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Saturday, February 6, 2016

drop by drop

Thank you, everyone, for the nice thoughts and words about Dad.  No matter how prepared - and even kinda hoping for it, for his sake - it's a difficult thing to lose a good dad.

But it's sinking in and getting easier with each passing day.  I think of the conversations he and I had this past year.  Death was often the topic of choice.

He'd lived a pretty colorful life up until around the time I was born - served in WWII, was stationed in the Phillipines, met and married my mom there, traveled around and worked in civil service, owned a radio station, had three kids...   He was 40 years old when I was born, and at that point, he settled down and took a job as a math, science, and engineering instructor at the junior college in our little hometown.

Dad, apparently practicing his powers of meditiation
one late 80s Christmas...
So while he was quite experienced, book smart, and very logical, he also enjoyed studying philosophy, meditation, religion - the whole "meaning of life" bit.  He'd recently began identifying mainly as a Buddhist (if he had to pick something).

In addition to his robust health that kept him going for 91 years, despite his age, his head of hair remained relatively full and wavy.  Since it all had turned white, we would think of  him fondly as "Moses".  This past year, he began going with the buzz cut.  I suspect this was mainly for practical purposes, but I told him he even looked like a Buddhist monk.

I'll miss those conversations.  I think what I'm most grateful for at this point is that my dad's mind stayed sharp right up until the very end.  If it had been reduced somehow by dementia or other neurological problems, that would have been truly tragic.

A few  hours after my dad's passing, I got a call from a rep from the local organ and tissue donor facility, as my dad was a registered donor.  She asked for my consent and then went through several questions for screening purposes.  Afterwards, I remarked that I was honestly surprised that they would be very interested in the remains of someone my dad's age.

But she explained to me that his skin was very useful.  Apparently, older skin is better than younger skin for grafting.  The less elasticity, the better - who knew??


“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.
“Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.Buddha


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9 comments:

  1. Even if you know the outcome, it is still hard to say goodbye to someone who made such an impact on your life. I did not know him, but, to me, he was a great man who raised great family and left a legacy. I pray for you and your family for your loss and hope that you are able to celebrate his life through all of those memories.

    "Seashells remind us that every passing life leaves something beautiful behind." unknown

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    1. Thanks, Agg. Love the seashell quote!

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  2. I love that quote at the end. It feels very true.

    Your dad sounds like a lovely, interesting, caring man. After my grandfather passed away, my mother started "channelling" him; she could always imagine what he'd say in a given situation, because she'd known him so well. Sometimes she puts on his deep voice and delivers his lines, like "Never look at the whole mountain. Just keep taking one step at a time and you'll find yourself at the top." (Pretty good advice, right?)

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    1. That is good advice! It's nice to be able to still turn to people who are gone when we need some wisdom.

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  3. I understand this so much... being prepared, "even kinda hoping for it..." and there's still no way it can ever be made easier. But there is a kind of peace that comes with it, I know. Seems you're feeling that too.

    It's amazing what can be done with donated organs and tissue. We too received a call just hours after my dad's passing. They wanted his eye tissue. I told them Dad was a lifelong diabetic, and nearly blind by the time he passed. I didn't think his eyes would do anyone any good. They said they could use his eye tissue for research, in the hopes of helping diabetics better maintain their sight. My dad would have been so proud that his body, which he seemed to see as such a failure, could be used to help others.

    Beautiful quotes. They seem very appropriate considering what you've shared about your dad.

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    1. It was hard to think of him as his heart was giving out. And he had all these "DNR" orders and such, the doctor was sorry she couldn't do more for him. It was a mixture of sadness/relief when it was over.

      Your dad's eye tissue for diabetic research - how cool is that?!

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  4. I love the idea of donating organs, but I've never really thought about skin, or even eyes like Terri mentioned.
    Your dad sounds like he was a wonderful man. You were blessed to have such wonderful people to call mom and dad. Not everyone can say that. And you're obviously carrying on the tradition of good kid-raising.
    Still sending cyber hugs your way.

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    1. I know, I just imagined organ and tissue donation being about hearts and lungs and kidneys in coolers like on TV. There's so much more to it!

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  5. Love the pic! :)

    What a full life! It doesn't sound like he wasted any of it. Quite a legacy to leave to you and your siblings, and the third generation of grand-kids, too.

    I read the comments, and like the others, I find the whole organ and tissue donation thing fascinating. I'm not opposed to giving up my leftovers either when the time comes... just have to convince the husband and kids. :)

    This is a lovely tribute to your Dad; just as the one to your Mom was.

    Take care.

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