It’s been a while since I wrote anything. It’s been hard to pick up a pen and create when such a huge part of my life was was destroyed…. Destroyed is such a strong word, but its fitting with how I feel on the inside. If you are close to me, work with me, or simply know me you know that on May 7th, 2017 my family and I lost my father, LeRoy Hemingway. That weekend was one that took me on an ultimate High, and then an ultimate low. I had the honor of watching my nephew graduate and get his second post high school degree. That kid fills me with pride.
After taking him out for his graduation dinner I had the honor of taking my mom and dad back to the hotel in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Once we got mom settled in, my dad wanted me to take him to the local gas station so he could pick up his “winning” lottery ticket and a few snacks for him and my mom just in case they needed it throughout the night. Without hesitation my dad and I jumped into the car and turned up the music. We critique the modern music and appreciate the melodies of the past as we travel less than half a mile to the nearest gas station.
My father has a routine when it comes to out of town gas stations, he usually looks st the hats that they are selling, if they are selling them. Anyone who knows him knew that he wore a cap all day everyday when he could. He would get his snacks, plain chips, Pepsi, and a bag of salted peanuts to put in the Pepsi. Lastly, he would play his numbers and get a lottery ticket or two. Playing the state lottery seemed to fill him with excitement. My dad didn’t miss an opportunity to possibly win millions of dollars. Sadly, he never did but he did more often than not get his ticket money back. It was all in good fun and a hobby of his through the years. At this point in life with me leaving the nest and moving to another state it was a nostalgia trip whenever I got the chance to do it. Something I’m going to miss more than anyone will ever know.
When we got back to the hotel I walked him to his room and told my mom and dad goodnight and that I would see them in the morning. They said the same, and I gave my mom a hug, and kiss telling her that I loved her. Dad walked me to the door and I told him that I loved him, and he said “I love you too.” Before closing the door. These two gestures are forever burned into my eyes and memory.
I’m lucky enough to have this, and I’m grateful, but the gesture of closing the door still hurts, I’ll explain why. The words “I love you too” are the last words I ever heard my dad say. That was our final day and conversation. I’m blessed with that, that’s more than others for a chance for. Closing the door took on the meaning of closing the chapter on our journey together. I was shut out, and he was taken from me. I know I have a writers mind and I create scenarios, but this wasn’t fictional. This was what it actually felt like hours later after I replayed the memory in my head. This is what it felt like after the coroner left us there a wounded family not knowing what to do…
To be continued next post.