80,000-99,999 SparkPoints 96,915

My father's final lesson

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My father is dying. He has been in the hospital or a nursing home since the beginning of September and on Monday I got a call from his companion that he was unresponsive.

"Are you back in the hospital?" I asked.

"There will be no more trips to the hospital" she replied.

Yesterday, I cancelled my classes and my wife and I drove down there. Surprisingly, my father had rallied. He knew who we were and although he was having trouble with speech, he was mostly lucid. It was a gift: I was prepared for him not to recognize me, but instead we talked for several hours and I got to say all those things that one wishes one had the chance to say.

I saw a lot of relatives yesterday and everyone commented on my weight loss and I realized that in part this was my father's last gift to me. Sometimes parents teach by setting a positive example and sometimes they lead by showing us what we don't want to become. My father is a life-long alcoholic and he never ate right nor exercised. The miracle is that he has made it to 80. I certainly hope I got some of those genes from him.

But now as I see him lying there with both his liver and his pancreas shot, and wasting away because his body can no longer absorb food properly, I realize that this is my father's last lesson to me: a clear vision of how I don't want my life to turn out. I'm going for a long walk today in his honor and I will think about all the positive examples he gave me over the years.

Spark on, friends.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    600 days ago
    What a beautiful tribute to him! Watching our parents get older and pass away is tough. I went through that 4 years ago with my mom. She lived to be 81 but had diabetes, osteoporosis that crippled her severely and put her in a lot of pain, and congestive heart failure. She didn't drink, but she never ate right or took care of herself. I don't want to spend my years like she did. Right after she passed away was when I started my journey to get healthy. It was also a gift she gave me. I understand what you are saying. So sorry for your loss.
    1583 days ago
    So sorry for your loss. emoticon
    1586 days ago
    Thanks for sharing this experience. What made this impactful was that you shared the reality, and your reflection, not only the sweet.

    My dad had trouble with alcohol, but it was not so direct a cause of his death. For me, the experience of losing someone who I had mixed feelings about was just as intense as if I didn't. It was just that the feelings I experienced were less "clean".

    Best wishes as you experience your feelings in a often tough time.
    1586 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1588 days ago
    1589 days ago
    I am so sorry for you loss Dancer. How beautifully put. He truly did give you a great gift. I often think of my mom when I swim my mile of laps. She neglected her health and died way too early. I never had the chance to say goodbye. She died suddenly of a heart attack, but I always remember her saying to me " Keep moving, don't stop, don't be like me." Enjoy your walk and keep fighting the good fight.
    1590 days ago
    A warm hand on your shoulder, friend.
    ~ t.
    1590 days ago
    Blessings to you
    1590 days ago
    Stay strong and value the time you have right now. emoticon
    1590 days ago
    Excellent idea, teammate. Good thoughts to ponder too.
    I'm so sorry he is dying. I'm glad you got to spend all that time talking with him.
    It's nice so many relatives commented on your weight loss.
    Walking will be so good for you during these hard days.

    1591 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1592 days ago
    My thoughts and prayers for you and yours. I found some similar things getting my sister though her ending. Lots to learn about how we live being related to how we will end our lives.

    Again, thinking of you and yours at this time.

    1592 days ago
    1592 days ago
  • SKATER787
    Wow, what powerful lessons.
    1592 days ago
  • KATELOSS2009
    what a beautiful tribute to him... you could be angry or upset, but instead, you choose to see him as he is - a fallible human being - and love him no matter what while making sure you honor him (and yourself and loved ones) by making different choices and taking care of his child whom he loves...

    thank you for sharing this with us. I'll pray that the rest of his journey is peaceful...

    1592 days ago
    Sorry about your dad's health. Great way to turn a negative into a positive. No one is perfect. We all have made bad choices at one time or another. But this a great way to deal with this and honor your dad at the same time.
    1592 days ago
    emoticon You are blessed that you got to say what needed to be said.
    My mother's death led me to running, at age 60 no less! We receive unexpected gifts. emoticon
    1592 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/11/2013 2:27:52 PM
    Wow. So positively put. I didn't hear the negativity that I hear in myself when contemplating the example of how not to live of my family members, especially my mother. Thank you for sharing, for being a positive role model.
    1593 days ago
    So sorry for your loss.
    I have been learning many of the same lessons from my 91 1/2 year old mom.
    1593 days ago
    I'm so glad you got to talk to you Dad and have a good visit. Kudos to you for walking your own path and taking the good and bad lessons from him. Hugs to you and I hope his final time is peaceful.
    1593 days ago
    I am sorry to hear about the health of your Dad. Having gone through a similar event with my Mom in August, I know the roller coaster of feelings that are and will be with you. I am happy for your Dad and you for having this time together, for the lessons e imparts on you, and for what you shared with him by being healthier and fitter than you had been.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    1593 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1593 days ago
    My heart is heavy for you my friend. I am so lucky to have my Dad close by. I watch him make unhealthy choices every time I see him. I watched it all my life. I love him with my whole heart and soul and have overwhelming pride when I think of what he has overcome...he feels he has earned those smokes and cocktails...he makes his choices--I make mine. I am grateful that you chose to share with us--we, those of us who still are able, will reach out to our dads tonight to say those important things that need to be said.
    Thinking of you.
    1593 days ago
    1593 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your very important time with your father with this community.

    May the rest of his time on this earth be peaceful.

    1593 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/10/2013 2:58:26 PM
    Prayers to you and your family at this tough time. What a blessing that you have found such a powerful positive message from your father's condition.
    I lost my father almost 30 years ago. And since that time have had the pleasure to hold many a family's hand as they take their final breath. I've learned that life is short and that each moment with our loved ones is a gift.
    Possessions in life can come and go, but our health is something very precious.
    1593 days ago
    You have just made an everlasting impression on my life, my heart goes out to you! You wear your heart on your sleeve, and recognizing mistakes your dad made in his life carved the path you now choose to follow. A very respectful man you are, to use his weakness as a life lesson , speaking of him in an honorable and loving manner in your blog. Take care, enjoy that walk in your minds eye.... and remember that "Life is good". ***SNOW*** emoticon
    1593 days ago
    One lesson I got from my Dad was that "ex-shur-cise" would cure anything from bad hair to a broken heart...walk on, my friend!
    1594 days ago
    How blessed you are my friend! My father died suddenly over 25 years ago and there was so much I wanted to tell him.
    1594 days ago
    This blog makes my heart hurt for you. I'm sorry about your dad. I wish you a sweet walk today.
    1594 days ago
    What a blessing, having time with your Dad at the end. What wisdom you have, to recognize that opportunity and seize it. What good balance, recognizing your Dad's failings but taking lots of time to focus on the blessings he also gave you. Sincere condolences to you and your family as you work through this tough time.
    1594 days ago
    Such a loving, kind, open blog entry. I share the need to walk a different path than my parents, and I wish you peace as you witness your father's last moments. And a beautiful long walk.
    1594 days ago
  • SUNSHINE99999
    my heart goes out to you, but what a vivid lesson. We lost my wife's Dad last year and we had a chance to say goodbye to this dear saint. Blessings to your family through this difficult time. emoticon
    1594 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.