I buried my Dad four weeks ago. I’m still getting used to speaking of him in past tense. And even though it was a long battle with cancer, it still seems too early.

During the past month, five of my friends’ fathers also died. I’ve heard sometimes people die in batches (think Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, etc.), but this is just weird.

I’ve actually been grieving the loss of my Dad for the past year and a half, as he just wasn’t quite the same once certain symptoms started kicking in. After he had his prostate removed, we thought it was all good. Then, while I was in Haiti … not the happiest place on earth to cushion bad news … he told me they found cancer again. And with all the doctor appointments, traveling back and forth and such, it’s been an exhausting 24 months for the family.

But my point here is not to depress you.

Through the past couple years, even in the creeping fog of death, I’ve gained acute insights into how powerful life is. From the crumbled ruins of Haiti to the fluid-stained ICU beds where my father had wrestled since Christmas Eve, I’ve been entirely amazed by the strength of life-energy. (I don’t really like that term. It sounds too new-agey. But it’s the most accurate easy descriptor I can think of right now.)

I’ve also seen it through my Master Naturalist classes.  In the microscopic processes that drive microorganisms; the adaptability of  metamorphic animals; the befuddling geologic timescale; artifacts illustrating the brilliance of ancient humans; the rocketing growth of tomatoes and squash in my garden (and the snails that try to eat them); and of course, those goddamn fire ants. Hell, even that evil beast, cancer. It’s one determined bastard. You gotta give it that.

But in all of it, I shake my head in amazement of the unquenchable radiance of life. I want to swim in this life-energy that’s all around us. I want to enjoy life; breathe it in. Not make the most of a career, but of life. I intentionally do not say, “Make the most of MY life.” That implies trying to live up to some expectation.

So I mean this: take full advantage of the life that I’m surrounded by…the life that connects us all. That same energy that fuels the planetary motion fuels the unconscious pumping of our hearts and lungs.

I remember watching intently as my dad gasped between the pumping of the breathing machine. It was just a few hours before he died. He was entirely non-responsive. But he was breathing. Somehow. His skin was still warm, but not as warm as the day before. I don’t think he was “there.” He was already somewhere else. But something, besides the sterile mechanisms, was still powering his body. The energy was fading. Beginning its transition into another type of energy. A transition that would, through astounding natural processes, transform human flesh into oxygen for me to breathe.

I am wordlessly thankful to my father. For exemplifying how to take a singular, unique path.  For acknowledging and then ignoring rules and the status quo. For standing firmly. And for resting. For enjoying life. For always being proud of me. For squeezing my hand once more, before he passed, to let me know he loved me. For helping create me. And for helping us all, even in his dying, by handing over his bit of energy.

I know this wasn’t the most unified of posts. But oh well. I just wanted to say that I plan on embodying every little bit of universal energy that I possibly can, and sharing it with others. I hope you’ll join me.

With that in mind, I may not be posting here very often anymore. I’ve said my peace on the topics this blog has been focused on. I’m moving on. Not necessarily in another direction. Just…on. I plan on opening a new site where my musings take on different forms. It might be a while before I open it to the public, but I’ll keep you posted.

So if you’ve liked what I’ve had to say here over the past two years, I really think you’re going to like what I’ve got planned to share. So stick with me while I transition.

Until then, peace to you and yours.

— Dave


image source: M.C. Escher, Sky and Water I (woodcut)



9 Responses

  1. Indeed, man. I hope the past couple of months have been kinder to you.

    I came here to invite you to the Speakeasy Blogger Network at whenever you start blogging again. But obviously–do what you need to do first. Thoughts are with you.

  2. Thank you. I just recently ran into your blog, and I have spent the past hour re-reading previous posts (I have yet to finish, but I will finish soon)

    Anyway, thank you. I am surrounded by atheists and theists, both of whom are so very very sure that they are completely right. I am a terrible debater/discuss-er/orator, so I leave every conversation not only feeling like I am a complete idiot, but that whatever I may feel is obviously wrong. Your blog has taken every feeling I have and put it into the words I could never find, always inspiring, occasionally overwhelming, and they give me hope that someday I will find the words you have.

    My deepest sympathy about your father, and I hope you continue writing.


    • Thank you so much Sarah. I appreciate your feedback; it’s deeply encouraging. Just be encouraged that you’re not the only one. Hundreds of thousands have been or are in your position. While that may not make it much easier, at least know that you will survive it. And whatever the outcome, whatever form your faith or lack-of-faith may take, it. is. okay. You are what you are, and you cannot decrease (or increase?) your amazing value to the universe. I’ve realized it really doesn’t matter how well we can debate. At the core, we all have our convictions, and nothing will change that except our own experiences with truth, whatever form that truth takes. The best we can do, in my opinion, is honor the truth in each person, even if it’s just a grain that relates to your own truth, the truth you can’t explain but know deeply.

      Thanks again for your encouragement.


  3. Good stuff, David! Please keep me informed on the details of your new blog.

  4. So very sorry to hear of the struggle your family has faced the last 2 years, and ultimately saying goodbye to your dad. I read this with much sympathy as we are coming onto 18 months of hell-on-earth watching cancer eat away at my mother’s body. I will face what you have just witnessed and experienced in the coming months….and the part about the tenacity of LIFE ENERGY is so profound, as you say. My daughter is days from delivering my first grandchild (a girl no less) and we wonder if Mom is hanging on just to see this next-next-next generation before she goes. I wasn’t sure a human body could contain such joyful expectation and such overwhelming fear of the future at the same time. It must be that LIFE energy you speak of. I’m thankful for your words here, as I definitely relate on so many levels. Peace to you Dave. Looking forward to what comes next for you.

    • So sorry to hear about your mother. One big difficulty for us, and for others I’ve talked to who went through similar situations, was the “rallying.” The big highs of apparent recovery, followed by sudden, seemingly inexplicable drops. In my father’s case, one day he’d be doing amazing in physical therapy, walking…and that night he would drop into unconsciousness. I know you didn’t ask for it, and I’m sorry that I have no advice for you, other than to listen to what the doctors (or palliative care nurses) are saying and follow their advice…and know that you are not alone. But more importantly, really, take care of yourself too. Take time to breathe each day. You have to. And listen to your emotions and your body. Stress hides silently, but it has some good advice and deserves attention. You’ll come through it. But in the meantime, I wish you peace. Thanks for reading, and take care of yourself.

  5. Somehow, despite my 43 years on the planet, I have yet to experience intimate loss. I hope that I will see the radiance of life through the fog. Wonderful post – thank you!

  6. I’m so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing.

    Looking forward to your new site, though!

  7. Beautiful post, Dave. Take your time and enjoy life. It’s all around us, just waiting for us to participate.

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