Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Morning With Dad

This year there are no Easter eggs on the lawn, no baskets in front of the fireplace, no empty tomb rolls. There will be no Patrick and Kaitlin gathering their money-filled eggs scattered around the house. Instead, there are early morning hospital visits, Pam to visit her Mother and me to serve Dad his breakfast.

It seems odd to think of the resurrection while I watch my Father’s long goodbye. For him, there will be no miraculous recovery. At 89 his condition will only get progressively worse. There exists no drug that will make him 50 again.

Increasingly, our world looks at old people as disposable. Once they become totally dependent on drugs and the medical system for their survival, the clock begins to tick and the bureaucracy becomes impatient. Someone else needs the bed. Send him to hospice, load him up with morphine and in two weeks he’ll be gone, is the preferred if unspoken remedy.

But my faith informs me that all life is precious. Christ died for all of us, especially the most vulnerable. Dad’s Doctor, a Jewish man of prodigious gifts and a pure heart put it this way, “Even if he is only awake and engaged with you for a few hours a day, how do you send a man who is capable of laughter to hospice? He is still your Father; he knows you and he can have a conversation and smile brightly.

His words to us after a long day contemplating Dad’s care options restored our confidence in the justice of our decision. I will never forget them or the great Doctor.

I said earlier that it seemed odd the juxtaposition of Resurrection Sunday with Dad’s condition, but upon second thought, not so much. Someday soon, Dad will breathe his last. My faith teaches me that in that instant he will experience his own resurrection, no less miraculous than that Easter morning 2000 years ago. He will be reunited with our Mother and all will be right with the world. And we who remain will have no regrets.

Happy Easter, everyone.