13 April 2016

On the Death of My Father

I had a meeting with my spiritual director last night. He is a priest in our Diocese and one of the kindest people you will ever meet. We spoke about things of the spirit and the passing of my father.

At one point the conversation turned, and he asked me where I am going from here. And I said, “I don’t know, but I do know that my father’s death has changed me.”

Afterward, I thought about how I answered, and I began to ponder how my father’s death has or will change me. I don’t know the answer to that yet. But I do know that watching someone die changes you.

In the last week of his life, my father was unconscious. He struggled for every single breath he took. Each day he slipped closer to eternal life, and I watched it all unfold.

My father’s last struggle coincided with Lent. And I watched it all. He entered the hospital for the last time on Palm Sunday and struggled through Holy Week. He was placed in hospice on Good Friday and died almost a week later--the week between Easter Sunday and Mercy Sunday.

I explained all this to my spiritual director, and I told him that I watched it all as if it was a movie. And Lent and Easter are my favorite time of year. I told him, if I could choose my own death, I would choose this time because it is the most beautiful time of the Church calendar. Yes, God chose to take my father at the most beautiful and appointed time. It was as if my father was truly walking with Christ on his Passion. I wasn’t ready for the death of my father, but I see the beauty in the timing.

I have now entered the most difficult time of mourning. My father is buried. He is no longer struggling, but I am. There are no more condolences. Time has moved on, but I haven’t. The sun rises and sets, but there is one less human being here to witness it. The world still turns, but for me, I am at a standstill. 

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