Nathaniel Hartshorne, Making Plans to Remember Him

Nathaniel HartshorneDad died on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. It’s done. The long-awaited end, which we like to think of as the perfect end. Surrounded by family, not in pain, awaiting his death and departing the brief life of an invalid. He wasn’t going to let that last long. He told us on Sunday that he’d die next week. “I’m ready, he said, in a quiet voice.  “I just wish I could take you with me,” he said to Vally.

It’s been a peaceful couple of days, weirdly, this week I had two chemotherapy appointments for lymphoma, the disease that killed Dad.  I have a different type, but it’s still eerie and makes me uncomfortable. I try to steer away from thinking anything except rosy thoughts about my own cancer, while I watched it take Dad down.

So now it’s a plan for a big celebration of his life, far forward to July.  It was pretty rough picking the date, with everyone’s travel schedules and the relentless back and forth of a million text messages. Such is the stuff of so many busy people, anyway, we found a venue and we’ve set up a service.

I am not able to really absorb and think about what it means to have him gone. He was there for my 59 years, and he’s always been a person I can talk to, did talk to, and felt close to every time I saw him. I never felt out of touch with him, despite the fact that I was the only sibling who didn’t live in the village.

My favorite memories of Dad were during the 20 plus years we spent the weekend together in Williamstown, the place where throughout my adult life I returned to with him. And we did the exact same thing every time we went, year after year. Always an October weekend, and always during football season.  I own those memories and treasure them.

My daily calls to Nat and Val over the past year have made me feel good, and I think made them feel good too. I knew a lot about what they were going through, and I kept track of how everything progressed.  I am very glad we had so much contact.  I’m not really ready for a final goodbye, so I’ll just sign off here.