Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jack Wind 1919 - 2007

Exactly one month ago today my father died. He was two weeks shy of turning 88. The death of my mother 6 years ago was as painful as anything I can remember. We were known for our difficult relationship and her death signaled the end of any chance that it could feel resolved on this earthly plane. My relationship with my father was not that fraught. He was passive in his dealings with people. It might be said that his motto was "Peace at any price". It was not until he developed dementia that I saw the side of him that was willing to aggressively stand his ground and do so with words I did not know he knew. How I wished he had stood up to her like that rather than the caregivers who did not deserve it.
Michelle, the closest to a sister I will ever have, called to say he would not last the day. I arrive in Brockton by 2:30 and go straight to the hospital. I spend the time talking to him, singing softly every old song from his era I can remember. I am in a time warp. By 7:45 my two brothers, Dad's caregivers and Michelle and her husband Jay arrive. The room is filled. A nurse comes and takes Dad off the respirator. In minutes he was right word comes.
We file out. They all seem so sad and yet, I am not. What is wrong with me? I am relieved for him. I am relieved for my brother, Rick who has born the task of managing Dad's care. He lived fourteen years longer than Beverly, his wife. He got to stay home. He ate wonderful home cooked food. I read the obits and I know that eighty eight (minus two weeks) is up there and then some.
I am shocked to realize that I feel freed from my childhood negative imprints. I have seen a life end and I know that in time it will happen to me. From now on I need to make sure that I minimize decisions made that are colored by fear.
And so it is, a month later. I feel more relief than grief. I have a heightened sense of making sure I experience the fullness of each moment. And more than anything, I want to make certain that the rest of my life is more about gratitude and less about fear.
Blog On!


Chris said...

When one of my Dad's brothers died of cancer, I offered my sympathies, to which Dad said, "No. This is the good news. The bad news was when he was diagnosed." And so it was with my Dad's own ordeal with dementia. There is nothing wrong with you for feeling relieved. That is the recognition that your loved one is released from a horror no one should have to endure. I hope you find great comfort in good memories of him.

Joan said...

"In minutes he was right word comes."----Perhaps At Peace
That's all my father wanted when his time came at age 84. He loved life and lived it well, but was ready to move on and was grateful that the time had come. I still hear him laughing and singing the old Irish songs in the basement of my Aunt Peg's house which is how I coose to remember him.
God Bless you, my caring friend.