And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then
Mar 28 2010
Thanks For The Ball, Dad
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
When was the last time you visited him?
that is the sweetest photo.
I am so sorry to learn of your loss. I sincerely hope that you and your family will be able to find much comfort and strength during the times that lie ahead.
My dad passed on a year ago July (2008), after a lengthy period of decline. The mourning process continued for an extended period of time as all that defined the person I had known and loved for decades gradually faded away. Despite what seemed like a long time to prepare for the inevitable, when the end came, it was still a shock to the system.
One of my first thoughts at that time was that the world would never seem quite the same again. And it won’t.
Although considerable distance separated us, I saw him as often as I could, and was grateful for those flashes of his former persona that occasionally surface. At some point, I realized that even though he was still alive, with reasonably good physical health, I would no longer answer my phone, holding the receiver (as a precaution) several inches away from my ear, since his voice was such that he never needed a P. A. system.
In his world, absolute accuracy was no substitute for dramatic effect. His stories would change from one time to the next, so I would compare all the versions he provided of a given event over time, and split the difference between them. During a eulogy I gave at his memorial service three months later, I shared that I was one of the earliest believers in global warming, as the winters I knew were nowhere near as cold nor the snowdrifts as deep as the were when he was a child. This tendency was far more amusing than annoying, and I now reflect upon that quirk as one of his most endearing charms.
Although I continue to miss him ver much, the waves of grief are less frequent and overwhelming. As time passed, I was better able to recall events from the past and chuckle about them, a welcome change.
Imagining your pain reminds me so much of where I was a little under two years ago, and what that journey has been like since then. There was much that I discovered along the way that seemed to help. Although my immediate instinct is to try to ease your pain, and to offer suggestions, you may not be there yet. But you will be.
That said, I feel compelled to offer two suggestions that I think must be stated now.
One is that others, trying to be helpful, may attempt to help cheer you up, in an effort to ease their grief as well as yours. And what may have worked well for them may not be what you need, at least right now. It can be tempting to seek shortcuts through the grief, and although we can benefit from that which others share with us, this is a passage that we must, in some sense, take individually, in our own time, manner and pace. If we listen carefully to our heart and mind, it will help to guide us through that which lies ahead.
The second is that others, sometimes in knee-jerk fashion, discard items that remind them of their loved one. Fortunately, I did not do this, and have discovered that certain items that remind me of him have become much more precious with the passage of time. If it is too difficult to have those items where you’ll see them every day, they can always be placed in storage, either at home or with a friend, until you can make a decision that you’ll be able to live with for the long haul.
At some point in the future, when the time is right, if you post an essay to that effect, I, and I’m sure that many others in your DD community would gladly share what they found the most helpful in adjusting to the loss of their loved one(s). Some of it may be helpful to you, and for those suggestions that are not, perhaps they will be to someone else facing a similar situation.
Don’t ever forget that we care, Edger. We are here, and are not going anywhere. Many of us have leaned on you in the past. Please don’t hesitate to do likewise.
My most heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family.
He’s in his 60’s, now. Today we went for breakfast and then went to get a pair of lazy boys we found on craigslist for $200.00.
Yesterday afternoon he fell asleep after not being very talkative all day, and never woke up. He just drifted away in his sleep about 7 pm, I’m told with a painless and peaceful expression on his face.
This morning I got up and sat and thought for a few minutes about what I felt, and realized that mostly I felt relief and happiness for him that he would no longer be in any pain and the suffering part was finally over.
I called my family and found that their feelings were about the same.
Knowing dad, he’s probably 18 again and has got a table up front near the stage by now where he can see those angels up close – metaphorically speaking 🙂
And the wheel keeps on turning…
Interesting place, this universe:
I just came back from a visit to the grave sites of some of the victims of the Triangle Shirt Factory Fire. A new head stone was dedicated to one of the victims. The Rabbi who spoke was most eloquent about death which can come in many ways but inevitably will come for all of us one day. I am glad that your Father passed so peacefully, Edger. My deepest condolences to you and your family.
May the Goddess guide your Father on his journey to the Summerlands. May you, your family and your friends find Peace.
Blessed Be, TMC
my sincere condolences to you and your family, edger.
I am a mess of feelings that I can’t express right now.
I want to somehow honor the deepness and sadness and wonder and relief of your dad’s passing but words are failing me.
So I’m going to go walk the dog with your dad and you and my ever present mom thoughts in mind. Things are blooming.
I know what you are going through and the many mixed emotions you feel. I am sorry your dad got sick, and I am happy for you and him that he isn’t sick any more. Your dad and the memories will always be in your heart.
ahead of me wearing those green work pants and think of my dad with a gripping intensity.
I am of an age older than my father was when he passed. Older – imagine that.
He was a child of the depression – it affected his whole life and mine. That’s what makes me furious about this economic depression – people’s minds,spirits break. He was so smart – but had to quit high school to work.
May the eternal light shine upon your father, Edgar – and comfort to you.
they’re totally aeppenin in a far out way.
May he rest in peace and all blessings bestowed upon him!
All condolences to you, Edger!
something tells me there are many more memories. i am glad to learn that your father passed peacefully and that he is no longer in pain.
reading through all of these beautiful comments has been a journey. curmudgeon’s thoughtful contribution has resonated with me, bringing the past few years since i lost the man in my life to the front of my mind. we all process differently, but i agree about sharing stories and memories. when tony was still here roaming the globe, i had not met his family in nz. after he died we began emailing each other asking questions, telling stories, filling in the blanks. even his exwife in sydney and i became friendly. it kept him alive for us all and still does. these days i stalk his children’s facebook pages, loving seeing them blossom and become more and more like their erudite and charming father. i know just how proud he would be/must be. his sister in nz sent the following to me not long after he died:
i walk with tony still and probably always will.
not terribly long after he died, a friend told me about a woman she knew who could help you to get past the grief, could somehow wipe it away. i said no. for me to erase the grief would be to erase him. it was a difficult time, and i agree with another friend who says that after a death of someone like a partner or a parent, you go crazy for awhile, but i would not negate it. for all of the foggy days when i wandered aimlessly through tears, there was a memory that made me smile. i treasure all of them.
i hope you share more of your memories as the days unfold and give to others the good your father has given to you. big hug to you, edger.
they’ve gone, but we know we’ll miss them, and hope we’ll see them again in a better world than this.
You and your family are in my thoughts, Edger.
From Margery Williams, “The Velveteen Rabbit”
As therapy for a world of wounds in 1968, I went home to my Mother’s for a few months of healing. Christmas happened during those months, and I spent several weeks making Xmas cards with this quote.
My Mother, Kay, happened upon a poster with the same quotation on it, a graphic art work by Corita Kent. Mother got it for me and gave it to me for Christmas that year.
I still have it, and have just hung it in my new apartment even though it is quite shabby now and most of its paint has been worn off. But that doesn’t matter because when I look at it, I feel the love of my mother and remember what life is really about.
Thank you, Edger, for sharing your love and life and pain and affirmations with us.
Hopefully, these poems and music might provide some measure of comfort, if not now, perhaps then later…
When my dad passed away in July, 2008 in Texas, where he’d resided since 1982, he was more than a thousand miles distant from the area where he and I were raised, in the Upper Midwest. Both locations were some distance from my residence in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps it was a middle age crisis, however, he moved elsewhere for the first and only time in his life at fifty years of age.
The memorial service was scheduled for about three months later, allowing plenty of time to plan and coordinate with others from the town he’d left behind more than a quarter of a century earlier. This was also the area where most of our relatives still lived.
The service was held at the Lutheran church to which we’d belonged so many years ago, and where he’d served as the president of the congregation in the late 1970s. The pastor, church and community were all quite conservative. Although I attempted to include other family members in the planning of the service, they seemed very comfortable with letting me handle those details.
Two of the readings I’d proposed were vetoed by the minister, one a Sanskrit proverb and the other by Kahlil Gibran (who, according to the minister, was concerned that he didn’t have a “Christian sounding name”, despite my reassurances that Gibran had been described as a Maronite Catholic), but he did agree to allow me to read a memorial written by Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Here’s banned reading #1:
Look to this Day
Look to this day, for it is life,
The very life of life,
In its brief course lies all the realities
And verities of existence:
The bliss of growth, the splendor of action,
The glory of power.
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision.
But today, well lived, makes every yesterday
A dream of happiness!
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!
Here’s banned reading #2:
An excerpt on Death from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran
“THEN Almitra spoke, saying, We would ask now of Death.
And he said: You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of Death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”
Here is the one that the minister allowed, written and delivered by Canon Henry Scott-Holland, while at St Paul’s Cathedral as part of a sermon in May 1910 following the death of King Edward VII. The minister was probably unaware that Scott-Holland championed issues of social justice.
Death Is Nothing At All
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
Canon Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral
And here is one of the songs that was used during the service, the tune (which might sound familiar) from Antonin Dvorak’s “New World Symphony”, inspired in the 1890s by what he saw when he visited this country, spending a considerable amount of time in a small Czech community in northeastern Iowa. This song, to me, encompassed all that I hoped for my dad, and for all who have already or will someday embark on that same journey to that special place which lies just beyond the horizon…
What a great photo Edger. I’m sorry about you losing your dad. I’ve been through it and it’s really hard. I don’t know why, but one thing that always comforts me when someone I love passes away is the knowledge that, in a 100 years or so, we’ll all be dead. I know it’s bizarre. But that actually makes me at peace with it. Maybe it’s a peer response – “Hey, everybody’s doin it”.
Or maybe it’s just remembering that we’re all renters here. The other thing that gives me comfort, and this applies to all things including the nightmare of national politics and all its consequences, is just looking out in space.
Love the picture.
And I love you.
But you know that … 🙂
Here’s to your dad and to his fine son.
and dad’s and love. Did you take the picture? Peace to you, and your family Edger. The loss of a parent is very hard as they are your past present and future all rolled into one relationship. Both you and your son are part of your dad’s life and he is always yours. I found after the grief my relationship with my mom continued and grew because the part that mattered continues to teach me and helps foster love and healing. My sincere condolences, Edger, you are a fine son and your Dad left a legacy to be proud of.
My dad died a
few weeksa month ago, and I don’t really have much to say.
I hope you have great memories.
Mine are a bit mixed.
I just want to say thank you all very much for all the great comments and thoughts here, and especially to everyone who I haven’t replied directly too please know that you are appreciated just as much. I’ve been really busy with family stuff and with trying to catch up after now being about a week or so behind in my school schedule that I just wasn’t able to get here much yesterday, but I’ve been reading while you’ve been commenting.
What a great group of people! And thanks to Buhdy for bringing everyone together here.
I’m off to school now… keep on truckin’, eh? 🙂