Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Death and Dying

I'm reminded this week of how much time we don't have.  I know a lot about loss and death.  My husband works with patients at the end of life.  This does not make things more comfortable or easy when hearing about a friend's mother who, quite suddenly, lost her life.  I'm certain it was all a frightening blow-as if the wind had been sucked out of the universe.  I actually CAN imagine how my friend feels, yet each situation is unique.  The best I can do right now is sigh and share her tears, I guess.

In many ways I have let the death of each of my parents define me.  It's not as if I wander around in a state of despair, yet those events are constantly with me.  I was sharing a conversation with the aforementioned friend this week, and she said "How do we keep them alive for our children?  How do we make sure they remember and know who they were?"  I was struck with a sudden wave of sadness.  I always imagined that my children would go to Pop and Grammy's house in Oklahoma, just like we went to Grandma's house in Illinois.  They'd enjoy having Pop tickle them and "getcha getcha getcha."  That's the problem with expectations I guess.  We're not promised anything.  But, in keeping my mom and dad's spirit alive, we look at a lot of pictures, tell stories, and do the best to live our some of their character in our own lives.  There's no shortage of a wonderful heritage!  I have the added bonus of having a wonderful step-mom, two living grandparents, aunts and cousins and a crowd of friends who have become family.

Because my mother's various illnesses were very long and drawn out, I'm  much more at peace with her passing.  It's my dad that troubles me.  He neglected his own health concerns (diabetes) to take care of mom, and his illness (in my estimation and from what I can understand) was preventable.  He may have still wound up on dialysis and in renal failure for all I know.  He and I had a special relationship.  In addition to being "dad's girl," in the days and months following my mother's death we bound ourselves together as a team and fought the demons of grieving.  In many ways I was an adult before I was a child.  Perhaps he leaned on me too much.  I do not fault him for this...the man lost his wife.  We took on life and did the best we could with it.  I praise God for Laura (step-mom).  When she came to our home, we had a place to rest, and a confident woman with whom to re-build our home.

I miss him every day.  I try not to wear it on my sleeve--you know, posting on FB and whatnot, though I could.  I feel like I could.  I still need to call him.  I need his advice.  I need him to make me laugh.  Though now, I get that advice and laughter from past events instead of present interactions.  I call to mind his academic approach to scripture; his practical approach to life situations; his creative nature in regard to literature and the arts; his love affair with music.  He was the first person to serve me a cup of coffee, the first person to tell me I was pretty, the first person to play the Beatles for me.  He made a lot of mistakes, too, and a lot of things I don't want to repeat.  But, these days, I think about those things less and less.  He was just a man, dealing with his life in the best way he knew how.  Right now, I smile thinking how he'd adore his 3 granddaughters and his grandson.  I'm pretty sure he'd be over the moon, telling them (as he did me) that God took blue from the sky and blue from the ocean and made our blue eyes (okay, now a tear).

I love you, Poppie.  Hallelujah for legacies.  "We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses..."


Annie said...


LW Warfel said...

You are a beautiful testament to their love for each other and you. Thankful every day that God gave me the gift of you, Scott, and Will and your families!

LW Warfel said...

You a wonderful testament to their love for each other, the Lord, and you. Thankful every day for the gift of you, Scott, and Will and your families in my life.