8 years ago today, my Dad, Jim Heaney, left this physical world to journey beyond. I miss him. Two weeks before he died he spent a week looking after his three grandchildren, with my Mom, while my husband and I SoulStrolled in Paris. He loved them dearly and I wish he’d been able to have more time with them. He loved reading books, playing pretend, kicking around the soccer ball, lounging on the hammock, and even swimming in the sea. He was a good man.
On the afternoon before he passed we chatted on the phone (a rather rare occasion as he wasn’t really a ‘phone’ talker). He was in good spirits and was wanting to make sure I was keeping ‘his’ grandchildren safe from injury – I’d recently purchased a trampoline and at that moment it was being set up in our backyard (this from my Dad who had seen me back and front flip on the trampoline that my Grandmother has given us when my brother and I were young).
He and my Mom were heading out that evening to attend a party at one of his favorite spots: The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. He loved to socialize there with his pals: laughing, chatting, eating and sipping scotch.
It wasn’t surprising that he died from a cardiac arrest – he’d survived 2 open heart surgeries and had lived longer than expected. We all just figured we’d have more time. He’d beat the odds already, so maybe there was more life ahead?
It’s taken me 8 years to compose this now current ‘poem’ from my memories of that day and the celebration of his life that followed on March 11, 2007. Grief takes its own time. Honor yours, giving yourself time and love, as you navigate your own journey.
Blessings and Peace,
“Until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”
February 23, 2007
You came like a thief in the night,
sucking the very breath out of me.
An agonized moan and screaming,
‘No,’ as I received the call
that my Dad had died.
against the cold brick wall,
outside the restaurant in downtown Seattle.
We were on a date,
my husband and I.
My cell phone turned off during, ‘Amazing Grace.’
A film he would have loved.
The final scene reminding me of him –
kilt-adorned Scottish bagpipers.
Grief barged her way across my threshold.
A blank memory of driving home,
a black dark night.
Morning opening as she does,
a somber leading
of three children to our bed.
Breaking the news to them.
Holding them in the
sobbing and aching.
A deep engulfing sadness,
not wanting to believe that his life,
in this form, was gone.
The days moving forward,
time continuing its journey.
No comfort from the words,
‘It will get better with time.’
I didn’t know it was going to be like that,
when grief knocks you flat.
The planning of the celebration of life,
the penning to paper of his obituary,
the absurdity of it.
How do you fit a man’s life
into a newspaper report?
Flowers and food arriving with little appeal.
My mom withering away
under the sheer weight of loss,
wanting to be gone herself.
We stood together
on that cold, rainy, wet, March day,
weeping our tearful goodbyes.
On a boat,
on the water,
where he loved to spend his days.
The bagpiper playing Amazing Grace,
as we scattered his ashes
into the bay.
Standing side by side,
swaying on the waves.
‘Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.’
you came like a thief in the night,
barging across the threshold.