The overriding message of The Five Invitations which I am reading right now, is that everything must change. Even the cells in our bodies are in a constant state of flux. Nothing stays the same for even a second.
Take right now for instance. It’s hot outside, but I can sense autumn in the breeze. The days are getting shorter and the fat, hairy male spiders are coming in to mate. The bastards – don’t they know how bloody scary they are!
There was a real sense of a new ‘season’ when we (me and my two sisters) went to visit my dad on Saturday. He had a headache, so didn’t fancy venturing out into the heat. We told him to stay in his old codger’s chair, while we went and bought lunch.
We ate it in his living room with the curtains closed, watching a DVD about an oddball family that used to frequent the pub my parents ran in the 70s, 80 and early 90s.
We normally go out somewhere for lunch, do a bit of shopping or have a walk in the afternoon sun, but this visit was very low key. Dad fell asleep in his chair for a bit and the three of us fought the urge to nod off with him.
A friend told me recently about the fond memories she has of the lunches enjoyed with her father when he had terminal cancer. Her favourite afternoon was spent lying on a bed, chatting and reading newspapers while he drifted in and out of sleep. ‘You must cherish your lovely dad,’ she said. I will. I am.
Dad looks small, frail and the spit of his mother. He still looks well, but that, like everything else, will not last.
Frank Ostaseski the author of the Five Invitations urges us to ‘welcome everything, push away nothing.’ Can I really ‘welcome’ my father’s demise? It’s going to happen whatever I do, so I guess I’d better. Still, we are not there yet and hopefully there is still some fun and laughter to be had.
I welcome everything and push nothing away.