After he died, we stayed with his body, in their bedroom, in the house they have been in for 50 years. For hours. In and out. Crying, laughing. Staying busy, being idle.
He had on a favorite grey Notre Dame t-shirt, cut apart in the back so it could easily slip across his arms and chest. A feeling of normalcy, of cozy, of himself, rather than a hospital gown, provided by hospice, worn by others.
I thought at the last minute, while the funeral director was there with the gurney, “Oh, Dad needs to put some shorts on.” We had tried to keep him comfortable and just had a blanket draped over his legs for the last several days. We grabbed a pair of well-worn navy blue mesh shorts and slid them up his thinned and bruised legs. Off he went.
It was only yesterday, now nearly 3 years since that day, that my mom quietly reminded us, “Dad wanted to be buried, to be cremated in that suit he wore to your wedding. With the Kelly-green tie. We didn’t do that. We had a few other things going on.” She half-sighed.
So, wherever you are, Dad, transcending on and on into the air and the dust and the water droplets that have broken our years-long drought, beyond the limits of the atmosphere and into the universe, going back to the star from which you came, we’re holding onto that tie for you.