Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Goodbye Daddy - Hello My Father's Treasure

On Friday May 6th I had a dream.  It was a bad dream.  My father was speaking to me, telling me it was time to kick off.  This was not the way he spoke in life, but I knew what he was saying, and I was overcome with disbelief..."What do you mean Dad?!?  You're dying?  No...you can't die."  "Yes, he's kicking off" repeated my brother.  And then I awoke with a start, my heart racing.  I soothed myself by remembering the doctors had given us a 3 to 6 month prognosis, and we were only one month into the sentence handed down to us.  I made myself go back to sleep for a little while.

That morning, as I got ready thoughts kept popping into my mind...that I needed to be prepared for the next Shiva...I needed to bake ahead.  I needed to buy more black clothes.  And then I kept about my business, getting ready to go to Court.

As I drove to work I hit speed dial to call my father, as I did every morning. Just to check in, say good morning before the day got away from me.  No answer.  That was not unexpected.  Breathing was getting harder for him as his heart was being invaded and overcome with amyloid plaque. I'd give it a few minutes and he'd call back. Like yesterday.

The phone rang a couple of minutes later, right on cue. It was the nursing station.  I was going to remind my father how much it scared me when he called from their number, how I was always afraid this was the dreaded call, when I heard a woman's voice on the other end of the line, and laughter in the background.  It all stopped when they realized I was on the phone.  They started to tell me that they'd found my father on the floor, he'd fallen out of bed.  OK - not so good - but this happened the week before, I'll go get bed rails after Court.  Then they said he had no vitals and they had tried to resuscitate him.  Then silence.  My mind was racing.  It was the dreaded call.  No!!!  I asked if she was telling me my father had died?!  She asked me to hold and the nursing manager, with whom I had a rapport  came on the line.  She repeated the details and said she was so sorry.

My father died.  It wasn't a bad dream.  My G-d.  He really died.

After the initial shock wore off, my brother David and I pulled together and began dealing with the necessary arrangements.  Our families circled their wagons around us and our friends around them.  And the mourning and grieving process began.

On Friday May 6th, 2016 my father died.  Almost 9 months after my mother died.  That was the gestation period my father was given to grow and prepare us for life without him, to go on without parents on earth. For I truly believe that our treasured parents are together in the world to come, joyously reunited in eternal health and strength. They are young again and, more importantly, they are together.

And we are left with memories, and his photos.  Those of you who kindly read My Mother's Treasure know that our mother left a treasure trove of family recipes dating back generations.  I am documenting our family history through these recipes.

Well, Daddy left us with thousands of photos - his hobby was photography, and he was very talented. So here is my tribute to my late father, Moishe Reiter, QC - My Father's Treasure.  A collection of his photos interspersed with his family history will follow in the posts to come.

I love you Daddy, you are my treasure.

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