He is Gone

These things begin silently. A knock at the door. Quiet words. I am surprised, stunned, really. They really come to your door, and they really do take off their hats, and there really are 2 of them. They use the words “we are sorry to tell you”.

Somehow, even though there were plans and contingencies, even as we were booking the medical stuff to get him some help, figure out what had to be done next, without us knowing, he slipped away.

Quietly, I hope and pray.

These things happen quietly, which seems right, my Father in Law would hate the fuss and the bother, and the long distances calls would horrify him.

Without us knowing, he died, and joined his mother, his grandson, his friends. Quietly he moved from one place to the next, from an impermanent world to forever. I am standing and moving, from one thing to the next, and it does not seem that a thing which starts so quietly as death, a thing that is merely a twinkling could cause such deep disquiet.

The phone calls are made, we have started on the lists, we have talked and arranged, and with nothing more to be done tonight my house is quiet, which seems so close to where I was just a few hours ago – right before the police knocked on our door with a message from the RCMP in Prince George, and I stood on my own front porch, and I watched pain tear across my husband’s face, and my heart broke into a million pieces.

And nothing about this is quiet, even if my house is silent. I can sit here, typing this in the dark, and nothing about me can be still. I can hear his voice in my mind, see his letters in my memory. I feel as if I must tell you a million things, from the way he called me sweetheart, how he signed his letters by drawing a face with scruffy hair and glasses in the “O” of his name. I must tell you about his stories, he knew Al Capone from Chicago when he was a boy and he watched the Cubs every year even though they never won a pennant, and he liked basketball and hated hockey and smoked a million cigarettes a day and never opened the windows of his house. I told you that I called him Uncle Otto before Mr. Spit and I married and I started calling him Dad, didn’t I?  And every year my mother would buy him shirts for Christmas, and I am sure they are still in his closet because he wouldn’t wear them if he had to iron them and if you were wrapping his Christmas present you couldn’t put bows and ribbons on it because he didn’t like those, but he liked my mother’s butter tarts- and oh, I could go on. My memories, my thoughts and my tears will not be silent.

and still, silently, he is gone.

I love you Dad.

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35 Responses to He is Gone

  1. Betty M says:

    Thank you for sharing these moments from you FIL’s life. He sounds a lovely man. I am so sorry for your loss.

  2. Natalie says:

    I am so sorry for your family’s loss. 🙁

  3. Seraphim says:

    Mr and Mrs Spit, I am so very sorry. xxxxx

  4. tash says:

    Oh wow, there’s no good way to find these things out but that has to be one of the toughest ways, certainly.

    Love to you and Mr. Spit.

  5. loribeth says:

    I’m so very sorry, Mr. & Mrs. Spit. 🙁 Sounds like your father/in-law was a dear man.

  6. Sharon says:

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. christy says:

    Mr. and Mrs. Spit, I’m so very, very sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  8. a says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your Father-in-law sounds like a wonderful man.

  9. Two Hands says:

    So so terribly sorry, please give my love to Mr. Spit and always, it’s for you too.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    So sorry for this loss. Hugs and love to both of you.

  11. lisa says:

    I am sorry for your loss. ((HUGS))

  12. HereWeGoAJen says:

    I am so sorry. I will be thinking about you and Mr. Spit.

  13. Jacquie says:

    So so sorry Mr and Mrs Spit.

    Love and hugs at this sad time….

  14. Stacey says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry. You have some wonderful memories of him. Thanks for sharing them with us. Sending hugs.

  15. Heidi says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine the pain going on in your hearts right now.

    Much love, and warm hugs.

  16. debby says:

    I’m sorry for your news. Please give Mr. Spit a comforting hug from me. Please ask Mr. Spit to give you one back. From me.

    Life is tough stuff, sometimes. Really tough stuff.


    There will be a day you will be catapulted from your own bedrock.

    Around you, everything humming as usual, but a scream

    will have lodged in your throat, dismantling your song. That shock

    will mutate into sadness, then rage, then something so out of proportion

    you will not recognize its borders. And then it will be time

    to walk the long hallway and it will seem almost obscenely solitary,

    you dangling above the precipice of your tiny life, a caricature of alone.

    But then, like a great wind, a thousand hands, prayers, offerings will carry

    you home, and just like that you will be joined forever, your soul

    twinned with everything you see, the heart of the world so clear and close and


    Maya Stein

  17. Maureen says:

    I am so sorry. Love and prayers to you.

  18. I’m so sorry for your loss. Both you and mr.spit are in my thoughts.

  19. Reese says:

    Love to you and Mr. Spit….


  20. Gloria Mason says:


  21. stephanie says:

    Wow. Very powerful and beautiful. I can only wish that one day my son-in-laws will say kind words like that about me. Hugs.

  22. Brown Owl says:

    I see your “Dad”, your Uncle Otto, through your eyes, in your words.

    My most heartfelt sympathy and love to all the family.

  23. luna says:

    so sorry for your loss, mr. and mrs. spit.

  24. Aunt Becky says:

    I am so very sorry. So, so very sorry. Mrs. Spit, my heart hurts for you and Mr. Spit.

  25. Jamie says:

    I am so very sorry. Hugs to you both. ‘Uncle’ Otto sounds like a wonderful man – who was much loved and will be missed so very much.

  26. anonymous says:

    I am so sorry you had to return from a really great vacation only to be dealt another huge blow. Take comfort in the fact that you were a source of pride and joy throughout his life and celebrate his memory.

  27. Kristin says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. It was less than 2 yrs ago that we lost my FIL and I still miss him every single day. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Mr. Spit.

  28. God Bless Otto and all those who love him and will miss him.

  29. mrs spock says:

    So very sorry 🙁

  30. K says:

    I am sorry for your loss.

  31. Lindsay says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. There really are no words….

  32. Jess says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry. So very sorry.

  33. Denise says:

    I’m so sorry.

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