On December 22, 2011 I posted a diary about the struggles in our political and personal lives. As I wrote that diary, I was still absorbing the knowledge that my father was dying. Late on the 23rd, he passed away.
Dad had an apartment at an assisted living facility. On Tuesday, he drove himself to the appointment wherein the Doc put him in the hospital. He had been battling a cold which turned out to be a lung infection. His other health problems snowballed into a full blown crisis the next day and by Thursday night he was gone.
After he passed, my brothers and sisters and I dispersed to celebrate Christmas with our individual families and reconvened on Monday morning to plan a funeral and tie up any loose ends. If you are going to have nine kids, it is really convenient for one of them to be a paralegal who handles a lot of probate cases. My sister had all the paperwork neatly wrapped up. When he moved into the apartment, he had already divested himself of a lot of stuff, so there was very little property to dispose of. He had set up a trust to pay his own funeral expenses. He left us a minivan and a modest life insurance policy.
The day after tomorrow, we will have a funeral.
It will be a long, good day.
You have heard of savants who can solve complex math problems in an instant or expertly play a musical instrument with no training or practice. My Father was a genius of friendship. He had a genuine warmth of spirit and expressed it to everyone he met. This expression of soul was unconscious and effortless, like feeling the breeze on your bare arms. It just seemed to happen without trying. If only his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren came to his wake and funeral, there would be a crowd, but it won't be just his family. He had lots and lots of friends. The friends of his children, the friends of his friends and the friends of his neighbors all became his friends.
Dad didn't leave us a fortune. He left us his life, truly felt and fully lived; Worn a bit at the elbows, like an old, comfortable coat. My family and I will always have that old coat wrapped around our shoulders.
I am not a religious man, though my father was. I don't believe in virgin births and all the sky-god boojum. I guess you could say I'm a semi-closeted atheist. I don't think Dad consciously saw the face of Christ in everyone he met, but he behaved as though he did.
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
Jesus of Nazareth
To honor my parents, I'm going to try to live as if I could see the face of god in others.
That's a god I can believe in.
Thanks to all my kossack friends for the kind comments and good wishes you have expressed.