Celebrating Father’s Day for the first time without you...
Read on March 26, 2016
@ Rich Griffith’s Celebration of Life
In the final weeks of my father’s life, we asked him, “How would you like people to celebrate you once you are gone?”
“No party,” he grumbled. “No party.”
Let me tell you something about my dad: He never missed a party. He never missed a celebration for someone he cared about. He never missed a funeral for someone significant in his life that had passed. This is the guy who attended every high school and neighborhood reunion possible, and he lived 3,000 miles away from where they were held.
There was something beautiful and conflicting about my father. While he was prickly on the outside, he was soft and vulnerable on the inside. He was gruff, grumpy, and downright curmudgeonly at times. If you sat next to him and listened to the conversations he had with his friends and family, you might wonder if he liked them at all.
A brief encounter with a woman with cancer recently reminded me to slow down and acknowledge what is before us — even if what we see is hard to accept or comprehend.
It was Sunday morning and I was walking through the Berkeley Rose Garden with my husband and son. I saw a woman sitting on a bench with a journal resting in the palm of her hand. She was wrapped in warm clothing from head to toe, despite the sunny weather.
Her head was bald and her face was pale and sullen. I could tell from afar she was very sick.
My son was a few feet ahead and I worried that he might, in his five-year-old innocence, say something like, “Mommy, why is she bald?” I hurried to catch up with him to avoid an uncomfortable situation.