My dad and I must have talked for an hour. I tell him about work, about Em's graduation party and about my intention to ask Rye to marry me. He doesn't say much about the last part, at least, not until I'm getting ready to leave. That's when the conversation takes the turn I expected earlier.
"One minute, son," he says slowly, thoughtfully.
"Jett, I want to give you a little more advice."
"Alright, sir," was all I could say, worried about what he had to say.
"Jett, you understand you are walking into a life of heartbreak, right?" he asks gravely.
"Yes, sir," I repeated.
"I want you to remember that heartbreak that you are walking into already has people in place. Remember not to remove anyone from their positions, son."
"What do you mean, sir?" I ask, puzzled.
"What I mean is, remember that everyone has a method to help themselves cope through this tragic circumstance. Whether it's Dee, reading every night to Rye, or Em, posting notes. Everyone has a coping mechanism to help them survive, until the end. You need to respect that."
"Sir, with the utmost respect, I haven't given up hope."
"Son, there is always an end."
I get up to leave. My soul hurts, and the pain is physical. My legs shake, and I feel that panicky anger I did the other night. I walk down the porch then stop, turning to see my dad.
"Sir, how did you make it through this with Mom?" I ask him in a hushed voice.
My inspiration would be my daughters. Rita for her strength to keep fighting and constantly trying to take care of me, even though sometimes she can't get out of bed & Kayla, for helping to pick up all the pieces that seem to fall when times get rough, and the love they have for me.
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