First published in Contemporary Haibun Online 18:3, December 2022. Originally written in January and April of 2014.
My dad has died. I heard at my health club, playing racquetball with my son while my daughter was at a birthday party. I stepped out of the court to check my phone. I’d just missed a call from my mother and called her immediately. She said Dad had died just a few minutes before, at about 3:50 p.m., Sunday, January 26, a day I will now remember every year. My dad was 85—there, I’ve just referred to him for the first time using the past tense. After I hung up, I told my son, and we hugged for a minute in the racquetball court, crying a bit—or at least I was. We played for another ten minutes and then drove home, where I also told my daughter. I know Thomas and Sarah understand. Tonight my wife has made baked potatoes for dinner (my favourite) and our family will be talking about dad around the dinner table. My mother had been holding my dad’s hand, singing to him, when he exhaled and didn’t inhale. The last word he’d said, a couple of days before, was simply “Goodbye.”
clouds threatening snow—
Facebook beeps again
with another condolence