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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)

TITLE: The peace of living and dying
By Judy Lawhon


Hes an old man. The plastic tubes bringing the life saving oxygen with each breath were evidence of the extent of his failing health.
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.
Hes 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. Ive 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 doesnt 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 Crossthis 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, Ive had such a good life. Id 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. Hes 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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Member Comments
Member Date
Dolores Stohler09/02/10
I enjoyed this tribute to your dad. The worst part of growing old is the feeling that perhaps you have outlived your usefulness and the sadness that comes from acnowledging this. Be sure you tell him how much he's loved and appreciated and make him feel needed. This will mean so much to him. God bless you.
Genia Gilbert09/05/10
Thanks for sharing these feelings whether from observation or, I suspect, firsthand. To see a loved one in light of reality, both with wonderful qualities and some not so great, is real love, and like God's love for us.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/05/10
What a great story about faith and love. It touched my heart.
Theresa Santy 09/06/10
I was impressed with your father's attitude toward death, but even more inspired by his attitude toward life.

May we all be as excited as he, to see the same thing over and over again. To not be constantly searching for the next best thing, but to be in awe over God's creations such as the quail, each and every time we see it.