It’s NYE morning, my husband is making me waffles, and Toby is playing with his Christmas toys. Only 6 days left in the Christmas season.
Maybe next year we’ll return to hosting a party or going out to one. Instead, as much as I want to say good riddance to the dumpster fire of 2016, I’m also keenly aware that it’s saying goodbye to the last year where Dad laughed and talked with us. I want to say goodbye to the year where he died of a sudden heart attack, but that’s also saying goodbye to the year where he gave me his last hug.
I woke up early for that final hug. Opening Day had been pushed back due to weather so we’d gone out for a meal instead of to the game. I had no vacation days and Jarrod had traded enough on his boss’s kindness by that point so we weren’t staying for the new Opening Day.
Dad was fine with it and assured us there would be other Opening Days, he was just happy we had come. He was going to go to the office early to get some work done before he went to the game. Our tickets wouldn’t go to waste — he had friends.
I asked the night before how early was early. He told me and I said I’d get up to say goodbye. He said he’d understand if I slept through it, that was an early time for me.
I set my alarm and dragged myself out of bed and downstairs where he was in his suit, without the jacket, eating breakfast.
He seemed genuinely surprised and happy I’d gotten up to say goodbye. We hugged before he went to work and that was my last dad hug.
I didn’t know then that it was special. I just knew it was a chance to share a good hug before my dad and I went back to being 6+ hours apart from each other. I didn’t know he would die about a month later.
I don’t know how to close the book on 2016 because that means closing the book on that last hug, the last time Dad held my nephew/his grandson, the last time Dad told me he was proud of me for standing up for others and what he considered bravery (what others considered stubbornness or an inability to just be quiet).
I know it’s just time and time rolls on, regardless of what we label the day or the year.
I still don’t know how to say goodbye to the horrible year with so many good last times.