Yesterday our 96-year-old Dad told the family that he thinks he has about two weeks to live (remember, he was a physician). And meanwhile, yesterday, after being helped into a wheelchair, and then onto the piano stool, after pausing for awhile to catch his breath, he played a rousing “On Wisconsin” for those who had assembled to witness the “Blessing” he bestowed on my sister’s daughter and future son-in-law. They marry in July. Dad was/is a “Deacon” in the Catholic Church.
I fly to Seattle on June 9th, through the 17th, unless otherwise instructed. Not sure how much blogging I’ll do there.
I find it fascinating that he leaves as his beloved Church moves through its slow implosion. I don’t know if he’ll still be speaking by the time I get there. Knowing that I’m arriving is probably enough. There are so darn many of us, plus all the grandkids and great grandkids, most of whom seem to be coming to pay homage one last time.
He and I have no unfinished business. I was his first-born child, and we were each other’s nemesis, honorable opponents for over 30 years; and oh, how we moved through our drama to clarity and peace!
I’ll never forget the evening when, on the cruise off the coast of California to which he had invited all his eight chilluns and their spouses for their 50th wedding anniversary: he and I were dancing together, when he whispered in my ear: “I want to thank you, for making me question every single one of my beliefs!” Of course, he then went on to say that he didn’t change any of them! We both laughed.
What a man!
Such an amazing journey, this life, this tiny cycle each of us agrees to when we incarnate onto this beautiful planet in tiny 3-D bodies and then agree to forget that we are more than our bodies . . . for many of us this forgetting lasts even up to the end, the finale, when some of us do then move through the final gate with grace and gratitude.
As the father of an old friend of mine said, gently, but firmly, when he drew close to death and the hospice nurse brought in a chaplain that he had not asked for:
“We are given the gift of life. And now I am given the gift of death.”
Dad’s graduating. Rejoice!