Wednesday, November 11, 2009
"All things in their time..." - November 13, 2004
The past couple of days, I have been thinking about my late father. The date of his passing did not readily jump into my mind. Kinda strange I guess. I found myself searching through the morbid stack of funeral parlor cards that I keep. You know the ones that you get at each funeral. I have them stacked in my dresser drawer along with the church programs from the day. I looked through the whole stack and remembered each person that had a card, Friends, Grand Parents, Aunts and Uncles, neighbors, and lodge brothers.
I could not find his and I could not remember the date. I know that he passed around this time in November, but the exact date escaped me. Does that make me a bad son ? Maybe. But I try not to dwell on death, even my father's. Death is as important as birth, and probably just as trying on the individual, in my humble opinion. Death or "transition" is really a beautiful thing. Really. I can truly say that because I had the honor of holding two close relatives hands when they transitioned this earth. My father's and my Mother-In-Law's. One moment they are here, the next, not. A truly moving experience in every sense of the word. But I don't dwell on it, ever.
The events of my life "re-aligned" the week of his death. The day that he passed, was my last day at a 20 year career at AT&T. It all seemed to come down at once. It happened the same way for my brother too. He lost his job of 15 years with a few weeks. But these types of things have a way of working out in the "Grand Design" of it all. If it where not for both my brother and myself being laid off, we would not have had the time to organize his home for sale and settle his estate properly. We needed that time, to work through our grief, our loss. It was a "Grand Design".
Most people have the opportunity to live a long and fruitful life. To see their children grow and marry, to see grand children born, to see the fruits of your life's labors flourish. But tragically, some do not. Some children are not long for this world. Truly heart wrenching. One always asks "Why?". Why would God allow an innocent to be born with cancer ? Why would a benevolent God allow someone to die suddenly when some much life is yet to be lived ? No one knows the answer. Is there really a God then ? A God that would allow such things to exist ? Each man must answer that for himself. To find God. To "forgive" God. Or not.
Families who have endured this type of tragedy sometimes question their faith in the midst of such overwhelming grief. Some times they find their faith, ofttimes they loose it. They seek help from their church leaders, their synagogues, their friends. But no one can answer the call of grief. It is a grief that must be endured. Or not.
My father endured this type of grief in his life. Twice. With two sons and again with his wife. He endured and pulled the family in. He was the silver cord that connected and held the family together. Pulled tight. The family made it. We endured in our own way. But each of us carry with us, some remnant of the death experiences through our lives daily. It effects they way you live on a subconscious level, how you handle things. Are we afraid of living ? The better question is, "Are we afraid of dying ?". I for one, am not because of these experiences. Death is a "Grand Illusion".
As much as I miss my father's physical presence, I still carry with me daily the thoughts of him. I find myself looking, sitting and sounding like him more each day. I catch myself. Funny really. But my father was not one of those "touchy-feely" kind of fathers. I can not remember a time when he said that he loved me. I know he did in his way, but it would have been OK to hear it. But that was not the way he rolled.
The last few weeks of my father's challenge with cancer, brought the family together in a different way. We saw my father as vulnerable and dependent. He did not like it, at all. But he enjoyed eating my omelettes for breakfast and being around the family. We enjoyed him too. Great memories amongst the pain.
I know that at some point he knew that he would die soon. I know it. I could tell by his light. But this meat suit that we walk around in every day during this life time is truly vulnerable. Vulnerable to stress, to "dis-ease", to outside circumstance. Some of these things we have the power to change, to make a difference in our own lives. By eating better, by not being angry, by letting go of stress, and most importantly, by loving. Love heals all. Always. But sometimes, death happens unexpectedly to the most vulnerable, to the most innocent. Its' the way, sometimes.
My brother asked me once "Why Dad could not beat the cancer ?", seeing that he was always studying metaphysical things. I can't answer that. I don't know. The reality is that it was his time. His last words to me when I told him that I loved him and that I did not want to see him die, was "All things in their time".
Time is all we have as humans, this man made object of our stress and worries. It does not really exist. But our brains need order, need structure. "Timelessness" is too hard to grasp, but it exists, in each of us. The truly "advanced" amongst us have tapped into this timelessness. I think Dad did. It allowed him to "Let Go and Let God".
Let go and God will.