MJ reporting from hospice where dad is comfortable,mostly quiet but still able to deliver the occasional pithy remark. Brother Joe arrived this morning. Cousins are all around us so just picture: dice and card games, arguments over rules, arguments over sports, politics and whatever else might inspire a debate, tons of food including leftovers from our Arabic food feast last night- (delete that, I forgot Joe arrived) and endless stories about the lifetimes of experiences that have made these bonds between us so strong. Dad is in his element as we honor his contribution to who we all became and how connected we are to each other. We stand on the shoulders of giants- Hospice is an amazing place, with just the right mix of medical, spiritual, soothing, straight talk and extraordinary people.
A story from cousin Jackie who claims the privilege of being the cousin who has known dad the longest- ...."I find myself recalling Uncle Joe as our Civics Teacher so long ago... how much everyone in the class admired him and how proud I was that he was "going with" my Aunt Dolores ( alias Trouble maker, aka DoDo)
Just the fact that these little moments are still vivid reminds me of what a quality guy he is and always will be. Uncle Joe is beyond special... I guess I just adore him.
Stay strong and love him as you always do. You have an army of cousins at your side.
As we closed up dad's house I found this yellowed newspaper clipping that has been on his dresser for as long as I can remember:
The coach knocked on the Pearly Gate
His face was scarred and old
He stood before the man of fate
For admission to the fold
"What have you done" St. Peter asked
"To gain admission here?"
"I've been a basketball coach" he said,
"For many and many a year
The Pearly Gate swung open wide
St. Peter touched the bell,
'Come in and choose your harp,' he said
"You've had your share of hell".