LOOKING AT MY FUTURE AS I LET GO A PAST
By Grumpy Gramps for CrossDove Writers
First, I want to wish everyone a Blessed New Year for 2021 as we all step into the next 12-month adventure with high hopes of a better ride than any of us had in 2020.
For me, I start the new year looking down a road that will be traveled without one of my closest confidants, mentors, friend, teacher, and pastor – my Dad.
Last spring my three siblings and I began travels with our Dad that saw him begin to have major memory issues as he traveled toward his 90th birthday in December.
My Dad was a communicator and when his memory began to fail him, he became very frustrated and depressed.
By the end of the summer, we were forced to take away his driving privileges and that did not sit well with him, even as he knew we were correct in doing so.
In the early fall he began to have issues with his balance and walking, enough changes that we decided to celebrate his 90 birthday two months early in mid-October, and what a celebration it was.
By the time December rolled around, my brother (who lives just 15 minutes from our Dad) and my sister who lives just over an hour away became like 24-hour caretakers and we all made the decision to hire caretakers to help, with one working three days a week and someone being in the house overnight, every night.
On December 21, Dad went to take a nap and pretty much never woke back up. All four of us siblings arrived the following day and took turns keeping vigil along with the caretakers and home hospice through Christmas Day.
This is the week when I realized I was looking straight into the face of mortality and I was not exactly happy having to do it.
The end for me came on Christmas afternoon when I took several extra turns sitting with Dad while I shared many, many memorable times we had in the hopes that he could still hear what I was saying. Late in the afternoon, I also gave him my final goodbyes as I had to return to my home in Central Kansas to refill my own meds and get some clothes.
My wife, when I headed up to Dads on December 22, told me that every moment I had with him I needed to say four things – I Love You, I am Sorry, I am Grateful, and It is okay to go home to heaven. And I pretty much did all those things several times over.
When one looks up the definition of ‘mortality’ it will say it is ‘the state of being subject to death’.
While many of my family and friends know, I have had several instances in my life where death knocked on my door, including rolling a small pickup at 75 miles per hour on the interstate less than five miles from home and again in late November of 2012 when death used a club to bang on my door of life as I literally died for several minutes in the local ER from a massive heart attack.
But neither of those shook me like the look at mortality the week of Christmas as I watched my Dad slip away from his earthly realm.
When my brother called and told me that my father had passed, I realized immediately two things.
One, I was now the oldest male carrying on the Snesrud name in our one corner of our family tree, and two, I realized I was not ready or prepared for my own possible mortality.
I am not sure I am ready for the responsibility of either thought, especially when I seem at times to struggle with living my own life more fully while being disabled due to lung, heart, and mental issues.
What I did come to terms with, is that I must consider preparing for my own mortality as with my health issues – we just do not know when that moment may come.
Dad, despite his failing memory and health the final six months, was prepared and so much so that my sisters discovered that he even had planned ahead for Christmas and found his final set of envelopes with monetary Christmas gifts for each of us siblings and spouses, as well as all the grandkids and great grandkids. He knew.
Letting go of my past, or my Dad, I also realized those couple of things which he and I have in common and that is a gift of always making a connection with people and the ability to communicate through writing.
With him it was his sermons that he gave over 40-plus years as a pastor.
For me it is with my few websites that cover COPD and Chronically Ill issues, Food, Local area sports and news, and my other writing such as this Grumpy Gramps.
My mortality is not known, and while I know I must begin planning for it just in case it happens – I also know that I can carry on my Dad’s legacy with my writing.
With my writing I can help convey to people things to make them think, listen, feel, and respond while showing and conveying how no matter the situation life can be full of joy, faith, hope, grace, and love – just as my Dad did for so many years.
So, in visually taking on the slow demise of my father’s health and life as we had always known it, to the point of his passing from this earthly realm to the next spiritual adventure, I was grasping the idea of my own mortality and with it, the thoughts of just what may lay ahead for me and those who travel along with me in this earthly world.
In ‘grasping mortality’ I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I still have a whole lot to offer with my gift of writing and talking.
In ‘grasping mortality’ I now know I must take on the full responsibility to those around my life travels in sharing things I may know, things I think others should know and the reality that we are all tied together in one way or another.
In ‘grasping mortality’ I have an obligation to reset my own legacy once again as to what others, including my family and closest friends, will be thinking over, remembering, and holding in their minds and hearts when I, like my father, may come face-to-face with my own mortality at a time which I do not know.
This is all about where my heart is at this moment of time.
This is all about my HOPES & FEARS for the NEW YEAR!!
With that – hugs, prayers, blessings, and happy thoughts from Grumpy Gramps.
(Copyright@2021, CrossDove Writers – no part of this posting may be printed, copied, or used without written permission by CrossDove Writers and Grumpy Gramps.)
Your dad and I had a special relationship. We both left Lincoln the same year but maintained our respect and love for each other and met several times for personal visits. You were probably too young to realize how much we argued politics and theology since nobody argues with a preacher… and most didn’t understand . Dwight continues to hold a place in my heart.
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I am very aware of the special place you had with my Dad and the friendship you two had…….and those arguments, I may not have heard them directly, but eventually they were talked about over dinner sometimes……..you and my dad were the near perfect example of how folks can agree to disagree yet still be like best friends for life……looking forward to seeing you and one or both of the boys on July 10th……
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