Daze of My Life: Prologue-ing the Past
Daze of My Life
Prologue-ing the Past
As I sit and write, it's been five weeks, exactly, since my father died, and though that's a fairly brief interval of time to have mourned the loss of the greatest father a son could ever hope to have, perhaps it's time, column-writing time, that is, to be a little less morose, and a bit more humorous (at least attempt to be) than I've mostly been over the past five weeks.
Granted, funny is in the eyes - and ears - of the beholder, and funny is certainly different for different people but, let me try to amuse you all in a self-effacing admission of this one's middle age meltdown:
Stepping on the scale and expecting the pounds to have magically disappeared overnight; trying for the umpteenth time to get more than one leg into my brother's size 38-waist, hand-me-down jeans; reflecting on my clothes-less physique in the mirror and posing face-forward or in profile without breathing in or straightening out; calling my wife, Dina at her work either on their land line or on her cell phone and expecting my call to not be intrusive or bothersome; romancing my wife in the privacy of our home and not being rebuffed - and deflated - mid-grope by the ever-unpopular, and all-too-familiar: "Kenny, what are you doing?"; commuting to and from McLean, VA (from Burtonsville, MD) without needing to listen to "traffic and weather on the 8s," if not sooner, or more frequently, or on other channels at other times, as I hope to arrive at work rested and relaxed; standing in line at any number of regular weekly stops - supermarket, drugstore, pharmacy, bank, pet store, "inconvenience store," "lack-of-service station," take out/carry out, dry cleaners, hardware, software, evening wear, clothes and accessories, etc. - and being treated with respect and appreciation. Yeah, and while I'm being delusional, which some people might find funny, why don't I wish everyone lots of health, happiness and prosperity in the new year.
And since it is a new year, what better time for me to buck up and not break down, anymore, and re-consider the future, and follow my father's final dignified example and live as long and prosperously as he did. And why not? I have many years to go before I die, and the sooner I get on with them, the better. That's not to say that there won't be references to my father in future columns, it's more to say that, as I move forward and hopefully get back on track, those references will be more humorous and less sorrowful.
I realize I was lucky having had a father in my life until I was 52 (and he was 87), and a father with a sense of humor too. Specifically, I remember the Tuesday before the Saturday that he died. My brother Richard; my father's caregiver, Maria; and yours truly took my father to have his broken elbow x-rayed. In pain and incontinent, out-of-the-house trips were difficult and unpleasant for my father, but Dr. Feldman, my father's primary care physician needed the x-rays to confirm the diagnosis.
While we were all sitting in the waiting area (my father in his wheelchair), going on 45 minutes because the doctor's orders were written incorrectly, identifying the wrong arm to be x-rayed (so we needed new orders and that took time), I couldn't help but notice my father's obvious discomfort, so I tried to humor him to help pass the time.
"Beez," (his nickname), I just spoke with Dr. Feldman and do you know what he said you should do if your arm hurts every time you lift it?"
"Don't lift it," my father said as he grimaced in pain and looked in my general direction, unable to see since his second stroke.
"That's right, Beez," I said, laughing with him, as he struggled to smile. That was my father, funny to the end, although there was nothing funny about it. Nor is losing a parent or a sibling or a child or anyone else who is important in your life, anything to laugh about. But I will try. My father would want me to. He gave me a gift; a sense of humor, and I intend to use it; in his memory, of course.
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.