Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dad's Death

Its been a while. But we have been distracted. Dad died on Dec. 3, 2010 and I have not been quite the same since. Not sure why. Rather empty I guess. His was an easy death,
if there is such a thing. I tell everyone he slept through it. Which is true. The Veteran's Home nurse called and said they'd discovered him coughing up blood when they were doing their bed checks. They called the ambulance and sent him to the hospital. We caught up with him in the ER. By then he was in a coma and he never did wake up. I'm not sure if he recognized me. The doctors pronounced him terminal and the desires of the his living will kicked in. We returned him to the Veteran's Home where he had been living since New Years day 2010. Four days later he passed away. He never did awaken. We spent most of every day there at his bedside. I've thought a lot about loosing my Dad. But the more I think about it, the more I have come to realize that I had really begun to let him go out of my life when we took him to the Veteran's Home. We visited him almost every day, but it was like he had become someone else. The old Dad who had been my parent had checked out gradually over the past few years. His dementia and liver disease slowly but inexorably changed him into another person. So I don't feel too bad. He died easily and within a short time. We can all hope for such a gentle passing. Both his mother and father had lived into their nineties and Dad had hoped to do the same. I hope he was not too disappointed. Now we're looking forward to burying him and mom this coming summer. Both were cremated and Dad wanted his ashes to be mixed with her's. Some people think this was a lovely idea and others find it creepy. We never did bury Mom because of this. Dad kept her urn on a pedestal there in the living room beside the television for eleven years waiting for him to also die. The urn just became part of the furniture. However there were friends who stopped visiting because Mom's presence in the room made them uncomfortable. We just vacuumed around it and dusted it off. This summer we'll bury the one urn that holds their ashes and that will bring to an end their love story and life together. Until now I have not written anything about Dad except to alert the relatives and family. There's just a persistent emptiness now in my life. I know the passing of time will cure that. At times like this you do dwell on the nature of death and dying and come around to the notion that there's nothing you can do to change it, so you just accept it and move on. I have this image of a table in a dark room and the table is filled with hundreds of those little votive candles. All burning with a tiny flickering flame. Think of them as us. And very quietly you just moisten your fingers and pinch one wick and the candle goes out. But the affect is hardly noticed. The light barely dimmed. And just as easily you might strike a match and start another one or two candles and no one would ever know. I think death is like that. I suppose also this would be a good time to ponder what comes next. Nothing, I think. Despite what various religions try to teach. I just look at nature and observe the cycles of birth, growth and death and rebirth, and that's good enough for me. Animals and plants decay and return to the earth. People do the same. Its the way life works and we're all a part of the natural world. We spread some of Mom's ashes beside the pond and we'll spread some of Dad's there too. We'll think of them when we see the Lady Slippers bloom in the spring.

No comments: