May 14 2018
As we continue with our theme of Nurturing, Where Do You Begin and the story of the patriarch who died, the gifts from nurturing continued. All of the patriarch’s grown children had returned home to help care for him in his final days. He appreciated having them near, they valued their time with him, and they became closer as they worked together and supported one another. Once he was settled in at home, extended family and friends stopped by to express their love, confirm they were each his “favorite” (a longstanding game) and say their goodbyes. This patriarch took it all in. His energy level increased for these four days of visits, and then once the last group left, his attention turned inward. He lived until the following morning.
These children gave their father the gift of dying at home surrounded by them as he wished. He gave his family the gift of love, authenticity, the model of living fully until the very end and a lesson in the importance of family and community.
After his death, his family had a wake, funeral service and burial. They personalized each of these with a tribute video, pictures, quotes, motorcycle police, color guard and taps. The number of participants and outpouring of support was overwhelming.
The family and friends continue to grieve this patriarch’s loss, but they do so knowing he was well-loved and supported. They know they are too. This knowing helps to carry them as they mourn.
All of the gifts of this experience were ways of nurturing - nurturing selves and others.
(Adapted from the article first printed in the Gazette on May 3, 2018)