Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

RIP, Thomas Tillman Moore, Jr., TSGT, USAFR
January 18, 1923 - August 7, 2006
Veteran of World War II (Pacific) and the Korean Conflict

One Sunday night around 8 p.m. a little over two years ago, our phone rang. I picked up, even though I was literally heading out the door at the time to do the grocery shopping. It was my sister Anne calling to tell me that my dad had a stroke, or so they believed at the time. (Later we learned it was a bleeder on the brain caused by a fall when Daddy had one of the seizures that were becoming more and more common.) He had been taken to the hospital and things didn't look so good. This was the phone call I'd been dreading since my Pappaw's death when I was five.

When I started the van, the radio was on, and the song in the video here had just started playing. I broke down. Then and there, I knew my dad's final illness had begun and he wouldn't be with us much longer. That song was my sign.

I cried my way through the grocery store and home. By bedtime, I knew Daddy had gone into surgery, and at some point in the night, perhaps aware that I wasn't sleeping, my sister Susie called to let me know that he had survived the surgery. So far, so good. For a while, he seemed to make real progress; however, a couple of weeks later, a second surgery was required, and he never quite came back after that one.

It was my prayer at the time that he'd survive past Memorial Day weekend so that I could see him one more time. We'd all been planning to come home then to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday, which was the first week of June. Together with my sisters, Daddy had put together a family celebration. We all came home, and we celebrated Mom's birthday, but it was a bittersweet celebration. We spent most of our time waiting outside the ICU to squeeze in one more visit.

When I saw Daddy in the ICU, it only confirmed my feeling that it would not be long. Mom thought he would survive and eventually leave the hospital. I tried to stay optimistic for her sake, but in my heart, I knew. I believe he knew, too, though he fought hard because she wasn't ready yet. Over the summer, he had his ups and down, but by August, the months he spent bedridden had taken their toll and he succumbed to a hospital infection.

I love country music because it tells the stories of real life, and in that sense, it has become the soundtrack of my life. Hearing this song always takes me back to the moment I knew that we were losing Daddy. The message of the song, however, isn't one of sadness, but of hope that I'll see him again someday.

Until we meet again, Daddy.


Anne Hendrix said...

Thanks Edie, for that remembrance from your point of view. I miss him too....

Anonymous said...

Lovely post. Your dad must have been a great person. The last days are the hardest, yet the ones before are the sweetest. Often, as time passes, it is those earlier days that we remember most. I hope it is the case with you. ~sb

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