Visit to New York for dad
The trip to New York started with a call from my brother in law hinting the end might be near. Dad, after being in rehab for high blood pressure, and subsequently a broken hip, was waving his hands as if in a trance. He then recited Kaddish, the prayer for the dead.
The trip was not what I thought. The possible end was not dignified or honorable. He lay helpless before strangers who had to wipe and clean his private places. He was not always pleasant and some were a little rough with him at night with no one around.
Physical therapists motivated dad through tease and allurement. “Stand up for me Milton, I'm your woman,” is an example. His body lost weight, silently voting that it was tired of all this. Still, the machine enticed him to continue, prodding him, promising him what couldn't be delivered.
All along there were tender moments where he said he 'loved me,' or stated he was proud of me. Various individuals stand out with small heroic efforts, both to him and myself. Some provided hope. Some intuited my difficult position with him and the family dynamics. Ongoing honest and sincere communication could not take place in that environment between dad and I.
A messy life had led to a messy end now in a messy environment. He neither really improved nor got worse, but stayed in limbo. Funding for his care was an issue. Outside forces had control of the answers.
I raged against God because of this outcome. Could not the end be as I imagined it? Could there not be honor and order.
It was not all bad. There was some good. There was also disappointment. As a son I traveled to be near my dad for what could have been the last time. The system seemed to get in the way of our simple communication. There was no time to absorb and process what was happening. I was kept off balance.
If there is a lesson, it is another lonely one. The warmth of touch, of familiarity, and the miracle of being around the man whose seed I came from was not the priority. Righting the heritage and legacy also wasn't. Family, the miracle of continuation and roots dating back to the beginning, should have been center stage. It wasn't. Instead, the practical and mundane was often center stage.
Probably God wanted the attention to go in his direction. This must be the core, the real reason behind what I saw and experienced. Still, absorbing one more dose of isolation and lost dreams of how it should have been felt like too much weight on my tired shoulders.