He was already in the hospital when I saw him. His skin had turned yellow; he needed help to go to the toilet; he had made the decision to die without surgery. We still hadn’t talked. He wanted me to know he had taken care of the business…from the tinniest detail to the most important…of his funeral; he had even planned and paid for mother’s funeral too.
I had not done any of that for myself. But I didn’t have pancreatic cancer; my life was still incomplete; no reconciliation with death had occurred in me. It was different for my parents and had been for a long time.
They had a strong faith. That kept their lives on a single track with heaven as a destination. Each passage had been planned and, with planning, had been successfully navigated, so successfully in fact that they were also able to help their kids through scrapes when they occurred. So after dad retired, with enough saved to get him and mother through to the end, he could sit back and enjoy a bountiful return on all of those years of punching a clock.
Now here I am, retired from my day job as a Child Protective Services investigator, without the feelings of security and fulfillment my father had when he retired. My accomplishments have not been enough. Unlike my father at my age, even after the success in several different careers that I’ve had, I find myself restless and unsatisfied. Such people, I guessed, are destined for unhappiness. Now in 2008 health problems are emerging, and are wearing away my sharpness. Only “activity” slows the process; my stopping, just stopping, would hasten it. I see my writing as medicine, a daily time released capsule; and my doctor said as much. A page or two a day; and that should keep me healthy, wealthy (I’m not wealthy), and.. stop…I don’t want to admit my brain cells are dying. How many left? 80% gone before a diagnoses. Several years from now I won’t…I won’t… I refuse to go there. And for now, looking on the bright side, I’m writing every day when previously I didn’t, while trying my best to be clear. Clarity and simplicity are my goals for today. And to not judge myself too harshly. Writing for me has been my dream, a dream come true tonight because I’ve written this blog. All of my satisfaction has to come from the activity of writing; I can’t judge the quality of it. I try to stay focused on the mechanics and allow my feelings out.
Good night, Randy Ford