August 31, 2012

Riding With My Father

While lacing up my boot this morning, I thought of my father. When I was only 4 years old, he was in a horrendous motorcycle accident which left him in a body cast for nearly a year. With a shattered ankle, broken spine, and numerous other injuries, he spent the final months of his recovery in a hospital bed in our living room. The rest of his life I remember how his ankle would swell and ache, and gently removing his boots at night from his feet. I felt so honored to remove his boots, to rub his stinky feet, and be his little girl. Sometime's I would wonder why he would still ride his motorcycle, which he did for the rest of his short life, after being hurt so badly. I accepted this as his choice.

Today we will arrive in Renton, a suburb of Seattle, to visit with Highway's father. He has terminal cancer which is in it's final stages. He's very thin, frail and weak, albeit determined. While I laced my boots and thought of my Dad, Highway was on the phone, discussing work with a colleague. Just as I lifted my head, placing my booted feet to the floor, he spoke on the phone of his Dad, and this being probably the last time he would see him.

My Dad died just over 22 years ago. The anniversary of his death was actually just 3 days before this trip. I never stop missing him; my mind only fills with other things and I forget he's gone. How I long to hear his voice, hold him, and kiss him one more time.

Highway will soon feel this pain that has rested in my soul for 22 years. With the loss of his father, an emptiness will fill him that nothing will ever replace. How I wish I had the power to heal him, but I don't. He is already feeling the loss.

Today we ride to see him, perhaps for the last time. Today is Highway's day. And I will spend the day thinking of my Dad, his sweet smile, his deep voice, his enormous presence as he rides with me today. Because every time I ride, he rides with me.

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