Due to my living on the West Coast, my father and I developed a sweet correspondence by phone, email, and through letter writing. Strangely or not so strangely, I felt very close to my father when we were far from each other.
I would call him in the mornings when I walked my Great Dane, SugarBaby. We would talk of the weather, He’d ask about his favorite cat, which was my cat named Elf. He always loved all the animals bonding with each and every creature he encountered. Within that strong winning man was the most tender loving person who had such compassion for animals, the forests, and the oceans. I loved that about him.
He’d ask me how my back was holding up and I’d ask him about how his back was holding up. We would talk until I returned to my front door. And our goodbyes were colored with anticipation for the next conversation.
We wrote letters at poignant times and If you have ever received a letter from my dad you know what an eloquent and sharp wordsmith he was. I have a wooden box that he gave me for Christmas one year and it is full of his letters from the past 30 years.
And as of late we had an email exchange. My father asked me to teach him how to meditate a few months ago. I was sending him videos of an author and teacher of mine who talks of meditation and life in general. My Dad was really enjoying them. The last video I had shared with Dad was a talk on how mysterious and bizarre this life and being human is. And how powerful perspective is.
Could you imagine that you are not lying down on the earth looking up at the sky but rather imagine yourself at the bottom of the earth sucked up to it by gravity and you are looking down into space, a deep ocean of space. And the very last email I received back from my dad, he said, “One of his best. I can't wait to lie in the grass at Chautauqua and envision myself looking down into the universe. I hope you will be lying beside me as I do. My love, Dad”
There is something very poignant about how he stated that. He had no doubt that he would be there. It is truly up to me to be there. And I will. This summer at Chautauqua I will lie in the grass and look down into space with the essence of my father in everything.
I also want to express how fortunate I feel and what a gift my father gave all of his children by waiting for us all to be here. On that early morning of his dying day, I walked into the quiet house and when he saw me he smiled and laughed with relief because now all his children were with him and he could say farewell. He was ready to go and had the same determination and skill that he did in life and so he did.