June 3, 2009
"If you want to keep your memories, you first have to live them."> - Bob Dylan
It seems like only yesterday my Father and I were discussing current events or the neighbor’s dog. Then it happened. He told us he was going into the hospital for a minor bladder procedure. I think my Father wanted to believe that was all there was to it. Looking back, my entire family lived under this cloud of denial.
My Dad made it through the surgical procedure, and as the Urologist predicted, he came home within a week’s time. With some rest and my Mother’s loving care, he then brushed the dust from his boots, and continued living his retired lifestyle with my Mother. Everyday was another place for him to visit, whether it was the County Library where he so kindly brought the Librarians’ candy, or to the country club to hit a few rounds, and joke with his golf associates. It was obvious to us he was glad to have his family around him, and it was priceless to have him with us.
It wasn’t long before the tumors grew back, and this time with a vengeance. No one could deny the inevitable. My Father’s time was coming to a close. How do you deal with that ocean of truth staring at you?
One day, when I was driving my Father home from a hospital visit, he said to me “I love the quote on that car’s bumper-sticker…when words fail, music speaks.” At that moment, he was reading poetry. He did not have many words to say thereafter. The cancer was draining his body, and he was slowly slipping away. I held his hand whenever possible, and thanked him for being such a great Father, and for giving us a wonderful home life.
Early one morning on June 3, 2004 when he was ready,(his age was 81),he stepped out of his body, and moved onto his new path. I believe the warm light he must have seen and felt was the love of God, and that of his Mother and other loved ones already on the other side.
Although I miss my Father with words I can’t accurately describe, I also understand it was his time to die. There are times when I hear his voice or see his smile while in a sleepy dream, and I know he is “somewhere” around me. It soothes the ache in my heart.
I have come to the realization that our lives consist of many chapters. The sun may shine in some of the chapters, and hide behind clouds in other chapters. All in all, it is part of life’s journey. It is the love for my Father to keep his legacy alive by sharing his stories with others, and letting the world know that a very kind and wonderful man once lived here.