Facebook Comments Leading Up to Dad’s Death

From Craig

Craig, August 11:

Dad slept last night! All night!

(Which means I slept all night!)

Craig, August 12 near San Dimas, via mobile:

Dad’s condition has significantly worsened over the last week and a half. That decline is accelerating. He is in pain, his swallow reflex is going, and he can barely bear any weight as we move him from his wheelchair to bed or a recliner. We decided in consultation with Hospice to confine him to bed and up his dosage of pain and anxiety meds. He has now entered the last major stage of his life.

Craig, August 12 near Glendora, via mobile:

It was unexpectedly emotional buying baby food just now for Dad.

Craig, August 12, via Camera+:


Craig, August 13:

Juan asked me to make a list of ten things I learned from my father. This is the list that I just came up with:

  1. That life is hard.
  2. That we are here to work.
  3. That there are practical solutions to practical problems.
  4. That you sacrifice for the people you love.
  5. That there are bad people in the world.
  6. That you tell the truth even when doing so makes everything harder.
  7. That sometimes you have to do the wrong thing.
  8. That a large number of widely held opinions are dead wrong.
  9. That language is a complex of vivid metaphors.
  10. That there is nothing wrong with silence.

Craig, August 13 near Azusa, via mobile:

The hospice doctor told us this afternoon that Dad probably has less than a week to live. And for the record, Dad was a very loving man who had no idea how to be loving. : )

Craig, August 13 near Azusa:

A wonderful reminder from my friend Jeff of a passage from Kierkegaard’s Works of Love:

“When the couch of death is prepared for you, when you go to bed never to get up again and they are only waiting for you to turn to the other side to die, and the stillness grows around you–then when those close to you gradually leave and the stillness grows because only those closest to you remain, while death comes closer to you; then when those closest to you leave quietly and the stillness grows because only the most intimate ones remain; and then when the last one has bent over you for the last time and turns to the other side because you yourself are now turning to the side of death–there still remains one on that side, the last one by the deathbed, he who was the first, God, the living God–that is, if your heart was pure, which it became only by loving him.”

Craig, August 13 near Azusa, via mobile:

Dad’s fading fast and we’re trying with all of our might to get Bryan and his immediate family here from Minneapolis. About an hour ago we thought we had a few days. My fear now is that it’ll be a few hours.

Craig, August 14 near Azusa, via mobile:

Mom was just singing “I’ll Rise Again” (by someone named Dallas Holmes, she says) to Dad. At least the way she sang it sounded like some old jazz torch song. It was an amazing moment.

Craig, August 15 near Azusa via mobile:

Dad’s holding on.

I think it might have been good to have put this on the list of things I’ve learned from Dad: He has always had a volatile temper. A burst of his anger was like an explosion and occurred sometimes with no warning, like the strike of a snake. But then it was over. If he were in the middle of a project (like working under a car or building something) there could well be a long series of explosions, but each of those, too, was over quickly. He did not hold grudges. And even after something profoundly upset him, angered or disappointed him, he’d adjust to the new situation very quickly. That gave me a strange sense of security. I always believed that I was not living up to his standards, but I also believed that there was nothing that I could do that would make me no longer welcome in his home. That is, gruff, impossible to please, perfectionistic Dad taught me about forgiveness.

Craig, August 15 near Azusa, via mobile:

About two hours ago a friend of ours and fourteen of us, four generations of our family, circled Dad and prayed for him. They were honest prayers of confession and gratitude. Afterwards we talked and laughed both about Dad as a sweetheart and as a jerk. All the while Dad lay there exuding the sickly-sweet scent of death, breathing laboriously, and fading away. It is a beautiful thing to love life, to love those who once lived, to love those who yet live, to love those who soon will no longer live. To love them in all their ambiguity, fallibility, and occasional splendor is to gesture toward a resurrection that defies our banally presumptuous and prideful fantasies.

Craig, August 16:

Dad died between 2:00 and 3:00 this morning. We slowly assembled in the room, prayed around his bed, and, as only our family can, had an intense discussion of 1 Corinthians 15 for an hour and a half, as he lay beside us on his deathbed, while we waited for the mortuary transport to arrive.

Paul also said this to those folks at Corinth and to us: “As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been ‘Yes and No.’ For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not ‘Yes and No’; but in him it is always ‘Yes.’ For in him every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’ For this reason it is through him that we say the ‘Amen,’ to the glory of God.”

Craig, August 16 near Azusa, via mobile:

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to:

Compassionate Action

Mountainside Communion

PO Box 474

Monrovia, CA 91017

Craig, August 16 near Azusa, via mobile:

“The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law,” Paul says. But the word translated as “sting” may also be translated as “goad.” So, what if he’s saying that what prods us to die is ripping ourselves from God, the Gift of life, and what amps up the prod of sin is the law, i.e., the system that presumes to lay out for us the technique by which we may seize our lives and steer them to safety and survival and prosperity and longevity?

Craig, yesterday:

I’m working on Dad’s funeral. The Book of Common Prayer is amazingly good. Reading it, I’m thinking, “Hey, I think I’m pretty dang orthodox.”

Craig, four hours ago near Azusa, via mobile:

Even though our little church is no longer really little, our family made up a significant percentage of the congregation this morning. There were fourteen of us. The whole service focused on “transitions.” The readings began, “with every ending there is a new beginning.”