I stood looking out the kitchen window having returned home from a funeral I attended that day. I was asked to cantor. The funeral was for the father of two girls who were friends of my sisters. As I stood there looking out, I thought, “What would I do if dad died?” I would have never considered that I would know the answer to that question that very day.

Since I was working the second shift at the Canterbury Hotel that day, I decided to watch a movie around Noon— The Devils, starring Vanessa Redgrave. (It was quite a disturbing movie but I digress.) My father had left to pick-up my aunt so I had the place to myself. I didn’t need to leave for work until 2:30pm. After the movie, I got ready for work. I passed the kitchen window and noticed that dad had left the garage door open. I couldn’t wait to reprimand my dad like he had done so many times to me for committing the same infraction. 

I went out, closed the door, and noticed that his car was parked in the neighbor’s yard, three houses down. Thinking he was somewhere talking to a neighbor, I went back and finished preparing for work. As I got in my car, I thought, I’ll just go through the alley to make sure everything is okay. As I passed his car, I noticed that he was slumped over the steering wheel. He had had a massive stroke while pulling out of the garage. The car making a sharp U turn out of the garage ended up in the neighbor’s yard stopped only by a pile of rubbish. I got to the car, opened the door, and tried to wake him but my father was dead. He had been dead for a few hours at that point.

I ran into the house panicked. There was a message from my aunt wondering where my dad was. I called 911. The ambulance came. Dad was pronounced dead. I began to contact my brothers and sisters. Luckily, I got a hold of one brother. Unbeknownst to me my siblings were headed out of town; I had caught them just in time.

As the day turned to evening, family and relatives began to arrive. The air was thick with cigarette smoke as family gathered around the cluttered table chatting about my father. I was exhausted but needed to get away from it all so I volunteered to go to the local grocery store to pick up something for everyone to eat. 

As I got to the store, I grabbed a cart and aimlessly strolled through the aisles, occasionally snatching something from the shelves. In my daze, I got to the check out line. Not paying any attention, I listlessly unloaded the groceries onto the conveyor. It was the sound of the cashier’s voice which brought me back to reality. I looked up. I can’t recall what she looked like but her name badge read: Hope. And from that point on, I did.


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