My dad died rather suddenly the first day of summer. He was 86, so it was not totally unexpected. For elderly people, life is a ridge walk, with the ridge getting narrower and narrower till finally one thing or another takes you over.
My brother, Allen, told me a story. My dad had suffered from depression for years. Earlier in the month, my dad had told Allen about having an ongoing fantasy for some weeks, of running a hot air ballooning outfit out of Kokomo, Indiana.
“Is that crazy?” my dad asked.
Allen reassured him, “No. You’re just trying to find your happy place.”
My dad had had a fall, and some disorientation, so he was in hospice, a very nice apartment in the hospital wing. On Father’s day, he was lucid. He had a really good day, with kids and grandkids all around.
The next day he couldn’t wake up. CT scan showed a massive brain bleed. The prior directive was clear — no heroic measures.
As my dad lay there barely conscious, my brother asked him about the hot-air balloon business. “What color is your balloon?” Allen asked.
“Many colors,” dad muttered.
“What kind of truck do you have?”
“Two trucks. GM King Cab”.
He was there.
Dad slipped away the following dawn. Where do people go when they die? I like to think I know where dad is. Having a great time, running his hot air balloon operation, out of Kokomo, Indiana.