Sometime during the first overtime.
Reality walloped me.
Right in the back of the skull. Like an accelerating two by four.
Like a battering ram. Reality came crashing through the walls of my defenses.
We got home around … hell, I don’t remember … 10:30? It was the third period of the hockey game. That’s all I know.
Sharks and Preds. Game four. Round two.
That’s how I tell time during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I’m not joking. The world sorta stops for a few hours almost every single night for two months. A playoff game is on!
And it’s thanks to Dad that I watch with such fanatical fervor.
Like a kid. Still. Almost 58 years old.
That’s a topic for another time. More later.
But this week… and more particularly on this night… things are different.
I sat on the right edge of the bed. My side. TV on. Hockey game on. Kathy sawing logs behind me.
I’d taken my contacts out, so I was pretty much blind. Didn’t bother finding my glasses. I sat there and stared at my smartphone.
I looked at some Facebook notifications, posts and comments that Facebook decides are important to me. I saw Doug’s post about Dad’s funeral arrangements. Then Stephanie’s post.
I shared Stephanie’s post on my Facebook page. Then I decided to share the actual obituary.
Earlier in the evening, before we left Mom and Dad’s house, I made the last-minute decision to cancel my appointments this morning.
It was too late to call anyone. I have a rule not to call a client after 9 PM. I sent texts and emails to cover all the bases.
One client acknowledged me immediately via text and asked for details about Dad’s services. I wanted to share a link to the obit.
The obit on the funeral home’s mobile website didn’t appear to be shareable. Before I shared it with my client, I tested it out to see what page opened when I typed the address into my browser.
It took me to a generic page for Simkins Funeral Home.
“Well, that’s no good. I want to give him information, not send him on a wild goose chase. He’s being very kind.”
I wanted whatever I sent to be complete information… didn’t want to make him work to answer his own question.
There was a link to the full website. That’s what I was looking for. Clicked on the obits. Clicked on Dad’s name.
There was his obit. With that great picture.
Was the link shareable? That was the most important part of this experiment.
I tested it.
Yes. That link took me directly to Dad’s complete obituary.
I sent the link to my client.
Countless numbers of people have replied to Facebook posts and have sent me personal messages.
I haven’t seen most of them. We’ve been too busy with funeral arrangements, the cemetery, funeral Mass prep, fighting traffic…
As I sat on the edge of the bed, TV no more than four feet away (all I can see are shadows without glasses or contacts), I read some of the messages.
All of the emotions of the words written by friends and family welled up inside of me as I read and responded.
But none of the words hit me harder than gazing at that picture of Dad’s smiling face.
I’ll never see your smiling face again.
I’ll never hear another smart-ass wisecrack.
Doesn’t it look like he’s got one on his lips?
One look at that picture and tears flooded my eyes. I sobbed hysterically. And I pretty much haven’t stopped since.
I’ll never hear him tell me “Love you, Dave” again.
I’ll never hear his voice. I’ll never hear his laugh.
I’ll never kiss his puckered lips again.
Yes, we kissed each other on the lips.
Men, if you don’t kiss your Dad, start. Look directly into his eyes. Tell him you love him. While looking directly into his eyes.
And give him a kiss. Doesn’t have to be on the lips. But if you kiss your Mom on the lips, find a way to start kissing your Dad on the lips. Or on the cheek. Make it tender. Make it loving. Make it heartfelt.
I’ll never get to do it again.