Giving thanks and praise to so many friends who reach out and support me on this journey of letting go, surrendering to life and death, knowing both these transitions need to be held with courage and gentleness.
This is the journey and you are on it, I am told over and over by friends who too have gone through watching a parent labour towards death. “Its hard work, just as birth is hard work,” I am told by my dear friend Dominique who laboured alongside both her parents who made the passage earlier this year.
I am coached and guided by my dear friend Bara who checks in daily, breathing with and for me, dad, mom and my brother. I hold memories of being in community with dear friend David while he labored towards death; I reflect on unexpected deaths like Denis and Oken John Arthur and Paul whose labours were sudden, taking seconds or came instantly; or dear friends like Jacqlyn who at such a young age battled an illness that had her laboring for months upon months before death was birthed.
My dad is still with us. Sometimes it feels like he is travelling as Theo calls it, travelling between here and there. And then he comes back to us with both feet still in this world. Yesterday I was blessed with “Hows it going Kiddo?” when two days previous I was sure I would not hear his voice again.
I am deeply grateful for the 6 weeks I had with him as he transitioned from hospital to full care residence. I am grateful for my mom and brother who are his main supports presently, grateful to community: friends and family, to personal support workers who work under such stressful conditions, to Janet Band who came into our lives two days before I left and who loves dad like he is her own, to technology allowing me to pop in and out of Dad’s room, to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s classic teachings on Death and Dying, to the Buddhist teachings and practices to you Dad brave and humble warrior labouring towards birthing your own death. I love you. I am here for you. You got this Dad. You got this.