The five “action” points in Mike’s following blog post are at once provocative and so chewy they’re almost grisly… but in a good way. Lots to ponder in each point, but one I kept being drawn back to was an insight the Australian Buddhist seemed to casually ponder as an afterthought:
There is work for me to do around grief and trauma and Dad and Mum but it has to lead me to think more broadly about the consequences of relationships of all types. Sometimes we never get to say goodbye.
A significant part of my own healing was being called home to care for my 90-year-old cancer-ridden father for several weeks before he died back in 2007. Even though much of the profound turmoil between us ended well before Joy and I moved far away from them back in 1989, I had always carried the unspoken burden of unspoken, unresolved issues going back to my teens.
As you have likely guessed, Dad died without my having the long-sought luxury of leveling the playing field I imagined we had been on all those years. It was 1:30 a.m. in the middle of a warm San Diego September night. I was drinking yet another beer, holding his hand while patiently sitting next to the hospice bed he had been inhabiting for weeks on end. And he just… quietly slipped away. With a very tranquil look on his face. I sat there for 10 minutes still holding his hand, looking at him resting peacefully, and finally said, “Well, Dad. That is so like you to beat last call.”
It was on the flight back to Indy that God nudged me to let me know my healing was in caring for my father; my healing was in feeding and bathing and cleaning up after him, keeping him comfortable and simply being present to him. It was God’s place to level my anticipated playing field. That became a much more profound truth for me in 2010 when I sobered up in A.A.
Anyway, read the second of three installments from dharmaholic. The first one is here.