Friday, December 11, 2009

My Father's Passing

December, 2005

Hidden away on a hill in Harbor Springs, is a memorial garden.  While no one I know has ashes sprinkled here, I can feel the spirit of those who have gone before me.  It is a contemplative garden, one I truly welcome.

I’ve just returned from a weekend at New Melleray Abbey where I renewed my commitment to live a Cistercian Life in the world. Like my father, I am searching for the Truth. Unlike him, I’m searching for the Truth in living, while I think he was searching for the Truth as Knowledge.

I haven’t gone through all his papers yet, I thought I would, and was anxious to do so, but when I got home, I found myself without the energy to think about his struggle. I was excited to find all his journals secreted away in the piles of boxes in his room, but now they sit in boxes my room, waiting vainly for me to read them. I think it is my way of mourning his passing.

For my mother, it was a gift that he waited until their 64th anniversary to leave her. For the Michigan families he gave another gift, that of a wonderful weekend, filled with father and grandfather he was. For me it was a reprieve. Merry, Zach, Anna, and I last visited on Labor Day Weekend. I had planned to take a week from school, and visit the week after their anniversary. I had watched my own husband die, and didn’t want to see my father die, so God spared me, if spared is the right word.

I spent July in Michigan with my parents. Daddy continually complained about gas. Before my visit he saw the local doctor who said it was his heart and gave him tablets, which Daddy refused to take because it was gas not his heart. I tried to get him to go into Acute Care at the hospital, but as he told Momma later, he didn’t want to “spoil” my visit. Even after the first hospitalization, Daddy argued that the doctors were wrong. But the next time he was hospitalized he no longer argued.

I hate funerals and open caskets, but my brother, Frank, gave a beautiful eulogy, and as I faced my father, I realized he was truly gone. I think this is the first funeral where I realized the God spark was gone from the body. There was nothing there to tease or be teased by, there was only the shell, and Daddy was now experiencing the Truth he spent his life seeking.

For me, and those of us living, it is necessary to visualize that God spark at the center of all beings. That is the way to peace. If we saw the God spark in all of us, there would be no way to hate, nothing to argue about, no cruelty only love, as we saw everyone as a sister or brother.

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