Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Saying Goodbye to my Father

My father passed away this morning.   My mother and I were at his bedside telling him we'd be ok and care for each other.  He was 70.

My parents met when they were 17 and I was born when my mother and father were 19.

I've known him for nearly 51 years.

The community recalls him as the kindest most giving lawyer in Southern California.

To me he was a mentor, a friend, and an inspiration.

He told me a story about my early childhood.   When I was two years old, I was playing in the backyard of my grandparents home in Iowa.   I fell on grass and began crying.   It was not injured in any way.   He watched the incident and decided not to run over and console me.   Instead he let me brush myself off, realize that I could fall, and in a self reliant way recover from it myself.   Within a minute I was ok and back at play.   He taught me resilience by being a safety net but letting me find my own way.

In the entrance to my parent's home, there's a woodcut of Don Quixote.   Today, my father's unused cane leans against the wall.   I was struck by the resemblance of the lance held by the Man of La Mancha to my father's Leki walking stick.   Despite 23 years of multiple sclerosis, with the loss of walking and difficulties with activities of daily living, my father always dreamed the impossible dream.    He built a Japanese garden, he turned compost, he grew vegetables, he maintained the house, and continued to build/tinker until the end.

Some have commented that only a cruel god would afflict such a kind man with multiple sclerosis, myelodysplastic syndrome, and severe coronary artery disease.   However, my father was stubborn and met the adversity head on.   He refused pain medications for dental procedures and declined anesthesia for colonoscopies.   He made the best of every day no matter what cards life dealt him.

I will miss him but he will always be a part of me and inspire me to new levels of equanimity and endurance.

Goodbye Dad.  I love you.


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