Last week marked the 25th anniversary of my father’s passing and while it is an unhappy milestone, I am safe in the knowledge and faith that he and my mother are together in a better place free from suffering, pain, and surrounded by Jesus’ love.
I’m sure dad’s putting the greens in the Elysian Fields with his friends John and Mr. McNulty.
Mom’s probably shopping at Macy’s.
In either case, upon knowing that his time was near, he asked the four of us to stay together and help our mother until she joined him.
I remember back about 25 years on mom’s birthday that we got the news that dad wasn’t going to make it the week.
The four of us got together and put a plan together to get mom to the hospital every day.
Each of us would take mom over and then take her back to Beth Abraham Nursing Home.
Since Larry was the oldest, he took the burden of wanting to tell mom the bad news.
We were in Beth Abe talking and he was going over what he was going to say when I noticed that the room that he went into to collect his thoughts had a quarantine sign on the door. I quickly got him out before he touched anything, and sat him down in the cafeteria.
He was pondering what to say. Perhaps he was thinking what Galbraith or Drucker would say.
I walked over to mom and knelt beside her wheelchair and said, “Dad’s not doing too well.”
Mom said, “Is he going to die?”
“Yes, I said, so let’s get you over to see him before he passes.”
Mom turned to another resident, and said, “My husband Larry isn’t doing too well and my boys are here to take me to the hospital to see him.”
Wow, mom could always do that. Take a tragic event and let others know that it’s going to be OK and that we would get through this.
My brother Larry had finally composed himself and on our way out asked me why I told her.
It’s what I do, I’m the social worker.
I guess now when I look at my brothers, I can see their talents much better. Larry is the professor; Andrew is the businessman who dealt with the hospital and dad’s wishes; Francis, who was mom’s favorite, is the engineer with one foot on earth and the other reaching out to the heavens, and I’m the social worker.
We all pitched in to make mom as comfortable as she could be.
Those last three days were good for us as well. I recalled confessing to dad something that I did as a kid. My brothers joined in and when his time finally came we were unburdened with no regrets.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever…Amen.