Friday, September 18, 2009

This Birth That We Call Death

Earlier today I received a call from my late husband's sweet sister, Marsha, to inform me that my beloved Daddy-in-law is rapidly failing, both mentally and physically.  We've known for some time that he was easing away from us with Alzheimer's and now, his body is catching up with his mind. I tell you this, because I have already begun the grieving process.  

When I returned home from my granddaughter, Maddie's birthday party tonight, I had a message on my machine from Marsha's Jon, letting us know that Dad has taken a turn for the worse, that they don't expect him to live much past the weekend, if that long. My heart is so heavy and yet, I am buoyed up when I visualize the joyful reunion with his wife, whom he adores, his son Michael who adores him, and others that have gone before. 

My wise friend, Virgie, once confided in me that she thinks of death with parallels of the birthing process.  Some departures from this frail existence happen slowly and methodically, while others can be so untimely and quick that there is little time to take it all in. Her husband, for instance, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, in the middle of the night, just as many babies have come into this world.  But I think of my mother's passing; gradual and predictable, not unlike an infant, making that difficult passage through the birth canal, with our knowledge that a grand event is eminent.  Now, I never fail to think about the comparison of childbirth, when faced with the parting of a loved one.

The irony is, today we celebrate several birthdays other than Maddie's.  My brother-in law, John, was born on this day and more recently, my beautiful granddaughter, Amelia Grace. Our friends, the Ashtons, presented us with a brand new baby girl this week.  My husband, Mike died on his daughter Tracie's birthday and I lost a cousin yesterday to cancer. It is no wonder that in preparation for death, our thoughts are appropriately drawn toward the connection with new life.   

Tonight, I savor the cherished memories I have of this extraordinary man that I have loved and admired from the very first introduction.  Dad would be 90 years old in November and I am aware that nobody is getting out of this world alive, but I often find comfort in the following quote I'll have to paraphrase . . .

"Aren't we grateful that God doesn't leave the details up to us?  When, oh when, would we ever be willing to let go of those we love?"  I am hoping I will have time to visit Dad once more, even though he no longer knows me or will even know that anyone is there at all.  This, I do for me.

1 comment:

Chelle said...

I enjoyed seeing Grand-daddy with you today. Thinks for being with me! And thanks for all of your efforts in helping make this weekend a hit! Love you!