31 August 2008

One year ago...

I made the biggest mistake I can remember making.

My father was dying. We knew this. Over the last few days he had nearly stopped eating. The lung cancer that had metastasized and taken up residence in his bones was winning. We knew it would, he knew it would - but we thought he had a few months to live. They told us at the end of July that he had two to nine months to live.

The 31st was a Friday. Wednesday of that week my mother had called and said she thought he wasn't going to be with us much longer. I called the girls in Vegas right after that phone call and told them they needed to get to Indiana if they wanted to see their grandfather before he died. Nova had been there in July. Aluna had taken a new job that summer and did not feel that she could take time off. When I told her she needed to get to Indiana now, she went to her new boss and got the time off and made plans to fly herself, Nova and Tay out the following Tuesday.

What was my mistake you ask? The mistake I made was putting my job and my normal life ahead of my father and my family. In all honesty, none of us expected him to pass that day. So I went to work in the morning with plans to leave around noon.

It's a 10-hour drive from Winona to my parent's home in Linton Indiana. If I had piled everyone in the car and left early in the day we would have made it in time.

Instead, leaving at noon meant that we were somewhere between Bloomington/Normal and Danville, Illinois when my brother called to tell us that my father had passed away. They told me that he knew - as much as one can know in the final hours of life - that we were coming, but he just could not wait for us to be there. He died at 8:45pm.

I wasn't there. Forever I will know that my decision to work those 4 or 5 hours meant that I was racing down a highway in a futile attempt to be there when my father died.

I hate it sometimes, that my family is so spread out over the country. I know something like this will happen again.

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