Sunday, September 14th…we had tickets to the Royals game that afternoon…our usual four tickets…but my son couldn’t go, due to a work conflict. I spontaneously decided to invite my Dad, knowing he’s a huge Royals fan – and fortunately for me, he went.
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon…the weather started off in the low 70’s, and my Dad – always a bit chilly – wore a bright burnt-orange fleece pullover to the game. Which I gave him endless grief over, because anyone who is anyone knows, you DON’T WEAR ORANGE TO A ROYALS GAME. Gah. You wear Royal blue. Period.
I couldn’t stop teasing him that day about that orange pullover…and Dad, being Dad, just shrugged his shoulders and grinned. He didn’t care. Dad did whatever Dad wanted. And if Dad wanted to wear his new orange pullover to the game – by golly, that’s what he would do.
The game itself kinda’ sucked…the Royals got beat pretty bad, but in some ways, it was a typical Royals game. I mean, for 29 years, the Royals have sucked…and so we, as fans, have gotten used to it. The fact that they are now in the postseason playoffs seems very surreal – almost unbelievable – to us here in Kansas City.
Because the game was sucky, I looked for other means of entertainment, and ended up taking some selfies during the game out of sheer boredom…including this one with my Dad:
Which turned out to be the last picture I have of him.
But who knew that on September 14th?
Who knew that, a few short weeks later, he would be gone?
I went to Florida a week later after that game…and Dad went in for scheduled aneurysm repair surgery on September 29th…we both fully expected him to recover, and I was planning on visiting him in the hospital when I got back to Kansas City on October 3rd. My flight was scheduled to land at 4:30 pm – and my plans were to go straight to the hospital to visit him.
Dad’s plans were different, apparently.
He passed away from surgery complications at 12:30 am on October 3rd.
And just like that…he’s gone.
And I’m left behind, wondering what the hell happened…. And how I could have done things different…and what I could have said to him, if I’d known I wouldn’t see him again…and maybe I wouldn’t have teased him so much about that darned orange pullover.
I was in his closet on Sunday, picking out clothes for his viewing…and there was the orange pullover…and of course, I broke down. Totally broke down. That orange pullover is now in MY closet, which is where it will stay – forever.
I hurt. I cry. I rage. I scream. I replay, over and over, my last visit with him…my last phone conversation with him, which was right before he went into surgery…wondering if I said the right things…wondering if he knew how much I loved him…wondering if there was some way – ANY way - that I could change this ending that I wasn’t prepared to have….
He could wear orange and purple polka-dots to the Royals game for all I care – if I could only have him back….
I love you, Dad…