Field Of Dreams | One Year
Here we are. An entire year went by. Just like that. I wish I could sum up for you a years worth of firsts without my dad. We just celebrated my niece, Aly’s birthday. Most everyone made it. Normally, my dad would be sitting in the corner overlooking the family that he and my mom built over 45 years. My mom still did that. She has been there, getting out of bed, being fierce, strong, stedfast. My dad would be so proud of her.
I think often about a quote my dad repeated to me all of the time in my childhood and then into my adult life…. “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” (John Lennon). It has always rang true. I am a planner. I always want everything to be in order and for it to work out the way I expected it. My dad would subtly remind me that it doesn’t work that way. That God is in control and life goes on no matter how you planned for it to be. The day before he passed away, I was boarding a plane. Our plan was to go to Oregon so Bob could present/educate about mansion fires. We were going to stay a few extra days to take pictures. We weren’t in Oregon longer than 12 hours. Life happened. The next several days were surreal. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I still replay the first 24 hours in my mind. Did I miss something? He sounded short of breath on the phone, but did tell me he went to the doctor and got an EKG and X-Ray. The EKG was normal…within a few hours of his passing. (I’ve seen it). For those who are not aware, I work for a large fire department as a Captain for my primary job. I intend on growing the photography business even more when I retire. Anyway…
I still have a lot of anger towards the Fire Lieutenant who was rude and honestly didn’t want to deal with a cardiac arrest at 3am. I spoke to him on the phone as the attempted revival of my father was still occurring. I was able to stay calm, speak clearly and reasonably to him and he didn’t want to hear anything I had to say. To the point that I had to contact a supervisor who did hear me and accommodated accordingly. I went and spoke to this Lieutenant 3 days later face to face because that is how strongly I felt about the actions that occurred that night (even though Bob told me not to, I needed it. I needed to see his face and for him to see us as a family and my dad as a dad and someone valuable, not just another call). My original evaluation of him was correct. He was exactly what I thought he was going to be. Sometimes, knowing so much about a subject (such as cardiac arrest survival) can be damaging. I wrote the operating procedure that is now used statewide. I know that it could have been followed better. I know that the Lieutenant is there for a paycheck. I know he isn’t keen on women, especially women who hold rank. There is a lot about this I have held in for an entire year. I will never know if done differently, would it have changed the outcome of that night? There is a lot I will never know. That is all I am going to write about that because this Lieutenant doesn’t deserve any more. Even though he is subpar at best as his job, there were a lot of responders that night that went above and beyond. The Greenbelt Police department lined up outside while the fire department removed my dad from the house so that my family didn’t have to watch. They comforted my mom and spoke to me on the phone to coordinate the next steps. They stayed by my family and were honorable. I am proud of them.
It’s about to get real:
When we went to the funeral home, it was the first time I had seen my sister, Amanda in quite some time. In fact, I had never met my nephew, Ryker…. to the point that I asked Amanda if I could hold him. My dad on almost a daily basis would tell me to get over myself (I am sure he told her the same) and just talk to her. He thought we could help each other. I was stubborn. I didn’t like to put myself in uncomfortable situations and I am different from my siblings. Not in a better or worse way, just different. The truth is, I didn’t know Amanda. At least who she has become. A grown up. A mother. An amazing wife. A highly sought after photographer. It took the death of the man who kept telling me to reach out to her, for me to get over myself and actually get to know her again. Here is what I can tell you. I speak to Amanda all of the time now about pretty much everything. Something I NEVER thought I would be saying. She is kind, understanding, loving. I missed a lot from being too proud. I am thankful everyday for the relationship I have with her now. It is something I will do everything in my power to never Jeopardize.
I have regrets…a lot of them. Every time the family gets together, I am sad that it took the death of my dad for that to happen. I wish regularly that he could have died in some peace knowing that we would work it out. I wish he could have seen us all in the room together again before he passed away. I wish I had more time to rebuild my relationship with him. I wish the twins (and all of the grandkids) got more time with him. My dad was a proud man who did a lot behind the scenes. I wish I knew more of those stories while he was alive, but they do not surprise me as I hear them. He worked so hard to ensure we had a private school education, always had the best equipment playing sports… we never wanted for anything. I pretty much treat my kids the same way now knowing how valuable it was to me growing up. I try to coach them, talk to them, give them hugs all of the time. I say I love you in sign language to them (just as my dad and I did my entire life up until the day he died).
When this happened, I was told it will get easier….it doesn’t. I still cry. I still lay in bed at night wide awake staring at the ceiling wishing he was here. It doesn’t get easier. It gets different, but it is not easier.
I keep saying that I can’t believe I live in a world that he doesn’t exist. After a years worth of thought and reflection, this statement is not true. I can’t believe that I can’t pick up the phone and talk to him or see him hug my kids again, but my dad very much still exists in this world. He exists in Grayson, Madelyn, Danny, Ryker, Kenzie, Zach, Ethan, Tori, Raelynn, Aly, Haley, Shelby, Amanda, Kelly, Emily, Me, my Mom, my cousins…. he exists in every person he has touched. He exists in our thoughts, in our hearts, in our decisions. He exists in our goodness. Grayson wears his belt buckle pretty much everyday. My dad always had a way of leaving a piece of him behind. My biggest fear is that a few generations will go by and people will forget that he existed. So my goal is to keep telling his story and for others to keep telling his story so that Kelly “Pop” Ivy Sr. lives on forever.
I’ll meet you in the field of dreams dad. Until then, keep watching over us.