I flew out to Tennessee to see my father in the hospital. I arrived early Monday morning. I enjoyed spending these days with my dad and his loved ones. I appreciated the nurses and other staff. I brought my markers with me and procured some printer paper. I made drawings and taped them on my dad’s overbed food tray table that was at the foot of his bed.
I drove from Knoxville to Johnson City. It took about two hours. I had coffee and borrowed Auntie Lisa’s car. As I drove along the highway a little after midnight, I passed many of those box trucks doing their deliveries. The moon was yellow at first and it reminded me of what my aunt said about what my dad looked like so I wouldn’t be surprised. She described his jaundice and water weight. The moon became white in appearance and it would dance in and out of my windshield as I drove towards my father.
I’ve been doing a lot of these studies with sunset with wildflowers. In this drawing, I was interested in that idea of two perspectives of realities meeting. My dad lay in bed and occasionally his arms would come up like he was leading an orchestra and was about to start directing. Terryl, my dad’s sweetie, said that was from the toxins interacting with his other brain chemicals causing Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder.
At this point, he wasn’t able to get up. The urine bag was connected to a plastic box with a clear front. His urine on display. I looked it up just now and tried to match the color with my memory. It wasn’t a healthy yellow but more like PANTONE 17-1563 TCX Cherry Tomato. It was a pretty color.
One of my favorite memories with my dad. We were biking the Appalachian Trail (Appalachia: The Pronunciation Matters) with our dog Cola who came across a bunch of lil blue butterflies and they fluttered all around him.
I was born and raised in Hawaii. Dad would point to the horizon at sunset and tell us to watch for the Green flash. I remember distinctly seeing it just once. When I was maybe 4 or 5 from our pouch in the mountains with a view of the horizon in the distance past the city. When I was about to reveal this drawing to Jenny (my oldest sister) and Terryl, they enthusiastically remembered my dad’s fondness of seeing the green flash or at least looking for it when possible.
My dad loved sailing. He was part of a sailing club and so was his first cousins. He crewed on a boat called Changes In Attitude.
Verily, with its rank luxuriance of vines and blossoms, its groves of forest trees, its shady nooks and grassy lawns, its crystal brook and its wild and beautiful mountain scenery, with that charming far-off glimpse of the sea, Kalihi is the Valley of Enchantment come again!
The first home I remember with my family. In this beautiful valley, we would take drives through mountain tunnels, hold our breaths and make wishes. Driving by the mountains, there are slivers, random single thread tinsel of waterfalls.
There was a Plumeria tree by the pool in our apartment building where dad would do laps. He wore one of those tiny speedo swimsuit– uh, swim pieces?– that always made him seem extra devoted to the act of swimming. I had to remind Terryl multiple times what these flowers are called. I guess Dad never talked about them. They are beautiful flowers used to make leis with an unforgettable scent. When I smell a scent at a candle store or in the aromatherapy aisle at Whole Foods, I’m transported to my childhood.
I asked Terryl, “where is your favorite place with dad?” She told the story of the time she and dad went to the Big Island and spotted a pod of Spinner Dolphins and rushed out to swim with them. Terryl loves this drawing. I made this drawing the day my dad breathed his last breath.