It has been almost three years since my Dad has passed away. So many times I’ve thought about writing about his life, his final days, and my grief. However, I’ve just not been able to do it. The more time that passes, the harder it is to accept he’s gone. The shock has worn off and the longer I go without seeing or speaking to him, the more real it becomes.
I’ve been working from home for almost a year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. As I sat on my bed with my laptop I realized how chilly I was. I sat for a minute longer while I thought about which of my many sweatshirts I could quickly grab from the nearby closet. I decided to grab one of Dad’s old Champion sweatshirts. I have worn them maybe twice in 3 years.
I put on the oversized crewneck sweatshirt and got thinking about my Dad and how his response to “What do you want?” for Father’s Day, Christmas, and his Birthday, was always, “A nice thick crew neck sweatshirt. Just a plain one without any writing.” My Sister and I would always roll our eyes and tease him about that being his response for everything. We tried many times to buy him nice dress shirts or sweaters, but there they sat. Many of them still brand new in his bedroom when we went through his things the day after he passed.
Since he was on my mind, I snapped a picture of the Champion logo on the sleeve of the sweatshirt with the intention of making an Instagram post about Dad liking Champion before it was cool. Then, in a wave, it hit me. It was February 22. What day did Dad go into the hospital? I think February 21, 2018.
I quickly text my Sister, “Do you remember what day Dad went to the hospital?!” It was just so odd to me that I was so compelled to wear a sweatshirt I’ve barely touched in 3 years. I was really content in thinking about him, and when I realized the date it was such an unexplainable feeling. She responded, “Not sure. Shortly after Valentine’s Day.” Her text was quickly followed by, “I just head ‘Five More Minutes on the Radio’ while waiting in the pickup line at school.” That song played every single trip to and from the hospital for a month. It was brand new at the time so in rotation a lot. Hearing it for us is very emotional and over the last 3 years, we have heard it less and less on the radio simply due to the fact it was no longer a brand new #1 song. It was crazy to think at the same moment I grabbed Dad’s sweatshirt, something I never do, and was thinking about him, that my Sister was hearing this song and thinking about him as well.
Through an old email chain, I confirmed that it was definitely February 21 when Dad went to the hospital. More on that in another post if I can ever make myself write about it. Maybe this story isn’t as “weird” as it would be if these things had happened the day before. But if Dad was trying to give us a nudge as a reminder, he was only off by a day. Close enough….he never was good with dates. I believe those of us who have passed on are always with us. We just have to be open to accepting it.