One foot in front of the other

My dad died last month.

I was sitting with him in the hospital for the second night in a row, hoping that he’d defy the odds yet again and hold out for another sunrise. We’d all made it back that day, though, and had a chance to say good-bye. Now we were just trying to make him comfortable.

As I sat stroking his arm, his breathing slowed, first down to 10, then 8, then 4 breaths per minute.

I knew it wouldn’t be long but it’s still amazing how suddenly it happens, that last breath.

I looked away as he inhaled one last time, stealing a quick glance over at my nephew and my sisters, all of us waiting for the next exhale, the extension of his life.

Like Godot, it never came.

I looked back at his scraggly whiskered face and then at my watch. The second hand danced to the next minute.

11:11 P.M. CDT. August 14, 2015.

Even after having nearly three years to prepare for that moment since he was diagnosed with lung cancer in late 2012, it’s been tough to take.

Some people seek solace in the bottom of a bottle.

I seek solace in the bottom of a donut box – the more chocolate frosting and whipped cream filling the better.

Couple that with not working out in the last six weeks or so – a quick week in Jamaica for my birthday plus a self-imposed rest break when we returned.

Then my dad was in the hospital all the next week, starting the night before his 73rd birthday.

Then the week after that was the visitation, the funeral, and getting started with cleaning out 45 years of life from the house.

Work out? Not so much.

In that time, I’ve gotten fat. Yes, that’s a relative term but my belly button crept up to nearly 38.5” and my love handles topped out around 39.5”.

Not good.

I’m starting slowly, first getting on track last week with cleaning up my diet via Phil Maffetone’s Two-Week Test, then adding in some treadmill walking in the morning for 30 minutes.

I even got back to lifting today, my first since successfully completing the 40 Day Workout back on my birthday, July 24. It was an easy Power to the People workout of 5/3/2 Deadlifts (225#) and Bench Press (135#). Followed by three chins for good measure. I was done. I had to start somewhere.

I wasn’t in the mood to work out, much less write. But I have to do it, to sit down and get my thoughts on paper, to continue on with the blogging, my books, my life.

I took a walk after work tonight. Heading down the path from our house, the cool breeze hitting my face and the fading sunlight casting shadows through the trees, I thought I should call my dad. Then I remembered.

I’m human, I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll keep you posted on how this plays out.

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