I can still picture myself sitting there, holding his hand, unwilling to allow my gaze to move from his face. I remember being utterly confused as to what had just happened, unable to comprehend what I had just witnessed. I still feel like that. I just can’t believe it.
I keep thinking about what an amazing father Dave was. He cultivated a special bond with each of our kids over a shared interest. With Parker it was cheering on the Blackhawks in their matching jerseys. With Sam, it was a shared love of reptiles and their recent purchase of Ellie, the king snake. Grant and Dave shared a similar (often highly inappropriate!) sense of humor, and Dave was introducing him to classic movies like Caddyshack, Airplane and Stripes.
Dave was very purposeful in his conversations with the kids during his final few weeks. He made sure to let them know how proud he was of them. He talked to them about how it would be tough when he was no longer here, that it would take time but they would be okay. He made them secure in his love for them.
The kids said their goodbyes to Dave at home. We had a few scares Sunday morning, and it was obvious that we were turning a final corner. Because his family and I realized that we would not be able to keep him comfortable, we decided to take him to the hospital. Before we went, the kids took turns talking to him and in his last fatherly act, Dave mustered up the strength to connect with each one of them. Parker told him she loved him and he told her he loved her too. Then he puckered up his lips so she could give him a kiss. Samantha told him she loved him and that she would talk to him later. Dave made a great effort to look at his watch and told her “okay”. He blew her a kiss as she turned to walk away. Dave saved the last bit of his energy for Grant, the one of our three kids that he worried about the most. Grant told him he loved him and Dave said, “Relax. Take it one day at a time. I love you.” He left them with all of the tools that he could to insure that they would be okay. I love how much he loved them.
I think about him when I fall asleep at night, when I wake up in the morning, and most moments in between. I just can’t believe it.