It has been almost a month now, Dad, since you peacefully left behind your struggles with Parkinson’s. The thing I’m having the most trouble getting past, Dad, is you were too young to die.
I know 78 is pretty average, but you were always healthier than average. You told me of a physical you had at 70. Observing the results of your blood workup, your doctor said you had the numbers of a man in his 20s.
Then came Parkinson’s. I hate Parkinson’s. I don’t know how you felt though, to be losing your focus, memory, awareness of the world and people around you. I don’t know how aware you were of your lack of awareness. Ever since I spent an evening without short-term memory when I was 19 (the consequence of putting my head through a windshield), I have been aware of the extreme frustration of, in effect, knowing what you don’t know.”
But, Dad, you almost always seemed fairly peaceful, or at least calm, in your confusion. I don’t know if this was because you weren’t aware of the changes, or if, as I suspect, you always were calmer about things that I feel I am. I suppose I’ll be able to ask you about all that someday.
I had my annual physical this morning, Dad. Dr. says I am healthy – in some ways very healthy for a man of 50. I would feel more peace about that if I weren’t very, very aware now that even health doesn’t mean prolonged years.
Your example, Dad, helps me understand Jesus’ teaching about not laying expectations and hope on years or wealth or possessions. None of us really knows how long we have, do we?