Departure Day

fade-away-Scott-Marshall

It’s Departure Day.
Eric is scheduled on the 7:40 am flight.
Rachel is returning later in the day.

There’s the awkward milling around the kitchen.
When everyone knows what’s coming next,
yet no one is a hurry to get on with it.
He’s scurrying around with his last minute packing.
I hover at a distance.

It is Dark.
And Cold. Temperature locked on 32° F.

We’re in the car.
The Kanigan Men are short (very) on small talk.
We ride in silence.

Did you check to see if the flight is leaving on time?
Yes.
Yes, you checked?
He smiles.
I’m not coming back for you if it is delayed.
He smiles. (He knows his Momma will come back to get him.)

How does one describe the moments?
The surge.
When your child sleeps in their own bed under your roof. Near. Warm. Safe.
When your child ambles down the stairs, sleepy eyed, and offers a Good morning.
Yes. Yes, it is Good.
When your child, a young man now, kisses you on the forehead on his way out to visit friends and offers his Good Night Dad.
Yes. Yes, it is Good.

I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone’s heart. I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.
― Raymond Carver

I’m back on I-95 heading home.
And wondering how soon,
how soon the hollowed out, emptiness will fill.
And with what.

I come through the front door.
Susan says she just received a text: “Thanks for the eggs Mom.”
I smile. Where’s my text?

I look over at Zeke who’s curled up on the couch.
You too Boy? (Melancholia?)
Want to go play with Dad?
Where’s your toy?


Credits: Thank you Scott Marshall for his photograph titled “Fading Away

Comments

  1. Great description…..although my story is a bit different, it really is the same. Thanks for giving me the words to understand my “Daddy” emotions….and thanks for reminding me it is time to turn the snow on!

    Like

  2. I swear to God you will be a character in my novel someday.

    Like

  3. all so beautiful. i love the quote as well. many times what goes unsaid speaks volumes.

    Like

    • Thank you Beth

      Like

      • i know how hard this is, with one daughter living in australia, we only get to see each other once a year. it makes for a very long time in between. always very hard when we are parting, especially the longer we are together. on thanksgiving night, she called me to say she had bought a house in australia. (they had talked about moving back to the states next year). i know it was hard for her to tell me and she sounded excited and upbeat about it. as i listened, tears rolled down my face, and i told her how happy i was for her to have settled and found a place. i truly was happy for her to find her place, but sad for my longing to be near her, but knew as a parent, it was so important to celebrate her joy with her, and not leave her with any feelings of regret or guilt about her decision. it was a challenging mix of intense emotions simultaneously, and as her mother, and someone who loves her, i knew the best gift that i could give her was to be happy for her.

        Like

  4. Big tears…I am not at this stage, but it made me sad that it will inevitably come. Big hugs to you.

    Like

  5. Christmas is coming though and hopefully everyone will be home again. I am desperately trying to find the silver lining in things these day–I was in an accident on Friday and it could have been so much worse so I am grateful to be just a bit sore–though my mode of transportation is gone

    Like

  6. These are my favorite posts of yours, David. Where did a tough Wall Street kinda guy ever get such a soft, gooey center? Canada? 😀

    Like

  7. Dear David – It will always be like that, always…when you love with all your heart. I know all too well. And the hollowed out emptiness will be filled with the moments of your everyday life…only to have it happen all over again the next time your children come and go. It is who we are and who we want to be, isn’t that right? Much love to you my sweet friend. 🙂

    Like

  8. I love your life stories most. Very touching. Thank you for sharing of yourself, David.

    Like

  9. We take our youngest and his girlfriend to the airport in an hour. We’re in the kitchen, small talk and big holes that can’t be filled with conversation. How long until his return over the Xmas holidays? Too long.

    Like

  10. And we end up playing with our pets.

    Like

  11. It’s hard to say goodbye, but at least you have them to say goodbye to. And thank god for Zeke!

    Like

  12. My eyes filled with tears as I pictured this scene. I, too, love your stories and thank you for sharing yourself. I don’t know what it feels like to be the parent in that scene; I do know what it feels like to be the child in that scene–waiting for the hollow feeling to fill after leaving the comforts and love of home. A paradox of life–there is happiness and sadness in almost all experiences.

    Like

  13. Steeve Gorlick says:

    Dave–I just got back from the airport and had the exact same day as you with my daughter and son! Well said–you have captured all of the emotion!

    Like

  14. Ah yes, that familiar emptiness. One left yesterday, one today…it will take me a few days to get back to some normalcy. The saving grace is that Christmas is right around the corner and they will come home again.

    Like

  15. Peggy Farrell Schroeder says:

    Although it never gets easier, we really wouldn’t want it any other way. I never appreciated how tough it was for my parents, when I was the one heading back to school.

    Like

  16. Beautifully poignant and tugs at the heartstrings… Thank you for this.

    Like

  17. No words of mine needed. Nodding. Gulp.

    Like

  18. totally understand this one… But aren’t we sooooo blessed?

    Like

  19. Ahh…love this. Beautifully captured.

    Like

  20. I have to admit David, I’m not going to get the opportunity to experience this vulnerable feeling as I don’t have any children (not planning any soon either!) but I can remember when I left home, there was something in me wanted to stay (for mum and dad) I was the last one to leave, and it must have been terrible for them. But I knew staying would be ridiculous – it has to happen, we all have to fly eventually! 🙂

    I think the way you’ve described this is quite beautiful, and very touching. And I love the bit about the dog at the end – there will always be a need to be dad! 🙂 I think our family dog gave my parents some comfort that not ‘all’ the children had left home! 😉

    Like

  21. Raw Maui Mom says:

    This was beautiful. Thank you.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: