One year ago
One year ago today.
I can’t believe I nearly forgot.
A year ago, today – in fact, at almost the time I’m posting this – Kerrie and I bundled up, hopped into the car, and drove to my mother’s apartment to tell her that my grandfather – her father – had died.
It was a year ago today that, after some final words, a warm nuzzle from the family dog, completely surrounded by family and prepared with two week’s worth of hospice, that Donald Wayne Boyer, a namesake and hero, passed away. He spent a year and a half surviving cancer before finally succumbing to it. He snuck off into the night alone, shouldering the dark, braving his last adventure, building his last character, teaching us one final lesson about life.
One year. Since then I’ve done numerous things that would have made my grandfather proud. I’ve done hundreds of things I’d have loved to tell him. He left a legacy, one that I attempt to follow each day, one that believed in character, hard work, love, intelligence, and continuing to fight and dream for your place in the world, no matter what.
It was a year ago today. I picked up the phone and my grandmother told me that he had died. We had just visited him for Christmas. For the last time. He had barely been lucid when we left. But he knew we were leaving. And somehow – somehow – he knew he wouldn’t see us again.
When she called, when we got up and left and delivered the bad news to my mother, just like someone had delivered the same bad news to my mother almost 20 years prior when my great grandmother Etta Johnston died, I kept thinking how surreal it was. He was our rock. He was the solid ground that the family had been built. He was the first stable thing that had appeared in generations. And now…
Now he was gone.
One year ago today, my hero turned from human to legend. One year ago today I had to realize what it was like to let go. One year ago today all I could do was stare. Was to try to feel. Try to cry.
One year ago today.