Friday, February 2, 2018

Visiting Dad, Coda

I left Pennsylvania this morning after seeing Dad one more time. He surprised me by waiting for me  at the end of the hallway furthest from his room. He was concerned, he said, about my traveling in the snow (it had snowed a few inches in the night and morning) and he wanted me to get an early start. So I told him I loved him, kissed him goodbye, and took off after gassing up and getting a large coffee for the road.

It used to be that I would go a year or more between visits to my parents, months between phone calls. Before she died, I used to call my mother a couple times a week. Now I call Dad once a week and drive out to visit him at least twice a year. I can't say this change in visitation is in response to a greater realization of their mortality, because I've always been aware of mortality, theirs, others, and my own. I have a relationship with death and dying that is visceral and I am, in most cases, comfortable with it. I didn't cry when my mother died, not because I didn't love her, because I certainly did, but because I always knew she would die. This doesn't, of course, stop my tears in the case of some others.

When my father dies, I'll feel, as with my mom, a sense of loss, but not a sense of missed opportunity. I'm glad to have the chance to see him, and glad that my relationship with him has changed for the better. I'm unsure what to ascribe this change to, maybe it's a change brought about by change itself. But I'm thankful for the change.

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