My father, George F. Sheehan, Sr., passed from this life on September 17, 2017. He gently slipped away in his sleep, alone. I don't really know about the "gently" or "alone" parts because I wasn't there. He was in his little room at the Assisted Living place he's been in since April. His aide, Val, had heard him talking in his sleep, as she did often. When she went in to check on him, he was gone.
I had been working on a reunion for my Seminary, One Spirit, for the last year. It came the same weekend in upstate New York. I was woken up early that morning with a sweet voice that told me "Your Dad passed". It was Val. She later told me she sat with him for about two hours until my brother came to see Dad. Then Doug stayed with him for another two hours until the doctor pronounced him.
It was surreal to me. I prayed for his easy death; we all did. I saw how he suffered daily over the last five months. he made it to 95 plus 38 days! It's been a tough month since and he is sorely missed by me and so many family and friends.
So, what now? I think of him when I go to the grocery and see some tea or cookies he might like. I smell his coats which will be donated to help the homeless this winter. Each thank you note I write makes me grateful about all the people who showed up and still show up for us. But my heart is broken. I feel like a huge part of it has been lopped off. My father is no longer here to talk to about the World Series, about current events, about family drama, golf and friends. I miss him when I think of old stories and want someone to affirm them. I guess I'm the keeper of the stories now, along with my siblings.
I've been writing a monthly column for a local magazine for the last 14 years. It's focus is on my reflections about growing up along the South Shore of Long island and the happenings of the past and present. I would always write about my father--so many columns are written about him and focused on his influence in my life. He would always say "Don't write about me until after I'm dead, Bob." I'd laugh and keep writing about my favorite subject. I know the words will keep him alive in my heart and will let others know what kind of a guy he was. So, Dad, now that I have your permission, there are so many more stories to come. Life is Eternal and Love never dies.