Thursday, April 30, 2009

Yahrzeit of my mother and father, 4/25, 2003 & 2009

This might be the beginning of a Kaddish for my father, may his memory be a blessing.

I sit in my father’s house the day after he has died, and I confess I feel, at this moment, no connection to his house or anything in it, but for a few books and a picture or two. Thus, for the house I grew up in, and since leaving home, have been visiting for 41 years. In like measure I sit in this world. I feel no attachment to it, but for a few people. What is there to be attached to here?

All that I see with my eyes and sense with my other four senses I do not believe. I do not believe it and I do not believe in it. Falsehood, illusion, misperception and partial perception is all that we see. We have access thru our senses to only a part of the picture, and we have access thru our minds, shaped by and shaping these senses, to conceptual tools that are incomplete, at best.

Let us not even begin to address the morass of ethics and human behavior. Just look out of any window (as we are reminded by the Gratefully Dead). It is a world framed by solid walls, impenetrable to light. So it is with our senses. We peer thru cracks, like those frustrating and fearful dreams where we struggle to open our eyes, as we stumble thru a dangerous world, almost blind.

My father’s body lay on the hospital bed, his mouth agape, jutting like a ledge on a chalky cliff. He died, and this same body that for me embodied my attention, love, and all the complexities of a full relationship, this same body that for my 58 years, almost 59 now, that was for me My Father, was now an empty shell, not My Father at all, but something, indeed, that was utterly without value, but for the illusory memories that tied it to a living past. (This may not accord well with Jewish burial practices and beliefs, but that is another matter entirely.)

We all stood in the room. His current wife – my stepmother, leaned her forehead upon his shoulder and grieved. My sister Marge sat behind her; Elliott, Dee Jay, Margie Beth, Gert, Cal, myself; we stood or sat variously crying or pondering in emotional poses like some Delacroix painting, Cal on the computer filtering the scene further thru a keyboard.

I don’t know when My Father left that room. Perhaps by the time his still living, but rapidly dying body had been brought to the hospital, he had already ceased to inhabit this world.

We ascribe his death to a stroke. I don’t see it that way. I ascribe his stroke to the departure of his Soul. He had to tear his way out of this world, and the stroke was the tear. Perhaps it is thus with every medical issue, as our Souls struggle with the constant decision to remain here or break out.

Ruth told me: Friday morning at around 5:00am she saw him standing at the foot of the bed, wobbly, yawning, but not really yawning. Perhaps he was trying to cry out, but by then he had already lost the ability to talk. Perhaps in the minutes prior, My Father had left this world, or was rapidly leaving it, so rapidly that his body had already lost its ability to speak. For a few more hours he would respond to stimuli, and then even that, largely, ceased.

What is this body that cannot speak? What is this world we see thru narrow windows? What are these narrow windows of “sense” or partial sense, these constructions of reason, the illusion of reason?

I sit in my father’s house. It means so little to me, compared to what my Father means to me.

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