Yesterday, my dad lost another good friend to the inevitable thing we call time. The man who passed away was a partner to my dad on the police force. He was very kind, funny, loving, and a top-notch friend to dad. Since they are both approximately the same age, my dad’s gears began to turn. I could hear the dread in his voice, and see the sadness in his eyes. My mom passed away 15 years ago from complications to asthma. My father was devastated. Unlike lots of families today, they stuck together even when times were tough. He pressed on living his life and moving to a new home in order to minimize the reminders of my mom. I have since married and divorced, had one child that my mom would never know, and we all settled into a relatively normal life. A couple months back, a childhood friend of my dad died suddenly, and it brought up all of the old fears once again. Dad is now facing the age old process of wondering who is next and the fear of death.
A few years after my mom died, my dad developed diabetes and had to begin taking medicine. Several years ago, I got him to the hospital in the nick-of-time, where it turned out he was in the early stages of congestive heart failure, due to extreme water retention from his medications. Dad has not been in the best of health. He is 79 years old and he has smoked since he was 15. He has survived colon cancer when he was 47, a mild heart attack in his late fifties, diabetes, and congestive heart failure, but he remains strong, still lives on his own, and still drives.
I am trying to spend as much time with him these days, especially after several of his friends died. He is afraid and he is sad to let go of people he has known all of his life. Now, another one, out of the blue. I cannot say how it feels, as I have not yet had to face the loss of so many people in my life to the spectre of death. I suppose it is impossible to know until I reach old age. I think of my dad’s generation growing up in the 40’s and 50’s. The hard work and dedication they showed that is a mere legend in todays world. A world where things were not so fast and complex. A world where a promise was a promise and a handshake meant something. I guess in many ways, I fear too, but my fear is the future where my child has to grow up and face a cruel and hostile world.
“Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”