“Achievement, exploit, feat are terms for a noteworthy act. Achievement connotes final accomplishments of something noteworthy, after much effort and often in spite of obstacles and discouragements…” (some dictionary)
Awards based on accomplishments; building things; completing giant tasks; successfully implementing new concepts; retiring from a long, notable career; helping raise wonderful children; mentoring others……… All the above are achievements. But, of late, there are four notable ones, of which I am most humbly proud, in admittedly varying degrees of emotional intensity.
First, my oldest son and I spent the final hours with my father as he lay in a hospital bed dying. He had had a stroke days earlier. We assumed he would survive but be disabled. We didn’t know that the strokes were continuing and he was in the act of passing. As I entered the room and stared at my once invincible father I noticed that labored, gasping breathing. I didn’t understand really what I was looking at. A nurse walked up and said ‘you know what is going on don’t you? What I asked. Simply put, staring into my eyes, she said ‘he’s dying now’. She walked past me out of the room. As if I had been handed a script seconds before the curtain was to rise, there I stood on life’s stage. Ill prepared and stunned. I knelt beside him looking at his face. I held his hand, something I had never done before. I rubbed his forehead and hair, again something I had never done before. I told him I loved him. Need I say it. He passed on into that stillness. In the room you could only hear a ticking of the clock and the normal bustle in the hallway of a hospital, through the room’s closed door. My son and I stood there and took it in. My dad, the warrior, the rock was at peace.
Second, I spent the better part of the last five years tending to my mom, who was tortured by cancer, hoarding, depression and finally spent the last five months of her life in our home dying of the cancer. I, not alone for sure, saw that through to the final breath. My sweet mom.
Thirdly, as my mom was dying, her sister and best friend was also ill. Dementia, reclusiveness, hoarding and heart disease brought my Aunt into my life as my mom died. There was no one else to care for my Aunt. My wife and I adopted my reclusive Aunt and spent over a year gaining her trust. We gained admission into her home, into a chair unearthed from her mountains of stuff and finally we gained admission into her heart. In the end, we spent those final months as she slipped ever deeper into dementia. Again, I was there for the that final grinding, long, gasping ride to the quiet end. The clock ticking in the silent room.
I am proud of those three achievements because it was how it use to be long ago. It was a challenge and it was mentally exhausting. But, in the end, they passed with someone holding their hands. It was spiritual and challenging. I hope it is not morose or maudlin. It is intended to be the passage, the journey we all move through….eventually.
Lastly, the Every Day in May Challenge. It has been a very positive and enlightening experience. When Chadd VanZanten of How Small A Trout corresponded with me, I was immediately impressed by the topics list. Yes, much of it was fishing related and I relished the opportunity of giving up a little bit of me that others really don’t know under the cloak of SwittersB.
But, other factors became entwined whether Chadd knew this would result or not I don’t know. Life intervened for me. More strife, more stressors, more distractions. To make the daily posting and to be challenged to write outside the box and try for something different perhaps was challenging and I have to say rewarding for me.
So, why the attachment of the seemingly heavy stuff above…the deaths of my loved ones. Well along the way of this Every Day In May Challenge quite a few topics and writing efforts renewed my faith in the spiritual value of the outdoors in healing, renewing, focusing the mind and heart. Being at one with self, nature, God, and the past. Peace of mind and of heart. It was a heck of a lot of fun too!
Thanks to all the fine bloggers that participated and added energy and motion to this fun project. Hooray for us!!!