I just walked in from our annual WCS Middle School Athletic Banquet. The food was great (Mexican buffet) and the kids, at least the girls, dressed up. My individual awards went to Raven Bailey (Most Improved) and Miki Lewis (Best Teammate). Afterwards, I talked to the head of our Art Department, Karen Keese. Karen's mother died of ALS when Karen was only sixteen and her father died suddenly of a heart attack when he was only fifty-nine. Karen was terrific in sharing some things she went through and I'm finding out most people have a story to tell about grief. It's a process. Please bear with me as I continue to wax eloquently:
One of the hardest things Dad struggled with in regards to Mom had to do with her losing the capability to drive without being dangerous, both to herself and to others. It broke his heart because she did not realize her slippage and it eroded her sense of independence. Almost until the end, Dad vowed he would prove the neurologist wrong and he would drive again. He told me he knew it was unlikely but he had to have something to hope for.
I had Dad for a professor for one day at York College in Psychology. On the second day of the semester, I switched to Dr. Gayle Napier's section. The reason was practical- I did not like the grading system Dad laid out in his course syllabus.
Mom and Dad had a red Special Plate that they broke out for anyone who had a special occasion. Your name was inscribed on the back and the plate hung on the wall in a place of honor. Many folks dined on that piece of china over the years. (I think they bought it at HALLMARK.)
Last Friday, Chelsey, who is one of my student aides, had nine inches of her hair cut off and donated to Locks Of Love. The hair goes to make wigs for girls who have cancer and lost their hair due to chemotherapy. My first cousin, Marsha, and Dad both survived cancer so Chelsey's sacrifice means a great deal to me.Speaking of cancer, Dad was a one-time president of the Nebraska Cancer Society. When I was a sophomore, Dad caught me smoking. My punishment? I had to read all the anti-smoking pamphlets! (I can't tell you where I got the cigarettes from. One of my brothers might have to resign as an elder!)Dad's PH.D dissertation was footnoted in Gary Smalley's well-known book, The Blessing.
The only hymn I remember hearing in Brooklyn when I was very young is Beyond The Sunset. It is my favorite comfort song dealing with death.
Dad built identical bookshelves into the walls of their last four houses....and he had enough books to fill them up.
This is a typical joke I heard Dad tell:
"A new author and an old author were talking. The experienced author asked the novice how his first book was coming along. The reply was that it was progressing except he could not come up with a title. The old author thought a minute and asked, 'Are there any drums in the book?' The new author answered there were not. 'Are there any trumpets in your book?' The answer again was negative. The old author concluded, 'It's easy, then. Call it NO DRUMS, NO TRUMPETS!' "
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org