Four years ago, I was reminded just how fragile life is when my father passed away a day after Christmas following a brief illness. The preciousness of each day was highlighted for me that holiday week.
Holidays often do not turn out how we plan them. Our lives often do not turn out how we plan them.
This year I ended up in the hospital for emergency surgery right before Christmas, and it reminded me of the poignancy of my last holiday season with my father. Soon after I was back at home, I searched for the scrapbook I had made for him and found a piece of writing I had forgotten about.
The piece consisted of hastily written-down comments my father had made and observations I had during that time four years ago. It had been my attempt to capture and remember in writing the spirit of my father as he was leaving this world. . . .
At the end –
He was apologetic
– To me, to my daughter, to my sister (when he was confused and thought I was she)…. for hurting us in anyway.
He was quiet and reflective
– Speaking of his long forgotten friends from high school and remembering that a friend who was Jewish had a hard time socially in their 1940’s community. He admired how his friend had handled it.
He was gently brave
-Trying a Healing Touch treatment offered by the hospital chaplain (My Dad was a 1940’s veteran, not a “new age” type of fellow), he commented afterwards “That was Wonderful!” When the chaplain responded “You’re glowing”, he said “Really? I haven’t been glowing much these days.”
He was sarcastic
– Joking and laughing with the nurses, he liked that they appreciated his wry sense of humor. Speaking of his sister, he said it annoyed him when she sat on his hospital bed without asking. He observed… “She sits on my bed and holds court like Grace Kelly!”
He was peaceful and calm
-Listening to Christmas music we had brought, Ave Maria became his chosen favorite. At one point he asked for us to turn off the music but to . . . “wait till Ave Maria is finished”
He was parental
– Asking my grown daughter when I was out of the room, “I think I know the answer to this question, but is she (meaning me) a good mother?”
My daughter replied “She’s wonderful”
My father replied “I thought so”
He was ethereal
– Lying so still and calm in his bed with his hands folded in prayer position, I often thought he was asleep when he was not. If I would get up to leave the room at these times, he would suddenly open his eyes and say “Just sit with me…” I think he wanted that peaceful protection of someone you trust watching guard while you rest.
He was illuminated
-Letting the burdens and hurts of this world pass from him, he reached out with the deep inner love that is within us all
Love you Dad! Miss you!
Life is Fine,