A photograph of my dad taken on my trip to New York shows him having gained weight, up to 153 lbs from as low as 132 lbs when taking care of my dying mom over two years ago. He looks somewhat fit for 95. At first times were difficult for him, but recently he takes some yoga and a strengthening class at the Stein Senior Center and walks to and from doing his chores. Other than my sister checking in a couple of times a week he lives on his own.
From my perspective my dad wasn't always the best dad, wasn't always there for me and things weren't always smooth in his life. He could be nice and not so nice, kind of passive aggressive as they say, sometimes for others to see, more often for my eyes only.
As said, it wasn't a smooth family life we had. There were more than a few rough
spots. What's interesting is this. In the photograph, aside from looking somewhat vital, his face shows acceptance, peace and emanates love. It is reassuring to look at. In the Jewish religion there's a tradition since the time of Moses where a certain segment of men were Cohanan's, and this means they gave the blessings to others. It is passed down verbally from father to son. Looking at his face it does feel as if one is blessed somehow. He hasn't kept up with his friends he knew with my mom. Instead, like the wandering wise men of India, he befriends who he interacts with. Upon picking up something from the Chinese Laundromat where we both previously dropped something off, the young attractive lady owner said to me "where's Milton." The "Milton" had a ring to it with love in her voice. People respond to my dad well.
My dad also sent me a photograph of himself and my mom about a month before her passing. He was shrunken then, a stressed and sometimes short tempered 132 lbs. Still, one can see a sweetness in his face as he faced what was overwhelming.
So what led to this enlightened face? Was it 67 years of bickering with my mom? Was it
indecisiveness and inconsistency? My dad rarely mentions a God, but talks of nature and says he feels my mom's presence. A warning to all you spiritual seekers. Let his face be an example. Attitude adjustment, positive thinking seminars, reading wisdom books, traditional or current, meditations, righteousness, reading Lao Tsu, or your I Ching, or recent tapping therapies, nothing, no nothing will do as good a job as time. Only time and a spark of the divine (the latter being my bias) will smooth out the wrinkles and make you/me a blessing to those around us.
Dad looked sweet, so did mom.