I went to bed on Monday night with my tank of gas hard on empty. I whispered to David, remind me to leave a little early in the morning to fill up before work.
At 2 am we got the call. Dad wouldn’t live until the morning. I raced to get dressed and drove to Aberndale, hoping that I’d make it, knowing that the only place to get gas at 2am was the North Street Irving, but fearing I wouldn’t have the time to stop and get more. I decided to risk it and headed straight for their house. I knew I didn’t have enough gas to get me home, but I wasn’t really thinking about anything else but getting there.
The sky was calm and the moon was full right above the house as I ran up the long walkway to my parents house. The closer I got, the louder I could hear my mothers sobs. I opened the glass patio door, “Dad’s gone.”
I was too late.
I sat beside him and watched him as he lay peacefully, but exhausted after a long fought battle. I could say nothing but, “I’m sorry, Dad,” I repeated it over and over. For what I was sorry…so many things.
I was sorry for not driving faster, for the party I had in 1990, the worry I caused him, his Whisky that I watered down, the daughter I was and wasn’t, the thanks he didn’t received, that boyfriend he hated, the time I could have given and didn’t, I was sorry for the dignity that his country denied him, and I was sorry that he had to die leaving the world a little less kind.
After a really good cry, and a really good nose blowing, I looked out my parents living room window. There was just silence. No sound of the oxygen tank, no sounds of strained breathing. The air was lighter. He was gone. No more pain. I felt such gratitude; grateful for this home that he built for us, this life that he made for us, the work that he’s done, and I started to smile and breath a sigh of relief.
Crazy as it sounds I can’t get this image out of my head: it’s my dad riding a big, black, wild stallion that he tamed two decades ago, galloping through the tall, lush grass of a big pasture.
I struggle with my faith, God and religion, but this looks a lot like heaven to me.
Celebration of Life for Bruce Edward Rafuse
Saturday, September 17th 2-4 pm
Midville Branch Fire Hall.