Caution: Caveman Cooking

Recipes so easy, even a … Well, you know!

The Sun Never Sleeps

Posted by Caveman Cooking on February 22, 2010

The New Cave

The New Cave

Today has been a very interesting day for me. I don’t think I have ever experienced such extreme emotional swings as I have today. A day that I was hoping to spend on the proverbial “Cloud 9” … and, for what seemed like the briefest of moments, I was. Today was the day we were supposed to close escrow on our new Cavehold in a lovely area of California known as Thousand Oaks. The excitement and anticipation was palpable. I had even prepared a post to share with you our new abode, that I didn’t want to publish until it was official so as to not “jinx” the whole deal. The phone finally rang and our realtor told us the good news – the house was indeed ours!
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.
Dad & Me

Cavedad & Caveman

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 authored by Caveman. This may be shared and reprinted as long as this entire copyright message accompanies it.

39 Responses to “The Sun Never Sleeps”

  1. Cavewoman said

    I love you babe. This was beautiful.

  2. Glinda said

    Prayers and blessings sent and a {{BIG HUG}} for you and your family.

  3. Glinda said

    And the new cave is just beautiful!!!!!!!

  4. peter miller said

    So sorry to hear about your dad. You just put down the most touching story I have ever read. You are an inspiration to others just like your dad! Congrats on your new home Caveman its gorgeous. Your next stage in life came all at once….bitter sweet. Stay strong! I’ll be praying for you and your dad.

  5. Dear C,
    No one ever leaves this earth,until THEY decide they are ready. Harvey, is in my prayers.

    You’re new beautiful home is forever blessed.
    Huge bear hugs,
    PT & Gaby

  6. bunkycooks said

    Good thoughts and prayers are sent your way. I had 2 parents that both suffered for a long time before their passing. I know what you are going through.

    Enjoy your new home and your family. Keep on cooking and writing. It is incredibly therapeutic.

    Best of luck to you all.

  7. I browse your site and usually don’t post, but your post was so touching I just wanted to say I’m very sorry to hear about your father. My prayers and thoughts are with your family.
    Best of luck on the new cave.

  8. stl cavecousin said

    long time reader, first time commenter… am sitting here with tears in my eyes, wishing there was something better to say than i am sorry and it shouldn’t have to be this way and that i pray for peace (your dad’s in the immediate, as well as that of the whole caveclan, near and far).

    your post was brilliant, a come-to-reality example of the expression ‘life is what happens while you are busy making other plans’… take comfort in those rays of sun, and let them warm you and light your way in the days and weeks of cold, cloudy fog that lay ahead.

    if there is anything we can do here in the 314, don’t hesitate to say the word.

    love and sympathies from the ‘lou

  9. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the Cave family. I lost my dad last year. I’ll be thinking of you. 🙂

  10. A quick update on my dad: Apparently last night he was able to take a couple teaspoons of fluid. While no one is expecting him to “bounce back” at this moment, the doctors are saying now that the end isn’t “immediately imminent”.
    I can’t begin to thank you all enough for your love, support, prayers, and good thoughts. It certainly is helping my family and me to cope with and heal from this ongoing, devastating situation. I’ve always felt that when you truly show care and concern for someone, you become family. So now, you are each a member of the Caveclan … welcome to the family.
    And, thank you, thank you, thank you!

  11. Congrats on the new cave.

    A beautiful post about your father. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  12. Reeni said

    I’m so sorry about your Dad. I went through the same situation with my Grandma not too long ago. I know how heart-wrenching it can be.

    On a better note – congrats on your beautiful new house!

  13. sweetlife said

    I’m sorry that your family is facing such great times but also unknown time, I am super happy you have a great wife- thats what will help you through these troubled times…sending you and your family prayers and hugs!!! Take care

    Love the house- YOU deserve it and may your house be filled with abundant love and laughter….and food posts for us…haha


  14. Hey it’s your Cavepal Doc,
    That was well said. As a doc as well there has been much distance betwen myself and my kids-I remeber them asking why I had to leave and go the hospital and couldn’t stay with them. Your words deeply touched me; I only hope my kids are as understanding as you have been. The timing may not have been great from your perspective, but as a doc who’s watched the suffering of families and patients, perhaps you both went Home that day….
    Hugs and prayers all around

    • Thanks, Doc. It took me some time to figure out why dad did what he did. But, years often bring a modicum of understanding, and I eventually figured it out and came to accept it. Your kids will, too.

  15. You are right… No more cruel disease… for your dad, as well as the family…

    My thoughts are indeed with you

  16. Caveman –

    I am so sorry for the torture you are experiencing. Having experienced both the loss of a father and the treachery of Alzheimers, today, many years later, I remain at a loss of words to express the depth of loss. Further, I feel completely inept at consoling others who face similar circumstances. Only let me say this: those who we love remain with us forever. It sounds trite, but I can only hope that you experience, as I have, the joy of knowing that my father is with me forever, in a peaceful way that he wasn’t during our volatile relationship in life.

    Also, I too have been the beneficiary of the kind and poetic words of PT. And just when I needed it most. We are so lucky to have such a kind and supportive spirit within our blogger midst.

    My thoughts are with you!


  17. Shirley said

    I was just wondering Caveman long time no see, so I dropped by. Now I understand. You’ve taken great courage to do this post. It must have been tough. I understand what you are going through. You are at a crossroad where you have an impending end and a new beginging! You will be in my prayers.
    Btw that comment on that blog was priceless! Very Cavelike! I did comment there.

  18. Dear C,
    Woke up with your dad on my mind this morning. The candle is lit, prayers have been said. Just wanted you to know, he is on my mind and in my heart. Tried to think of all the people he helped and laid hands on. Imagine having helped so many people. Imagine walking on this earth and making a difference. I marvel at what that must be like.

    • PT, you continue to amaze me! Thank you so much!!
      I actually got to meet and know a few of my dad’s patients over the years. He helped people from all walks of life … from a school janitor to the Prince of Morocco. All of them said the same thing: “You’re dad saved my life.” I can’t even imagine what that must have felt like for my father. I just hope he felt a sense of accomplishment for all he did … he truly deserves it.

  19. Chris said

    My family’s thoughts are with your family. The raw brutality of emotions in your words are moving. Godspeed Harvey.

  20. A quick update on dad: Apparently, he has suddenly started swallowing again and has actually eaten some soft food, as well as taken small amounts of fluids. So, for now, he is out of the woods and the hospice folks have left. I know this isn’t a reprieve from the inevitable, and that eventually I will have to face the final reality that awaits. But, I will gladly take this respite and, hopefully, be better prepared for the inescapable verity ahead.

  21. I am here for you and your family buddy!
    I can’t wait to hang with you guys, especially all the kidz!
    And maybe we get some good fishing in as well!
    By the way, the site looks delicious!

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