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.