I don’t know when this column will be posted, or when it will be read by anyone. But today, as I write it, it’s the two-year anniversary of the day my father passed away.
What I didn’t know that day was that my mother would pass away two months later and my oldest brother a few months after that.
What I also didn’t know that day was that some things you just don’t get over. Whoever said “time heals all wounds” wasn’t ever wounded properly.
I remember many things very vividly from that day. It was a day the office was closed in honor of MLK Day. I remember that morning when I was taking a shower, my wife had switched the location of the shampoo and conditioner bottles. Yes, I had hair back then, or at least I was still hanging on to the few stragglers I had left.
I inadvertently put the conditioner in my hand first, and as a guy who has OCD, that was unacceptable. So, I had to rinse my hands and start over with the hair washing routine, doing it the way God intended, of course.
I remember making a social media post, joking that my wife’s placement of the bottles had messed up my morning routine, and if anything bad happened that day it would all be her fault. (I deleted the post as soon as something bad happened that day.)
I was up in the office gym later that morning when my brother called me. He’s not the guy who calls you in the morning to chat, so I knew something was up when I saw his name in my phone. I just didn’t know what.
When I answered the phone, he said, “I think your father is dead. Ma can’t wake him up. I’m on my way up there now.”
I remember driving home that day, wondering how I was going to tell my family. I’d told other families that kind of news before on the job, but I’d never had to tell my own family.
I remember seeing my wife in the driveway when I pulled in, taking groceries inside. I messed up and told her first, before walking inside to tell the kids. I don’t know what the correct way to do it was, but making her walk in the house like that tipped the kids off that something bad was coming.
I remember telling them. I remember my son staring, letting the news hit. I remember my daughter crying instantly. I remember my wife coming to hug me and me shooing her away, pointing her toward my daughter.
In hindsight, I think my wife needed a hug more than she needed to give a hug, but I don’t like hugs. I think my daughter needed it more than I did.
My hug-type friends make fun of me. It’s just not my thing, nor has it ever been. I don’t know if I was trying to be tough, or dumb, or what. But it’s not my proudest moment.
My father lived to his mid-70s. He died in his sleep, with plans to wake up the next morning and get his haircut. “That’s the way love goes” was playing on a CD the next time his car was cranked.
It all could have all been much worse. I’m clear on that.
There is no closure to this column. I wish I’d found a way to come back around to some nice life lesson that would leave me and the reader feeling like there was a point to this ramble. But there is no point.
This column is like life – sometimes you get no closure.
Toby Nix is a local writer, guitarist and public information officer for the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office. He is the author of two books, “Columns I Wrote” and “A Book I Wrote.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .