Giving thanks for Life

There is an unfathomable timelessness in the ICU.

Time slips away without even knowing it’s gone.

Like life and the people we love I suppose sometimes, too.

Sitting there in the room with beeps unending, with machines attached to this person, this physical being who once stood and walked and moved with ease and grace and such strength.

Now unmoving, unbreathing, kept alive by machines breathing for him, tubes feeding him, medicines endeavoring to heal him. And failing.

This man, this man who danced like there was no tomorrow, who drank like every day was a celebration, who laughed loud and whose voice resonated so deeply. This man, who was not afraid to use his voice, to be bold and courageous.

This man, my father, who was so unbearably human that I was angry at him for far too long.

This man, my dad, whose love I always craved and felt like I never could quite have enough of.

This man, the one who chose me, who longed for a daughter with a fire in his soul. This man, Dennis Charles Bazant, who named me after him, Denise Charlene Bazant.

This man, my father, whose love he expressed so differently from what I understood, yet loved me just the same.

This man, who wisely told me when I became a mama, “This will be a gentler time in your life, a wonderful time.”

This man, whose heart beat so strong, but lungs didn’t want to breathe any longer, whose body was fading, whose life was ending.

This man, I love.

And in that timeless space in the ICU, I held his hand. I cried and told him how much I love him. How much I forgive him. And how I forgive myself for judging the man I thought he was not and the man I thought he was.

And in that space, I gave thanks for the sweet memories I hold in my heart.

Our last dance together at my cousin’s wedding in Canada. And how proud I was of his dancing skills, how he could make anyone stop and watch his rhythm and beauty as he kicked and spun and twirled like it was the best feeling ever.

I gave thanks for the impromptu road trip we took home from Canada one summer, for his idea to stop somewhere in the middle of nowhere and buy a few groceries to have a picnic in this valley lush with green and sun shining down on us.

I gave thanks for the laughter I remember each time we went to the river, for his carefree happy energy when we were out on the water, cruising in the boat, gazing at the sky.

I gave thanks for his time with my mama, for the gift of choosing her to be my mama, for the love they shared and the life they created in me.

I gave thanks for the Valentine’s days he would bring me chocolate and I’d feel so special, like I was his girl.

I gave thanks for waking early together when I was a little girl, for him making bologna and cheese english muffins for us.

I gave thanks for the look in his eyes I see in photos of me as a babe, for the tender gratitude I witness in the way he looked at me.

I gave thanks for his love and support to make my own decisions.

I gave thanks for seeing now that although I missed the hell out of him for so long, I also received the gift of being my own person in his absence, never pushed or shoulded or coerced into being someone I wasn’t.

I gave thanks for the pride and joy I saw in his eyes when he held my daughters for the first time.

I gave thanks for all of our sushi dates and heart~full conversations.

I gave thanks for learning from my dad that one true friend in life is the greatest gift.

And now here I am, giving thanks again.

For the ease to his suffering, for the gentle final breaths of his life, for the miracle of being his daughter.

I give thanks for the journey, for each step, though they may feel hard or overwhelming or too much to bear.

I give thanks here and now, and always, for the life he gave me, for the love I’ve known.

I give thanks for this man, my dad.

For his imperfections and beauty and laughter and dancing, for his cowboy boots and strength and stubborn as hell will, for his presence in this life, for everything I’ve learned from him, for everything I will continue to learn now that he has left this earthly experience.

I give thanks for letting go with love.

I give thanks for these tears that soothe me, for the people here by my side, reminding me that life carries on, that love is forever.

I give thanks.

And love.

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