Thursday, May 31, 2012

Advice to the Living from the Dead

My father, when he was alive, would often criticize me for always being in a rush. I worked four days a week and helped out with my grandkids, so I was always running here and there, trying to complete everything before the start of a new work week.
“Slow down, or you’ll make yourself sick.” He would often say as I zoomed in for a quick visit and back out of his house trying to get everything done in one day.
“Dad, I have to hurry or I won’t get done,” I would reply.

“Don’t rush to your grave any faster than you need to,” he would counter.
My father was in no hurry to rush to his grave and there were many times when he was in the hospital, that my siblings and I would get a call from the doctors to come in immediately because my father was near death. I remember one particular day when I received such a call and I literally ran from the Academy of Natural Sciences on 19th and the Parkway all the way to Jefferson Hospital on 11th and Chestnut to see him one last time.
I arrived at his room expecting the worse only to find him sitting up in bed enjoying his meal. “Dad, why are you eating?”
He looked at me like I had two heads and replied, “I’m hungry, why?”

“The doctor called us and said that you were dying.”
“Not today, I’ll go when I’m good and ready,” he replied and then went back to eating his lunch.

After that incident, whenever the doctors would call us to say that my father was doing poorly and might die, I would always reply, “He’ll go when he’s good and ready and not before.” He lived to be 92.

So this past week, I almost lost my daughter and her husband to a serious accident with an all-terrain vehicle.
                  And I lost a wonderful cousin who died way before her time.
                                             My wonderful cousin, Marie. Seen on far left.

My father’s words came back to me tonight after I visited her family. “Take it easy, enjoy your life and don’t rush around so much. The faster you rush, the faster you reach your grave.”
So for all my friends and family, I wish you a long, healthy, joyful life that is spent enjoying the little, silly, funny, fleeting, moments that make this journey worth the ride. Take the slow lane.     


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