ophe's promise

something akin to a sketch pad

moon phases
Location: Hawaii, United States

one of my favorite quotes: Be Humble for you are made of earth; Be Noble for you are made of stars.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

My father died in November of this year. He was 89 years old, had been afflicted with Parkinson's Disease as well as a kind of dementia for over a year; he finally succumbed to pneumonia (the gift to the aged). His death was not unexpected and in many ways a blessed ending to his physical and mental trials. Nevertheless, I grieve.

We receive no training in how to attend to the dying; I held his hand, wiped his brow, prayed, and mostly just sat by his side, wishing that I KNEW what he might need from me and how to ease his way. His last words to me were very out of character. I always knew I was his beloved daughter; his delight in all his children and grandchildren was always evident. And so I was shocked, when seeing him struggle to lift both arms and with great effort speak these words, "Go away!". Perhaps he didn't recognize me, perhaps he mistook me for an unwelcome spirit, perhaps, even, he was seeing the Angel of Death in the space near me. More likely, I was guilty of too much "hovering" and "interference". I've tried to forget the moment, but cannot. After all, these were his last spoken words, those words that are expected to carry a meaning beyond the grave? For now, I consider that death is, after all, a very private and solitary moment; no matter how well attended one is by loved ones and/or compassionate care-givers, the moment is one in which the living cannot truly participate.

I expect there will be many more memories of my father appearing in this blog. He left a large legacy of character, decency, and love, to be sure.

I hope that this entry does not in any way tarnish his dignity or legacy and apologize if my words have in any way offended.

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