The time traveler's daughter
"What's on your mind," Facebook asks me? Perhaps ask instead what is in my heart. Not that there's room for everything--it's quite full. For example:
I have lost count of the number of people who have told me, "Your dad took care of ___________ and I am so grateful." This is often followed by something like "He was the only doctor mom liked" or "He saved my life." I will never tire of hearing these stories.
I think Dad knows more about physics than the rest of us. Or he's a time traveler. It's the only explanation for how much he has accomplished--how many concerts he's sung and causes he's volunteered for and lessons he's taught and countries he's visited and patients he's treated and miles he's biked. People keep coming in and telling stories about how Dad helped them with some cause or project or charity, and since I know for a fact that the man sleeps at night, the only explanation is an ability to manipulate the space-time continuum (why he hasn't shared this ability with the rest of the human race remains a mystery, but hey: We're all selfish about something).
My Mom and Dad have got to be the most humble, modest people on the planet. They continue to be amazed at the outpouring of emotion, the waves of visitors, the influx of touching cards, emails, and notes--almost as if they can't figure out what they've done to deserve it. While Carl, Auntie Barb, and I just blink and say things like, "Well...duh." (Eloquent, aren't we?)
My emotions follow this strange sine wave. Usually I'm okay--especially because I made a pact with myself that I would cry whenever I needed to--but then, especially during quiet times, I catch myself getting almost panicky. I want to turn to him, wild-eyed, and beg, "Don't leave me, Dad! Please. YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME." As if all it took was my asking. As if it were in his power to stay. I look at the clock and rage at its hands' emotionless, relentless march around its face, each tick bringing me closer to the moment I have to let him go. Freeze, dammit. I'm not ready.
We are juxtaposing reminiscing with making new memories, and I love it. I can't believe the priceless treasure these days together have brought us. I think I've told my various family members I love them more times per day than ever before. And despite the fact that I know they know, I will never stop telling them. Because it will never stop being true.