“When have you needed to walk away from an issue before you could walk back and address it?” This has happened to me. Probably more than once but the time I’m thinking of was an important one. I am one of 5 children. All of us had problems with our father. An alcoholic and hardened by a difficult life, he was difficult to get along with. I remember one instance where as an adult dealing with “father” issues went to see him in the nursing home. He was failing but quite lucid. I was the only visitor among his children for months. He had been essentially forgotten. I couldn’t stand that idea so I went. I wanted to tell him the pain he’d caused me in my life. I did. His response was to tell me even greater pain he’d experienced. He “topped” me. I left there thinking he’d never understand me and the pain he’d caused and that I’d never go to see him again unless he acknowledged my pain. Months went by. I got a call from the social worker saying no one was visiting my father and he was lonely. I decided to drop my condition and revisit him. He was unusually soft and tender to me. This, I had never seen in my whole life. He started talking about the war and a friend he had there. They were engineers stationed in Okinawa for 2 1/2 years. It was their dream when they got back home to survey their way across the country (they were land surveyors). I told him what a beautiful dream that was and asked him to tell me more when he felt better. I left amazed at a father I had never seen.
That night I received a call from the hospital that he had been rushed there. He had pneumonia and had difficulty breathing. I stayed with him the rest of the night, and in fact the following 3 days. He was dying. I called My brothers and sisters and they had reluctantly come to see him, along with my ailing mother. We were all there as a family one last time. The 3rd night I shooed everyone away and stayed with my father alone. He was near death. The nurse came in late at night and looked at me as if to say “I’m going to end this now”. I nodded and she gave him a lethal dose of morphine. I knew this was it so I held him in my arms as he let his last breath out. I felt a reconciliation with him at that moment. We had taken our journeys apart, then back together with God’s grace.