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Friday, February 10, 2006

How Lucky can You Get?

It's been a long time since my last post. On the 29th of October my father died. While this was not unexpected as he had been failing for the past few years, it has left me without the urge to write. I want to write about him, but I can't determine what it is I want to say.

The way it seems to be today is that everything can, must, should be put into words 'somehow'. The concept that there are some events or situations which are really and truly beyond words is not easily understood, let alone accepted.

Bill John
Samuel William John (Bill) was no ordinary man. He loved his wife, his family, his friends -- and tried to love his enemies. He was/is a devout Christian and tried harder than most to live up to his beliefs. He loved music: the opera, the concerto, the symphony, the ballet, Tanglewood. He wasn't really crazy about food -- he didn't like cheese, fish or mushrooms! He loved pepperoni pizza, in spite of the mozzarella!

He loved to talk, to laugh; he also love the Baltimore Oriols, the New York Giants Football team and was a staunch Democrat. He loved books -- possibly he loved books more than he loved reading them! It seemed to me there was not anything he could not do. He was the plumber, the decorator, electrician, roofer, painter, golfer, baseball and football enthusiast, actor, opera singer, theologian, layreader, teacher, campground manager, outdoorsman, chauffeur and photographer, for a start! He was an English teacher and a librarian.

But for me, he was my inspiration. The one it was most important to please. He was also my comforter when things went wrong -- sometimes life-changing events, sometimes just the everyday. I always felt he understood -- even when he didn't 'understand' exactly. Even when his advice was taken -- exactly.

For a long time we thought he was suffering from Altzheimer's Disease, which in fact he was not. He was a victim of a series of 'mini-strokes' which slowly ebbed the life out of him. He also lost the sight of one eye through a botched cataract operation several years ago. About two years ago it was discovered that he had Macula Degeneration in the other eye and so he was virtually blind. Most of all he was tired -- a fatigue that finally and irrevocably incapacitated him. He was 87 years old when he died, and for him death was a release. We were all ready.

My mother was a 'star' through all of this. He was 'the love of my life' she always would say -- she still says. They were each other's best friend and soul mate. I had planned to visit them two weeks after he died, but was prepared to buy another ticket and fly in for the funeral service. My mother was quite surprised and said she had already planned to have a 'memorial' service a few days after my arrival in two-weeks time and it really wasn't necessary to change my plans, but I could if I felt it was really necessary. She had decided to have a short (five minutes) service at the graveside where his ashes were to be interred -- but absolutely everyone -- except immediate family -- was forbidden to come!

Her Rector explained that 'your mother has been through a very long Lent, and she is ready for Easter!

So it has been sad, but a 'release'. Now we remember him as he was before the ravages of time and age took their toll from him. In those last years he was so tired and rarely smiled. It was especially difficult for him when he had to stop driving. That seemed to take the wind out of his sails and I wasn't very understanding when he explained that was why he was depressed. But he didn't go on about it -- he only said it once.

I grew up with parents who not only loved their children but loved each other. They were not perfect, but they were/are the finest parents that I know about. I was well into my adulthood when I discovered how envious my friends had been of me because of the parents that I have. Always there for us, accepting even when they couldn't understand.

You can't get luckier than that.

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