The Sun Never Sleeps
Posted by Caveman Cooking on February 22, 2010
Although my son was in school, my daughter had the day off. So, the Cavewoman and I decided the three of us would go out for a celebratory lunch at our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, Habyit in West LA. I even had planned to take some pictures and do a write up of this great family-run bistro.
But, suddenly, I was rocked to the core of my soul and rudely shaken from my moment of bliss. Just as we finished placing our order my cell phone rang … it was my step-mother. She and my father have been married for nearly 31 years. He was a brilliant research doctor and Chief of Hematology at the National Institute of Health (NIH) for over 30 years until about 1997 when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. You might have seen his story chronicled on an edition of Frontline on PBS a couple of years ago, or just this past year on an ABC Nightly News feature.
Personally, I couldn’t think of a more cruel disease for a man who’s intellect was the one most important thing to him in his life. That cerebral, academic drive created a distance between us, yet saved and lengthened so many lives. I have always understood, but didn’t always graciously accept, that chasm in our relationship. I knew deep down that it was necessary for the “greater good”. And, despite the distance we had to travel to be part of each other’s lives, or to attempt to see life through the same eyes, the love we had for one and other was never questioned.
For the last 10 years or so, my father hasn’t really known who I was; he seemed to loose all communication skills about five years ago; and, even though there were occasional brief moments of distant recognition of what was being said to him, he seemed to have already left this world quite some ago. So, when that phone rang today, and my step-mother told me that my dad had stopped eating and drinking over the weekend, I probably should have been better prepared. I probably should have viewed his impending passing as a kind of blessing, a release from his mind-clouded prison. I probably should have thanked the powers that be for finally giving my father, step-mother and entire family some long overdue relief. Instead, however, I was selfishly devastated by the thought of losing a parent, and angry that the moment of home-purchase rapture we had worked so hard for the past year had been sullied by this sad news.
I excused myself from lunch, telling my wife to go ahead and finish, headed to the car to shed a few tears for my dear old Dad, and called the Cavemom to inform her of her first husband’s short fututre. I cursed the powers that be and started making plans with myself to wallow in sorrow the rest of the day. Of course, being the wonderful person she is, the Cavewoman ignored me, got everything wrapped up, paid the bill and was in the car with my daughter consoling me in what seemed like about a minute or so. That was my first inkling that I needed to get past myself and my regrets and tend to the many other parts of my life that need care and attention. I finished my conversation with my Mom, who said she’d readily accompany me to St. Louis (dad’s 1st hometown) when it comes time for the funeral, and felt even more balanced.
Then, after picking up my son at school (itself a life affirming act on many levels), I decided I better check my e-mail. And, there it was! A kind, generous gesture from a near complete stranger that fully opened my eyes. I received word from PT of the blog ptsaldari that she was using a recent comment of mine on her blog as an actual post. I clicked the link, read the words she wrote, and was amazed to feel a smile come across my face and warmth enter my heart on a day I thought neither would be possible. It reminded me that no matter how thick the cloud cover may be, the sun never stops shining. It works it’s tail off just to try and get one ray of light past the darkness. And, here I am, surrounded by all these rays of light from family, friends, and even people I’ve never personally met, and how lucky I am to have them show me a way out of the emotional abyss I found myself in.
If you have a prayer or good thought to share, please send it to my dad, Harvey, for a quick and easy passing. His suffering is long overdue to come to an end. I’m still a bit shell shocked, but I’ll be fine. I’m sure when the next call comes it will be hard, though being prepared will most likely help a bit. I’ll certainly take comfort in the knowledge that the sun never sleeps, and my personal rays of light are all around me if I just keep my eyes open.
©2010 Caution: Caveman Cooking/UHearMe, Inc. All rights reserved. This originally appeared on the Caution: Caveman Cooking blog at http://cavemancooking.net authored by Caveman. This may be shared and reprinted as long as this entire copyright message accompanies it.