Eldon Ray Berridge – Feb 9, 1914 to June15, 2009

My father passed away just before 7 pm on Monday, June 15 at the age of 95.  We were a team.  This is my version of our story.  We think of life as a living and dying cycle.  Yet, to me, it is now birthing and birthing.  Daddy’s last breaths were as much contractions that took him to the next world as those that brought him into this world. 

For decades Daddy insisted that he didn’t want just to exist, only to live vigorously.  And, when living as defined by some undetermined characteristics that largely painted an abstract-type picture no longer occurred for him, he wished one of us would ‘shoot’ him.  I’m not thinking he had a gun in mind.  I’m thinking he, on some level, wanted to trust that we would honor his desires and prevent him from being trapped in a body which didn’t perform to the standards he would choose.  Or, at least, God would hear his plea and raise him just in time.  At what moment that body failed him, I cannot say.  Nor, I believe, could he.  When the dastardly deed was done and he was bedfast and wasted, I recognized we had missed the elusive signal which pulsed “life as you wish no longer exists, nor is it retrievable”.

Daddy was my ally when Mother had no time for a baby.  I expected to be his ally when his body had no time for life.  All those years, I thought he wanted me to add or take away something essential so he could avoid the suffering of just existing.  These are simple thoughts I pose…until they fall into the realms of choice and allegiance.  I agonized.  How could I help him, hopefully legally?  Would I honor the man I knew and his request of many years or would I honor his process and its timing?  How would I know what he would choose just then, given his new relationship with dying?  What if dying by his self-determined schedule aborted his divine unfolding?  What is it about this life-death process that grips our hearts?  How does it become a major decision instead of a natural process?  How is it we forget we are re-birthing ourselves?

Interestingly, looking for the right moment and right means of assistance actually led me to the right moment and the right means of assistance.  Simple is perhaps the most profound.  Sometimes one undefinable thing holds a person hostage to this planet when the rest of him is begging to go.  Forgiveness was the only subject I had not discussed with him.  He always said lots of things in life are a crapshoot.  You take your chances.  Throwing the dice, I went to him and told him that the time had come to free himself and his soul to be where he needed to be.  I walked him through the beauties and vagaries of our lives together and his with others.  I helped him ask God’s blessing for those who hurt or disappointed him and helped him set them free as well.  I did all the things any of us would have done, reassuring him how loved he is/was, how cared for Mother would continue to be, how the family would bind together to live out the traditions and strengths he set in place for us and how the pains of this lifetime no longer had purpose for him.  He sighed.  Peace permeated his being.  His breaths came less frequently and he died a few minutes later.

Had he gotten his death wish when his body quit servicing the needs he thought important, his work would have been unfinished.  I humbly witnessed his process fulfill itself and his spirit soar quickly and easily to the place he desired all along.



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This entry was posted on Friday, July 31st, 2009 at 9:32 am and is filed under Grace-Full Living. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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  1. Anelena Ackerly on December 22, 2009 7:32 am

    Thank you for sharing your poignant, transitional moments with your Father. My Mother appears to be trapped…it seems 3/4 of her are on the other side and the remaining, struggling 1/4 is here…it truly has been a very slow transition. She is 98 and in a rehab facility with a broken neck and a feeding tube. She is holding on…unable to forgive and to ultimately release and yet she wants to pass on. The deepest part of her soul seems to be attemtping to create that beautiful assemblage…meld the 1/4 of her remaining personality unable to find peace and any type of comfort. She struggles and continues to battle life with that small fraction of the fighting, chaotic and unaccepting portion of her personality; that part that remains here. I am constantly reminded that the personality is the soul attempting to heal itself as I listen to my Mother. Your experience with your Father as he realized all is truly well; that forgiveness is a peacemaker and that there is pure joy and comfort beyond imagination in letting go; is quite profound and beautiful. Thank you! Love to you Jeanne Olson, from A

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