The Passing Of My Father.

Regardless of what they did or did not do during our lives and even with understanding, acceptance and lack of regret, the passing of a father still leaves a gaping hole in the life of a son.  It leaves one remembering the past and contemplating the future from a whole new perspective.  I am still trying to make sense of it all.

The year 2014, was always going to be memorable, if for no other reason than I will turn 60 midyear.  The passing of my father, just a few months short of turning 91 and just days short of being married to the love of his life for 68 years, has served to elevate 2014 to one of those milestone years by which one measures the passage of time.  My tendency to subject my life to periodic review has been elevated to a new level with this confluence of age and death.

He has been cremated, eulogized and his ashes started on their path to their final resting place in the family plot.  My wife and I traveled from Thailand to Hawaii and back, to say goodbye and deal with the legal formalities of death, yet I still find myself reaching for the phone late morning when I traditionally called my father.  My mother still lingers in her bewildered world of dementia, so was spared the awareness and heartache of loosing her partner.  Fortunately her continued care has been well provided for and the staff where she lives are patient and caring.

It was interesting to hear what others had to say about my father.  Their memories were not mine but isn’t that to be expected.  I was never his student, nor did I ever sit on a board or committee which he chaired.  I knew him as a son knows a father and not in any professional sense, though I was aware of his résumé.  It is easy for children, I suppose, to blame their parents for their own shortcomings.  After all we don’t have much say in how we are raised, but as the years pass, we must take ownership of our lives and the choices we make, realizing that our parents did the best they could.

As a family, we are not particularly open or sharing of our feelings, so I really have no idea how others are dealing with the passing of my father.  A few years back I took to regarding each visit or phone conversation as potentially the last, so for me there is no list of things I wish I had said or done, and no regrets.  The hardest part of his passing has been the bureaucratic dance of death and dealing with the expectations of others who’s beliefs I find quite foreign.

I am not sure what comes next and though I ponder that question endlessly, I seem to be making little progress.  Somehow it doesn’t feel adequate to simply continue the patterns and habits of the past.  Yet I find myself staring at this next page in my life, finding it blank and without direction.  Perhaps I just need time to let things take root in my subconscious mind.  I always seem to find my path and I have no reason to think that is about to change.