Sunday, April 5, 2015

Skål to Rik

Skål to my father Rik who died this morning from esophageal cancer one day shy of his 78th birthday. If you don't have aquavit, feel free to raise a cold can of Blatz or Hamm's.


Friday, April 3, 2015

My Father is Dying

This morning my Father's ashen, gaunt face was an all-too familiar reminder of my Mother's 14 years ago. Ovarian cancer took her and esophageal cancer is taking him. They say drinking alcohol can cause esophageal cancer so, of the two, I'm more worried about that one.

Three weeks ago the oncologist said he had 6-12 months. At 6am this morning the on-call hospice nurse who came by the house said he has days, maybe a week, tops.

Over the past 3 months I have been able to help fulfill his wish to die at his home, and for that I am grateful. If he makes it to Monday he'll turn 78 years old.

Here's a poem I read this morning that struck me...

Shifting the Sun

When your father dies, say the Irish,
you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Welsh,
you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Canadians,
you run out of excuses. May you inherit
his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the French,
you become your own father.
May you stand up in his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Indians,
he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Russians,
he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the English,
you join his club you vowed you wouldn't.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shifts forever.
And you walk in his light.
"Shifting the Sun" by Diana Der-Hovanessian, from Selected Poems. © Sheep Meadow Press, 1994. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)