason why I quit my main business at the age of 40 and decided to start working on my own two years ago.

Nine years ago, death had a lot of impact on me. I had an intolerable tragic day that seemed to define our lives.

And now I ask myself every night before going to bed.

Were you a decent person today?

Did you challenge yourself today?

Was today fun?

What are you grateful for today?

If I were on the bed of death, would I regret it?

By asking myself these things, I can lead a more fulfilling life. It’s a life that I want to live. And I’m proud of what I’m doing here right now. I hope, at least I hope, but so does my dad.

But I haven’t been to Las Vegas yet.

Back to top button