Hard to believe that it was only a week ago that I rolled a small suitcase into my father’s hospital room in CCU, making plans to help him welcome in the Sabbath. Little did I know that 48 hours later he would be motioning my sister and me to his bedside, summoning what little strength he had left to say goodbye, sharing the hope that he had been a good father to us and that he was on the way to heaven.
Dad’s body was still on his bed, his vitals strong, but for a period of over an hour he was unresponsive. His mind/soul had detached from his body and travelled to a destination we only learned when he returned and informed me that he had a bad dream. He dreamt that he was at his own funeral. Was it just a dream, or perchance a tug of war between his mind and body?
An epilogue is a rider of sorts, typically an afterword at the end of a book.
Dr. Sherwin Nuland is an author about whom I’ve blogged before and he has written extensively about giving elders dignity and respect in determining life’s end. If How We Die is a reflection on life’s final chapter, Dad is now officially in the process of adding on pages. He said to me, not long after returning from his venture beyond, that he would like to get re-acquainted. I’m very pleased to help him write his epilogue.
A beautiful way to spend the first part of the day — seeing Dad & Fay together again after his sojourn in the hospital for too long, celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary, including face time with Cincinnati.
I never fully appreciated David Foster Wallace as an author until thumbing through the recently released “Greatest Hits” put together to posthumously celebrate the range of his literary contributions, prompting me to sit down with it seriously over the weekend.
The Wallace Reader opens with The Planet Trillaphon As It Stands In Relation To The Bad Thing, an early work published in the Amherst Review when David Wallace was 22, and before authorship took on his middle name. As most first works, the degree to which it is autobiographical wasn’t as clear as it would become when he committed suicide 24 years later. There is a dark side to DFW, yet – or, perhaps through this – he was able to inspire many readers and listeners, as evidenced in this video capturing the essence of a commencement speech he gave during graduation ceremonies at Kenyon College.
D.T. Max, writing in The New Yorker magazine, considers that DFW left this planet with considerable unfinished business. As a newcomer to the depth of Wallace’s writing, I’ll be traveling down the path on which he has led other readers’ eyes and minds. While I doubt that I’ll be experiencing Talmudic flashbacks as was the case for Joseph Winkler, one never knows where the linkages will lead.
It seems so fleeting to have only a Veterans Day. It should be at least Veterans Week, for the effects of service to self, family and country last a lifetime. One way among many to help preserve this is to buy a copy of For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism, and Sacrifice. The book is co-authored by Starbucks’ head honcho, Howard Schultz. The authors will donate proceeds from the sale of the book to Onward Veterans fund.