Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

My mother asked we children to write something to our father this Father's Day, to let him know how we feel about him. This was my official submission...

Happy Father's Day Dad!

I want to share a few things with you.

I don't know if you remember this, but a while back you expressed to mom that you felt like your life had become meaningless, because you were not doing anything productive. You felt like you had nothing to offer.

First of all, the fact that you felt this way proves some very nice things about you. It proves that deep within you burns an intense desire to do good work, to do good deeds, to make the world a better place. This desire has been passed along to all of your children, and I'm sure has inspired many other people you have touched during your journeys.

I know I have been inspired by it. It has always given me a great sense of pride to know what integrity you have led your life with, and what a strong drive you've had to bring about justice in whatever way you could.

More importantly, your life has helped me to live my own under the assumptions that I am powerful, that I have a role and a purpose on this earth, and that I can and must fight for what is good and just. The most obvious and recent example of this is my dealings with the school district. My assumption when the school district tries to dismiss my son as meaningless is that I will fight them tooth and nail, with every ounce of strength I have, and never give up.

When I see other parents in my situation who are not willing or able to undertake the same battles I do, my automatic response is one of mystification.

What else could they possibly have to do but to see to the rights of their children?

Why else are they on this earth but for the service of love? And where else could this love be focused than upon their child?

It is alarming to me that people, in turn, look to me with wonderment and try to understand how I could be so willing to take on these challenges. But to me, sitting idly by is the challenge, and working to make it right is simply the natural way of life.

And this nature did not just zap me from outer space. It comes from a lineage that you handed down to me. And from what I've learned, it was a lineage that was highly damaged when you inherited it, and it was only your amazing efforts to repair it that allowed it to be passed along to me in such pristine shape. My responsibility is to polish it, ornament it, and present it to Sharky.

Second of all, I want you to know that your worth on this earth did not end when you had a stroke and onset of Lewy Body Dementia, and had to go live at Island Health. In the immediate aftermath of your stroke, I wish you could have witnessed the strength and spirit you showed in your fight to reclaim yourself and your life. I don't think you knew who you were or where you were at the time, but apparently you were filled with a strong sense that you needed to get back to where you had been with your family. I can only surmise that your life and your family must have been very important to you, based on the battle you waged to find us again.

And I hope you can see how this is a continuation of the same spirit you have had for as long as I can remember, the same one that inspired me and helped to make me the person I am today, which is a person that I feel good about.

I want to close by telling you a little bit about what you have meant and what you still mean to Sharky. Your kind, loving soul is still in tact. And Sharky, in all his wisdom, can feel it. He has always had an affinity for you. He always, even when his level of connection with others was in serious doubt, has been very in tune with you. There are no words to describe how meaningful and important it has been for him to be able to have a relationship with you these last several years since your stroke. It makes me very happy that we did not lose you that day. The dignified and brave manner in which you continue to live your life each day sets a valuable, meaningful example for him, and when the day comes that you pass on, even in death you will be teaching him. He loves you, and one day, when you are gone from us, he will remember you fondly.

So you see, your life today is not meaningless, because it has so much meaning to others. Mom told you at the time that the dignity and grace with which you have accepted your lot in life provides a meaningful example to your children of how to conduct our lives, and she was absolutely right.

Your life is your own, and when you reach the point where it is time for you to leave us all, please do so with our countless blessings and all of our love. Go with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that all of us you have loved, and have worked so hard to do right by and provide for, will be fine. The forces you long ago set in motion will continue to serve us after you are gone, and as such you will continue to remain with us.

In the mean time, we will be grateful for each day we have with you.




Club 166 said...

They let your dad drink BEER!

That's the kind of place I want to go to, if I can't live at home.


Danger Panda said...

What a very beautiful post. I do hope you keep writing. I know it must be exhausting to write about your battles with the school district, but I think they are important to document. Please keep it up!