Posted by: HAT | June 10, 2014

Universal Human Experiences

a button saying "to remember is to work for peace" with the logo of the Mennonite Central Committee

We designated the Mennonite Central Committee, which helped our grandparents when they were refugees in China 1929-1930, to receive any memorial contributions for Dad

Hi, Gang,

Dad did not get better. The “last good day” – what I’ve learned from seeing the movie The Fault in Our Stars is a “convention of the cancer genre” – was Friday, May 16. It was a good day, perhaps coincidentally my birthday, and I think we did notice that we were alive, after all.

Dad died 12:48 a.m. June 2. He had transferred to hospice. If I could change the past, in a small way, instead of the larger way I might really want to change it if I were not constrained to be realistic at all, I would change the ratio of icu days to hospice days. Hospice was so beautiful and delightful it was almost unreal. Flowers, birds, deer, sunlight, space, no monitors, … I wish Dad had been able to enjoy that situation a little bit more than he did.

The 10th anniversary of my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary party, which was sort of Mom’s last really good day, was May 29. Again, perhaps coincidentally. But honestly, I’m not betting on that.

I am getting old, so I have been trying to take seriously the truism “we will all die.” Especially since I was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago – a very very quiet form of lymphoma it turns out, so not really anything to worry about, just enough to make me notice I was driving to WalMart for a few days, and to realize that I wouldn’t really do anything differently after all if I had my life to live over again. But for some reason, I hadn’t spent much time reflecting on the obvious corollary, “all of our parents will die.” Until now.

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