My Dad passed away on October 23 at the age of 91. He'd had a fine, long life, but still I had hoped he would be with us for a few more years. Fortunately my sisters and I had arranged to bring him home from the hospital on hospice, so we had the chance to say good bye. He told me not to cry (but I did anyway), and I said I would miss him (which I do). We spoke of many things during his last days, including his love of swimming. I had convinced him to join USMS and begin competing after my mother died in 1999, and his daily workouts gave his life purpose and meaning. He won medals at local, state, and national competitions and achieved ten top ten times. He said that he regretted not having had the opportunity to compete in his new age group. A day before he died he told us that if we could somehow find a way to drop him into his favorite pool he was confident that he would be able to swim.
So this past week has been bittersweet as I have swum personal bests in meets (19:45.78 in the 1500) and in practice (37:19 in a postal 3K) and finally made a top ten list (tenth in the 800 free) but was unable to share my successes with him. Yet I have kept swimming because that was what he was going to miss the most, and I have swum with a sense of gratitude that I am still able to do so.
So long, Dad.