November 17, 2016
I am burying my Dad today.
How did we get here? A man who, until ALS imprisoned his body, walked a minimum of 2 miles a day – rain, snow or sunshine – and who worked out at the gym three times a week – physically fit and mentally sharper than most of us on a good day. Up until the very last day of his life he was still planning, inventing and learning.
He was an artist in the every sense – cartoon sketches filled the margins of the daily newspaper and covered not only the return envelopes of bills but also every napkin in the house. An accomplished pianist, he played in several jazzy bands from the forties through the sixties, and every evening before supper, he tinkled those ivories. The melodic notes would float out of the window and onto the street on many a summer evening, causing people to look up as they walked by the house. A favorite was The Shadow of Your Smile…each note of that song is embedded in the very fibers of my being…and today I am thinking of how appropriate that song is.
He never stopped “living.” At the height of his illness, when asked how he was doing, his standard reply was “Pretty good!”…even though he had become a prisoner in his own body. Dad always saw the silver lining in life and was not one who believed in problems, only solutions. He loved his family – we were everything – and he forever loved my mother like the 25 year old young man who first saw her, standing on the church steps at the wedding of a mutual friend. She was his lover, muse and best friend….I believe the term for that is “Soul Mate.”
He would constantly remind us to celebrate everything – and so I will, Dad…
…as I remember the shadow of your smile.