I've come to this site many times in the last month wishing I had an update - wanting nothing more than to share another triumph or heart ache in my father's battle with cancer. Often wondering to myself, as I go about the day, is it possible he really is gone and when will he be back?
I've spoken very little about his death in the last month. I think mostly because I couldn't believe it was real myself and when I had those moments of reality, I could hardly speak, let alone share anything that would mask the pain and sorrow I felt.
Initially, the days were busy and the nights exhausting but as things began to calm down and those days have become weeks, I've started to adjust to the new normal. The tears, still wetting my pillow at night, have reminded me of my silent longings for his return.
I've been so fortunate to read so many stories about my dad's life. From the out right hilarious to the inspiring, they have made the road I am traveling easier to move along. I cherish each and every one because they are his story. The story of the greatest man I've ever known. And while this chapter has ended, parts of him live on with each and every one of us who have been privileged to know him.
As we closed a chapter in his story today, I thought it would be fitting to write an epilogue of this journey.
I took a drive into town this morning before the service to check on the various places we were going to spread your ashes. It was a beautiful morning! When I pulled into Morrison Park, I could see you edging the grass and working on the playground equipment. No one was around so I sat there for a few minutes and just watched the river quickly move by. I started thinking about all the times we had at the park from Splash festivals to my 16th birthday party at the Log Cabin. From there, I drove up to the high school oak tree and of course, there it was. It was still pretty foggy so you couldn't see much higher than the tree but it looked very stately today. Almost like it stood a little taller, a little more proud. I think the tree knew that soon, you'd become a part of it's foundation. Then I drove over to Pioneer Park and my mind was flooded with so many baseball memories! AHS, The Clubbers, Indian Tournaments, Parks & Rec events... Again, I could see you there mowing, coaching, playing, umping and always smiling.
I think you're going to like being in so many places at once! As we spread your ashes today, I couldn't help but think about the influence you've had on so many people and just how far reaching that has been. Seeing you become a permanent part of much that you've been passionate about your whole life has been a gift for all of us today.
Reality came to a head though when we got to the cemetery for your burial service. I realized that I'm not ready to have you gone from my life. I struggled through most of the ceremony with feelings of sadness, anger and disbelief and then I think Grandma came to my rescue. She helped me feel a sense of comfort and restored a bit of my hope.
After the service, I stood at the top of the hill where your ashes were laid to rest and looked out on a bright, sunny day. I am glad I shared today with you, thanks for sending the sunshine. I wish someone would ask me what I want to be when I grow up because I finally have the answer: I want to be like Ken Waite.
Thanks for choosing me. I love you...