Saturday, February 26, 2011

False Pretenses

I've had so many conversations recently with people about life.  Not about the trivial day to day things that occupy most of our time and energy, but the big stuff.  Love, honor, purpose, faith, family.

About what is harder.  To lose someone suddenly or to have them go as my Dad did.  I have to tell you, they are both terrible, both with their own sets of pros and cons.

In my Dad's case, he said he had been given the gift of time.  When he was first diagnosed, he was angry.  Angry about the cancer, yes.  But also angry that he wouldn't die as he always thought he would. He assumed he would have a massive heart attack one day and just be gone.  He hoped and wished for that, even after he was diagnosed. 

He didn't want to wither, he didn't want to fade.  He didn't want to rely on other people.  He didn't want to hurt.  He felt a little ripped off. 

With time though, he let go of that anger.  He knew that though we don't always understand it at the time, everything happens for a reason.  He was given the time he was for a reason.  He began to see that time as a gift, even if it brought with it unbelievable pain and agony. 

He figured he should make the most of it, not just for him, but for others.

He gave the gift of saying goodbye to his entire family.  Back when he asked them all to come up a few weeks back, it was under the illusion that it was for him.  It wasn't, though no one realized it at the time.

He knew how they hurt when my uncle and grandfather passed away suddenly, he knew how they'd never had a chance to say goodbye properly, he knew he didn't want that to happen again.  So, under completely false pretenses, he asked them to come. 
Our Family ~ The day of his funeral

And they did. 

He spent that entire day mustering all his strength and energy to tell stories, to smile, to laugh.  He was the one telling them all that he was going to be okay, that they were going to be okay.  He was doing the consoling.  They were crying, he was smiling. 

As much as he was grateful that they had all come, it wasn't really for him.

I can't begin to imagine what it must have been like for him to see them all for the last time, knowing that it was.  I can't pretend to know how much it hurt.  All I know is what I saw from  my end.

He was being strong for them.  Just like he always was for me.

And he was being strong for them for one reason only.

Love.

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