Saturday, January 29, 2011

Coming To The End

Hal Foster

My father is dying. Last Christmas he said he expected it would be his last.

He's had cancer for some time. Last year he announced he would not seek any further treatment to stop it.

His attitude is quite unexpected, for me, anyway: he jokes about heading for medical school (he and Mom both are donating their bodies for teaching or research). He seems to me to be sufficiently satisfied with his life that there is no need to treat it's end as anything more than the end of a decent novel. He told me a few years ago that he would have no problem with the Orthodox Jewish doctrine that there is no life after death. He has been taking advantage of the opportunity to enjoy all the bad foods that he likes - he's not worried about salt or cholesterol. What he enjoys most are the visits from his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I have been reading to him from cross-county bicycling journals.

If there is anything difficult for him, it seems it's the mundane concerns of physical comfort and the amount of work other people go through to help him be comfortable. He accepts that he needs the help and doesn't seem much dismayed that he's not his remembered hale and hearty younger self.

To us his decline seems rapid, but that's only in contrast to his extraordinary good health, brought about by what must be a million miles of bicycling. Because of his level of activity he enjoyed a longer span of life and higher level of health than most.

Site Meter