Monday, December 29, 2008

A loss


My father passed away on Tuesday night, December 23rd. He had battled cancer for over four years, but the end was mercifully quick. Just under a month ago, he was told the cancer had spread to his lungs and we arranged for hospice care. He figured he had until the spring. But my mom and I felt it would be quicker, and it was. My mom took the picture below on December 13th. By the 19th, he was clearly in his final days. I always thought we'd have some final words together, but the last 48 hours of his life were very quiet, as he danced on the edge of consciousness.


On Tuesday, three friends of the family came over to eat dinner with me and my mom, as they had been doing for several days. As we sat at the table, eating and talking and laughing, I suddenly really needed to go upstairs and see my dad. Within the hour, he passed away, with all of us gathered around his hospital bed, holding his hands and whispering "I love you." It was a remarkably peaceful thing, the slipping of life, the turn between breath and stillness.

In a wonderful coup, two friends had arranged for my father to receive a special one-off printing of his memoir, which is still months away from publication. We got the books two weeks ago and showed him a copy on what turned out to be one of his last days of consciousness. When he realized it was an actual copy of his book, not just a mock-up, he said "I'll be goddamned."

His memoir, titled "Guts: One American Guy's Lucky, Reckless Life" will be published by Random House in May 2009. It's already available for pre-order here. (In one of the strangest assignments of my copywriting career, I got paid to write the jacket copy for my dad's memoir!) And you can read his obituary in the Boston Globe here.

My dad was a pretty extraordinary guy, quite smart and totally goofy; and though, like many dads, he could be annoying, opinionated, bossy, and stubborn, he was my dad--and I'm really going to miss him.

15 comments:

P said...

Dearest Cassie, I am so, so sorry to hear about your dad. He seemed like a wonderful man and a great spirit. Sending you a big hug from New York.

susan said...

I'm so sorry for your loss of your dad. As someone who lost her dad in the exact same fashion. I'm so glad you have those moments with him that will be with you forever.

{sweeter than me} designs said...

When you lose someone so close to you, often times people have regrets about the last thing they said, or didn't say, to the one they loved. You are so lucky to have been able to spend his last days and moments at his side. I hope now you are able to celebrate his life and remember the times you spent together, and know that one day you will be together again.

Though I've never met you in person, I feel like I know you through your work and your blog. From the bottom of my heart I want you to know that my thoughts are with you.

xoxo
Kristin

Amy said...

Your Dad seemed like an incredible person who led a very full life... I'm so sorry for your loss, and will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers!

Clementine said...

Persephone, Susan, Kristin, Amy:
Thank you ever so much for your kind words and sweet wishes. It means a lot to me!

Lisa Stone said...

What a touching post. I just wanted to tell you that you and your loved ones are in my thoughts.

Jeff Potter said...

Cassie, your dad was one of my first employers, a one-time client, a contributor to our newspaper, an example of civic life and civility, and simply one hell of a guy who always demonstrated limitless capacity for serious and funny, smart and downright goofy. (I remember the photo in the Gazette of your family dog with "I love you, Kit" shaved into its coat.)

I'm saddened by your loss and touched by your loving tribute. Susi joins me in sending our deepest sympathy to you, your mom, and the rest of your family.

Liz Castro said...

I'm just one of the thousands of people who loved your Dad's pumpkin games. I'm so sorry. We'll all miss him.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookwood/2938920187/in/set-72157608003694766/

little black forest said...

i am so so sorry. thinking so many good thoughts for you & your family.

Melissa de la Fuente said...

Oh Cassie....I am so, so sorry my friend. My heart goes out to you and I am sending you much, much love.
xoxo
Melis

flanthrower said...

Wow! I just discovered your blog after purchasing some things from your etsy shop. (I'm thrilled with both purchases have been spreading the word about your awesome jewelry.)

So sorry to hear about your loss, but what a story and what an amazing life! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

P said...

Sassy Cassie, I was just singing your praises with Melissa this weekend. Thinking of you and hoping you are doing okay. Big hug from New York, P.

Jen Padgett said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I hope you're hanging in there.

Ana said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing the story of your relationship; it must have been a very special one.

Maggie May said...

i'm sorry for your loss.