Thursday, May 12, 2005


Daddy would have been 70 May 23. It's been 70 days since we buried him. It's been 74 days since I saw him removed from the wooded acreage behind his property in a black body bag. I squeezed the toe of his hiking boot that peeked through the last unzipped inches and told him goodbye. They wouldn't let me see him because he had died two days before. He had been pinned between a tree and his ATV on a steep hill. They said the wheels caught a root and toppled the vehicle on top of him, sending them both skidding down the steep ridge. His neck was bent down hard between the machine and a small tree. He had shot three times from a pistol to call for help. And there were places where he had struggled to dig out. Days before we had planned a trip to IOWA together. Our first real father-daughter trip. It was a huge antique radio auction and he seemed excited. It was three weeks before I got the death certificate that said the estimated time between the accident and onset of death was minutes. For three weeks I couldn't breathe and my chest hurt so bad I thought I might be having a heart attack. Daddy was as strong as a 40 year-old man, but he got the ATV to get around his property because he had a recurrent infection in his hip.

Sometimes I still can't breathe. I can't stand the fact that he was hurting with no help; that he struggled to live, but died. God help me. I pray that every night.


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