“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” ~Norman Cousins

How to Really Live Instead of Merely Existing – Tiny Buddha“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” ~Norman Cousins “Come here and take Dora out to get some milk.” With those simple words, I knew my father’s time was short. Not a man to ask for help, I knew that milk was just an excuse to get me to come to his side. My father was a gruff, angry, bitter man who had sealed himself off from nearly everyone. I spoke with him at 7:00 am every Saturday morning for fifteen years. In those conversations he complained about nearly every human interaction he had experienced in the space between my calls. I rarely missed a call and usually alerted him if I knew I would not be able to call him at the designated hour. Nonetheless, he was blunt about his annoyance if 7:00 am passed without a call, and I heard about it loud and clear. But, even though I lived only thirty minutes away and my calls were obviously important to him in some way, I actually saw him only about once each year. That was the way he wanted it. That February morning when I arrived at his apartment, I was shocked by what I saw. Dad gasped for air and he was thin, so thin that I could easily make out the knobs of his knees under the jeans that gaped at his waist. A walker I didn’t know he needed was parked beside his chair. A wheelchair borrowed from a loan closet was folded beside the front door. I had no idea that my father was so ill, and obviously had been very ill for a long time. He didn’t protest when I told him I was calling 911.

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