Well. I spent the evening (last night) with my father, who introduced me to his girlfriend and treated us to dinner at Mi Ranchito (it was yummy).
There were a number of reflective moments (!), a fair amount of joking, and basic information sharing. I learned more about the details of the automobile accident last year, that they thought dad’s spleen had ruptured and almost took it out, they almost didn’t let Shirley in to see him, etc.
It gave us the opportunity to talk about a health care proxy and end-of-life wishes. He wants to be cremated, but I pressed on details prior to that: what about heroic measures to extend your life? “I don’t want to be in a vegetative state hooked up to a bunch of tubes.” I asked him about that time in critical condition after the wreck…did he ever want it to end or feel it was over? “Oh no.” He explained he was vaguely aware of things happening around him, and Shirley confirmed there was evidence he was ‘still there’. Dad said at no time did he feel that it was time to go. I asked, so if there’s any consciousness then you want to hang in? “Of course.”
Dad doesn’t seem to be at any imminent risk, he’s 74, still gets out into the world just about every day. One has to grab these moments when one can, though, because who knows what might happen and then how do you decide? The legal paperwork is called Advance Directives, and the regulations vary by state.
While we were at dad’s place I noticed an audiotape from my childhood, Nilsson’s “The Point”, which dad let me borrow for the ride back east. I remember listening to it on roadtrips when I was growing up, but don’t think I ever understood it. “That is one of the highlights of my life,” dad said. “It’s a wonderful allegory set to music.”
Then he dug up a CD of the Ophelia Ragtime Orchestra. “They’re all Norwegian!” It’s the first time I’m aware of dad celebrating his roots. He says it’s of the same type as “The Point.” The song, Sheik of Araby, “says it all.”
Can I learn how to add sound?