Recently, I was sitting at a bar with a friend and we were discussing suffering on a personal level, like death of someone close, and how people deal with it individually. He asked when my father died and I told him (January 7, 2001). He said, "Well that was six years ago. That's a long time." It felt like an insult to me for an instant, but then six years is a good chunck of time and I have come a long way from comatose to socially functional, at least to some extent. "Yeah." I say, "It's been a while but it seems like yesterday."
It's true, it does seem like yesterday when I think about it. The thing is, I realize now that I don't think about it constantly. There are several times during every day that I do think about my dad and replay the times we spent walking, talking, sharing our writing, just reading the paper together over coffee in silence. I miss it all. My friend's dad just died (of cancer) last week, so over the last few months I've relived my pain while trying to be a friend to him. I wonder whether it's easier with his father slowly fading away over months or with my father who died instantly from cardiac arrest. One might say that the mental preparation is easier or maybe the here one minute, gone the next is the easier because there's no suffering (at least by the person doing the dying).
I've thought about it a lot over the last couple weeks and still don't have an answer. This type of thought is something I'd typically discuss with my father.