You Best Be Living
At my parents' house. (Taken early in the spring before the dock went in the water.)
Quite a few of you have asked how my father is doing, and given that I can’t seem to keep up with responding individually, I thought I’d share an update directly from him, in the form of a few sentences taken from a note he sent out to family and friends yesterday:
...the doctor informed us that this was not good, that I was not responding to treatment and again announced this was not good. Sue asked how much time I had and he said it was hard to tell. Sue asked again and he said maybe weeks. Weeks can be 2 or 52, I really don't know. I do know I feel fine.
(A section about specific lab results that I omitted.)
Please understand that I feel fine and still function, at least at a lower level. I water my plants every day and mow my lawn. I save the weed whacking for Jim and Dawn (dad’s brother and my sister); I want to make sure everyone has a good time. We had a lot of rain last week and the lake rose so I had water completely around the dock. I went to the dock with the Ranger, hooked up to it, and pulled it to dry land so I wouldn't have to make a running long jump to get on the dock. I then retied the boat as the lines were a little long.Yesterday I decided to go to a brook to fish, this brook is across the street from my house, about 4 miles in the woods. I got into the Ranger and off I went. When I got to the brook it was running pretty high and fast but there were areas I felt I could fish comfortably. I got out of the Ranger and started to put my 3wt fly rod together (I keep this rod in the Ranger all the time), immediately every fly in Aroostook County descended on me. I said no problem, I went to the glove box of the Ranger to get my bug spray that I keep there but no spray. At that point the flies from Aroostook County called in their cousins from New Brunswick so I did what any brave American Veteran would do, I waved the White Flag and got the hell out of there.
Not able to fish, I came home and removed the window tint from my truck (too dark for the State of Maine). Today we will be taking the boat out and enjoying the lake.
Dawn just came downstairs and let me know that it starts getting daylight here around 3:30 in the morning. I said, “isn't it great.”
This from a guy whose nurses thought that he would not make it through the weekend, three weeks ago. To be clear, my father would be the first to admit he is a stubborn pain in the ass who can be as ornery as the next Yankee, but not once in my life have I heard the man complain. Never has he wanted for more. He shows up, puts in his best work, and accepts that which is beyond his control. He might not like it, but he accepts it. Even more remarkable to me, he has known plenty of tragedy and strife and would be justified in feeling pissed off about things, but that’s not his way. He’s always been a one foot in front of the other kind of guy, and it seems that will be his way until the end. Thank you for asking about him, and for your thoughts and prayers of comfort and peace.
Before I go, I’d like to share one more photo. This was taken a few weeks ago at Aunt Ruth’s 90th birthday party (one week after his nurses thought he'd leave this earthly plane). That’s my dad to her right, also in the photo are all of dad’s (living) siblings. We had just been up the weekend before, so could not make the ten hour trek back for this party, but I was glad to see dad felt up to venturing across the lake to celebrate our family’s matriarch. Never have I imagined a tiara would land on Aunt Ruth’s adorable head, but there you go. To think, just last fall she had a successful moose hunt, and on this day, it was all tiaras and libations, commemorating ninety trips around the sun. Both she and dad have taught us many things through their quiet ways. For me, one of the most important lessons being: If you’re still living, then you best be Living.