The world's favorite season is the spring...all things seem possible in May.
- Edwin Way Teale
All things seem possible in May…and yet here I was getting ready to speak to my children about death...and loosing a father. Somehow…at this very moment...nothing seems possible anymore.
The time to speak with Jake and Ian regarding my illness came this past weekend. As I have previously written it was not something I had been looking forward to nor anything I would wish upon a parent. It was however something that the boys needed to know in moving forward…and it was something I needed to do. I have spent weeks preparing for this moment and yet…I was so ill prepared emotionally when it came.
As I walked into the bedroom I was immediately overtaken with what I was about to tell them. Both boys “knew” something was up…they have keen intuition bought on by many worldly experiences...and yet they too were not prepared.
When I explained what had happened to my health; the complications and what the outcome would be they immediately broke down…and so did I. We have been very close as all father/son relationships should be and any news (good/bad) has been taken as the sum of all of its parts…today was no different.
It was very difficult…to both deliver as well as hear. We sat for what seemed like an eternity…and then we talked.
I told them how proud I was of each of them and the difference that they have made in my life; how being a father to Jake and Ian was the most rewarding accomplishment I have ever had and that all the memories we shared will live on in their hearts. I relayed to them a story from 2008…someone asked me in an interview what was my single greatest accomplishment…I did not have to think nor did I hesitate in response...it was my children…Jake and Ian Hayes
I told them that when they get home later in the day that they needed to hold their Mom close for she will forever be their protector as well as mentor and friend…and she has done so much…for all of us
I told them to take to care of each other for as long as they live…for the things that I missed most in my life were the comfort; the compassion and the camaraderie that comes from the relationship forged with your brother
I then sat and listened to each of them…
They asked very poignant questions requiring very forthright answers…and so we talked about how it happened; its prognosis; what happens next and what we are going to do in the interim.
I told the boys that the most important thing for me right now and into the future was that they understand just how much I love them and what will happen when I am gone. No real specifics…just the knowledge in knowing that the time left will be…time well spent.
We talked about Nan; about my writings; about the past; about regrets and about mistakes. I told them that certain friends would soon talk to them about events and times in my life that they should know about…and then the three of us just held each other…and cried
A close family friend commented last evening to the boys that:
“Love is stronger than death even though it can't stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can't separate people from love. It can't take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.”
What Jake and Ian have always had is love…unconditional love...as well as some very fond memories of times spent with their Mom and I…together as well as separately…and they will always have that…to keep close in their hearts. At this time I take solace in knowing that Sheila will be there…as she has always been for them...long after I am gone
It is a rainy day here in Washington, DC…a day made not only for reflection but also for cleansing. As I look to the future I know that my children have begun a new journey…one that all of us eventually take…for with the changing of the seasons we begin anew…and for my boys…a time of enlightenment…and of endless possibilities.
I love you Jake and Ian