Friday, April 23, 2010

Crossing to Safety

For years I've kept a common book where I copy down passages that I've read and want to remember. The week I went to Florida to see my dad in the hospital I started a new book, Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner. A week and a half later I was back in Florida for my father's funeral. On the flight home I read this paragraph as I was finishing the book. In some twisted way it gave me peace.

"There's no decent literature on how to die. There ought to be, but there isn't. Only a lot of religious gobbledygook about being gathered to God, and a lot of biological talk about returning your elements to the earth. The biological talk is all right, I believe it, but it doesn't say anything about what religion is talking about, the essential you, the conscious part of you, and it doesn't teach you anything about how to make the transition from being to not-being. They say there's a moment, when death is certain and close, when we lose our fear of it. I've read that every death, at the end, is peaceful. Even an antelope that's been caught by a lion or a cheetah seems not to struggle at the end. I guess there's a big shot of some sedative chemical, the way there's a big shot of adrenaline to help it leap away when it's scared. Well, a shot will do for quick deaths. The problem is to get that same resignation to last through the weeks or months of a slow one, when everything is just as certain but can't be taken care of with some natural hypo."

Somehow, reading words that describe my fears, thoughts, and emotions, makes me feel connected rather than alone.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

This is a picture of

This is a picture of my father and me. He was in college in this photo. He became a bio chemist. Spending time with my dad is like spending time with an encyclopedia. Whenever I have a question about history, gardening, plants in general, or wild life I can ask my dad. He loves cooking too. He had so many hobbies over the years. When I was little he collected snakes in aquariums in our garage. He had all kinds but I specifically remember a rattle snake and a boa constrictor. All though I didn't fall in love with snakes many of the things I like to do come from my father, cooking, gardening, reading. He once made some drapes and then with the leftover fabric made my mother a jumpsuit. We are both terrible pack rats and we can both spend hours in a book store. My father is never not reading, until now. My dad went into hospice yesterday. He was all of these things and a lot more. But now he is tired.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Life is full of such opposite emotions.....thank heavens for the lovely ones!!