Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tell Me All That You Know, I'll Show You Snow and Rain

Let's get this straight right up front. Dad was an atheist and so are most of us in the family. Sure, we are Jewish in culture and tradition, but there ain't no God to comfort you. He taught us not to believe that lie.

So here's what went down on that dark night of Jan 21 and early morning of the 22.

The old man got his last shave.

As kids, every one of us were taught to shave by him lathering up, giving us a razor (blade less, we later learned), and we would go to town on his face.

I did it, Josh did it; all of us had the experience. I hope you readers shaved your dads too.

On the evening of the 21, we all shaved him one more time. Does that seem weird?

Everyone in the family, and there are a lot of us, stayed in the room, taking turns lying on the bed, holding on for one last hug.
Kimberly was the nurse, keeping him comfortable any way she could dream up.

Brother-in-law, Jeff was the assistant. He had a hard time with the rubber gloves, but bless him, he was there to help.

Then Josh looked outside and noticed something extremely rare and unusual happening ..Snow.

Snow in Tucson has not occurred in 25 years. It never snows at night. There was no wind or sound. And it just kept falling until the entire neighborhood was blanketed in deep, silent, whiteness.

We all went out and played and laughed and wondered.

Joshua said that people think Death is black, but actually Death is white and pure and clean.

I was a little freaked out by it all, but kept taking pictures.

When we returned to the room, somebody uncorked a bottle of wine and there was sadness and laughter. Pretty soon, Kimberly was teaching the girls yoga poses. She was remarkable.

I got on the laptop and started playing some music.

At he end, Kimberly and sister Mickey helped him pass while James Taylor was singing "Enough to Be on Your Way". Check it out sometime.

This is a time in the story when one would expect some of those Famous Last Words. I will try not to disappoint.

But, truth be told, the real last intelligible thing he said in English was "All I wanted was a screwdriver!"

Nobody could figure that one out. But by then, Kimberly had seen that he was tightly wrapped in the arms of Morpheus, so he was really dreaming away. Perhaps he was making last minute repairs.

We'll never know.

But a while earlier, a more significant and profound thought came out and this will be the one we will always count as the Famous Last Words because they speak to what sort of a guy he was.

Kimberly was on the bed, doing what she does. I was in a bedside chair as was Jeff. We were feeling pretty sad. Dad was mumbling, trying to get some words out out and finally said, very clearly,

"Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Kimberly kissed him on the head and said, "No, Dad, we thank you!"

The next day, the snow was gone. We got a phone call from our son, Brandon in San Francisco. He told us his wife, Vanessa, had just given birth to a baby girl whose name is Chloe.

We have already given her a nickname..GiGi (great granddaughter). I expect her to be shaving me someday.

All of us atheists believe they passed each other somewhere in the cosmos that snowy night and Dad gave her a high five on her way down.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


At 6:01 AM, Anonymous robin said...

beautiful and exceptional, just like daddy.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Max said...

I love the comment about the screwdriver. My Uncle Bernie is such a kibitzer. It shows he kept his sence of humor to the very end. my condolences to uncle Bernies children and grandchild. love to you all, cousin Max Bortnick

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Kathryn said...

You guys rock. I miss you. My daughter's nickname is GiGi (for Georgia Grace). Your dad was way too cool.
xo Kathryn from SB


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