If you really know me, then you know my life was forever altered on October 6, 2010, at 3:07 am.
At this moment, my father’s heart stopped beating. The Hospice nurse took a long listen to his 71 year old chest, artificially heaving up and down because of a ventilator, and two words created an image forever emblazoned in my memory. “I’m sorry.” she said.
If you really know me, you know that since the minute of my father’s death, I have been trying to live the type of life that he would be living if he were still here with us.
If you really know me, then you know that every minute of every day…I love this challenge.
If you don’t really know me, then I like the fact you know these things about me now.
Strange thing happened when my father died. I realized that even though I had been married for almost 17 years, had 4 children, a dog, and a lovely home, It was time for me to grow up- for real and forever. No longer did I have the excuse before I said or did something that may not be very nice or very appropriate… “Well I can do that, cause at least Dad will still think I’m great. I’ll be forgiven.” You see, it was OK for me to not be perfect, because in so many ways, and in my eyes… he was.
There would be no more calls to tell him that one of his grandchildren just got a hit in baseball, or just struck out, or just lost her 10th tooth, or just bought her first two piece bathing suit. You see, it didn’t matter what I called for, I always got a response like “That’s DYNAMITE!” or ” God bless him!” It was like being linked into a source of perpetual positivity. No longer would I receive that immediate gratification, that feeling that somehow because my child lost a tooth through the totally natural process of growing, I had done something great! It was all because of me that tooth fell out! YEAH!! From that day on, I needed to start to live my life the way that he lived his, think the way he would have thought in situations that I needed his input or just needed to hear his voice.
My father would not leave his grandchildren, (be it for a day, week, month) without saying “Pop loves you.” He always signed his cards love, Pop with a freeform cross drawn next to his name. About 2 minutes after he died, I decided to have bracelets made for our family members, so that we would think of him every day, before every decision. He would be with us in our happiness, and share in our sorrow because we wore him on our wrists. Thus, the “What Would Pop Do (WWPD)” bracelet was created.
A great thing this bracelet has turned out to be. For me at least. I don’t really care who wears their bracelet. I just know that I love mine. I love the fact that I can wear with pride this black rubber wrist band whether I am dressed for Christmas Eve, or dressed for a baseball game. I love the fact that sometimes people will ask what it means, and I can tell them about a wonderful man…it seems to brighten people’s days when I tell them about it. It seems to give a little hope every time I tell the story. It always brings a smile, because that is how I want it to be. I love the fact that even if I forget to put it on in the rush of the morning, I still find myself looking down at my wrist at times…the times during the day that I just need to ask…”Dad, what should I do?”
And I find my answer, maybe not right away, but it always comes to me.