I’m writing this blog for the people that are following the story, but didn’t know the man or why. This is the story of what is bitter but equally as sweet. This is the death of the thief. This is Orion. How and why….
“Ask plenty of yourself and from life, not many people do that. It is easy to forget that for a short time we are clinging to a piece of rock hurtling through space….we have to grab hold of that precious time and enjoy it.” - Mark D. (a great friend)
As Ataxia took a stronger hold on dad he lost the ability to speak. When he passed away, his words became the stars and with a voice so loud he spoke to me through a constellation that I would relate to. One that tells a story of knowledge, love, balance, and obtaining what you want no matter how hard you have to work at it. No matter the cost or struggle.
You see I grew up as a bit of a black sheep in my family, and I’m still a bit of that way. Most would agree with me when I say that. But there was something that dad and I shared and no matter how much we fought over the little stupid stuff that was in our every day home life, when we would venture out into the wild, we never fought. We were the happiest out there. Me learning from my dad, and he teaching his youngest son all the things that his dad taught him but never got a chance to teach me. Because just like my dad, his father was taken by Ataxia and his life robbed of so many desires and dreams with his grandkids. So when I turned 13, I think dad didn’t want to miss a moment of that. The weight of the possibility of what could come is as much of a driving force in my life today as it is I’m sure for my brothers. So, before there was a hash tag for it developed by someone that was far cleverer than he was, or I will ever be, we #optoutside, and he gave me memories that I will never forget and guided my life to where I am now.
When Ataxia came knocking on my father’s door and was coming in no matter what, like an annoying neighbor. Little by little it took from him. Eventually robbing him of the ability to walk. But that didn’t stop him from being able to hold his grandkids (my niece and nephews) in his lap. But when it finally took his voice, it didn’t stand a chance in hell to take his smile. You see, it can take every part of you that allows you to move through this world, but it can never take your mind. But that’s the real bitch of it all. You become a prisoner in your own body until it is time to finally just let go, and let others go on without you in the physical form.
On the last day of dad’s life, I was in Seattle visiting my best friend, Jon Haglund, when I got the call from my mom to come home. I had taken a trip down there to sort of take a break from it all. To recharge my mind and soul a little with an old friend that would spend the day with me, and to just truly spend the day as a friend and not dwell on everything else, but just carry on with life as if it was normal. It was to be a beautiful morning spent over coffee, but before we could meet and get that coffee, the call came in as I was walking thorough the door. It was my mom telling me I had to come home. With the sickening feeling in my stomach I jumped in my truck and headed North on I-5. And to this day, Jon and I meet up to have our coffee that we were planning to have that morning but never got. A tradition with loved ones. The little moments of people giving a shit.
As a family, we all gathered around dad. We all knew, I believe, that this was it. This was the end of his days. One by one people came to join us and one by one they left until it was just myself and dad. When the hour became late and I knew it was time to go, I read him one last passage from my journal, kissed him goodbye, and walked out the door knowing that I'll never see him alive again.
Under the roof of stars on my porch that night, I found myself staring up at Orion when I saw a shooting star leave Orion’s bow and stop at the Pleiades; this was the moment I knew that something was wrong. That there’s going to be a major change in my life. I knew then that dad had passed. That dad had left this world and his body. He finally got his freedom. Seconds later mom called to tell me what I had already known.
That Dad is standing tall in his freedom as the Great Hunter in the sky.
Author: Trent Peterson