They say “The only things certain in life are death and taxes”. I am certain there are other things that are inevitable, like scrapes and bumps and bruises and broken hearts along the path of life.
After watching a movie based on the tragic day in September 2001, I was left thinking about certainties. For instance, I saw my dad in early November 1993 and when I left his house I told my husband (now my ex) “I know my dad is dying. I know the next time he goes into the hospital, he won’t come out.” I was certain that was a true statement. The following day my mother called me and told me my dad had been admitted to the hospital. I was certain when I went to see my dad at the hospital the day he was admitted that he would look very ill; that he would be a death’s door. I was certainly wrong. My dad was joking with the nurses, as if he’d known them for years. That was the kind of man he was-he never met a stranger. He seemed fine-much better than he had the evening before when I made my comment. The next day, November 16, 1993 (and I remember this because my birthday is November 16th), I visited my dad and he had a hard time recognizing me. He didn’t know it was my birthday and I’m not certain, but I don’t think he knew who I was. My heart sank. He was no longer joking with the nurses. He slipped into unconsciousness for the next ten days before he left this earth for his heavenly journey. I am certain my life changed in so many ways.
Fast forward to March 2012. I watched the movie “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and it took me back to 9/11/2001. I wondered how many of the surviving spouses and and parents and children and friends and lovers said “goodbye” to their loved ones certain they would see them again that evening, never dreaming this was the finale.
Like Oskar in the movie, I was certain my dad left a hidden message for me and Ineeded to find it. For years, I searched through my parents’ belongings and found some treasures, but no hidden messages.
And then I watched this movie and I am certain the hidden message was revealed-I had been given the gift of saying “goodbye dad, I love you.”