Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)
TITLE: The peace of living and dying
By Judy Lawhon
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But he can still walk, and he loves the desert. “Walk with him,” my mom said. “He needs the exercise, and he loves to see the quail on the path.”
So, we headed out, side by side, heading down the path behind their Arizona home. He shuffled along slowly, his legs no longer able to lift his feet for his normal gait. He walked with his head down, watching for rocks and obstacles in his way.
He stopped suddenly, looking around. “I heard the quail,” he said. And he pointed towards the brush just as a covey of perhaps 20 quail scurried away from us, seeking the safety of distance and cover in the underbrush. He stopped to watch them and said, “I never get tired of seeing them.”
He’s always loved the outdoors and has been a hunter and fisherman for most of his days. His knowledge of nature is something to be admired. I’ve learned an appreciation of the creatures in this universe from this stubborn man who has met life head on and who has an opinion on everything and doesn’t always choose to see the other side of an issue.
He is a World War II pilot, having flown in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross—this young man just off the farm in South Dakota. Hard to believe that this frail old man was such an accomplished flyer so many years ago.
But his mind is good and on this morning he wanted to speak of life and the prospect of death. He said, “I used to not want to die but, you know, I’ve had such a good life. I’d rather die than end up in a nursing home after a stroke or worse.”
And I know from this stubborn, sometimes contrary, sometimes mellow, always opinionated aging man that it is okay to die. My dad is still very much alive, but I know when the day comes that he has departed this earth, I will feel peaceful. He’s at peace. He has a wonderful attitude about living and dying. His legacy will live on. His positive sense of nature and life and death have been passed on to me, and my prayer is that my children and grandchildren will experience those same peaceful feelings from me.
Dad, I love you and thank you for being you.
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