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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dear Friends,

It really has been a long time since I have written anything here, and that is mainly because the hard drive in my computer crashed and I havent been able to afford a new one. But I have access today and I have some time so I thought that I would share some things for a change.

As we speak, I am home in Indiana taking care of the final wishes of my father, Doyle, who is dying of cancer. It has been a whirlwind week of business, packing and liquidating his apartment, trying to spend as much time as I can with him and well, taking stock of the fact that the strongest man I know has been so physically and mentally weakend by the ravages of time and disease.

So far, I  have only had one meltdown and as usual, Erik and Zach have been standing right behind me to mop up the mess. Thanks guys, I love you both.

I think that the hardest thing to come to grips with is not that my dad is going to die, but that after he does, my biggest source of strength and help on this planet will be gone. It is also difficult to take on the role of care giver, when he has spent my entire life caring for me.
To see him in his present condition is heart rending indeed. Fortunately, beneath all the wasting that disease has wrought on his tired frame, the same mind, the same wit, and the same courage are as strong as ever. Even now, as he requires help to so much as dress himself, he is still very much my dad.
It seems unthinkable to have frank and businesslike conversations with him about his own death. And even through this experience he is still teaching me how to live.
If I may, let me make some suggestions to all of my friends who will someday face the loss of a parent. First, love them and be with them all that you can while they are still here. Secondly, get their affairs in order and make sure that they are protected against financial predators and vultures while they are still able to make their own decisions. See to it that you don't allow an outside party to gain too much influence, especially if you live far away from your parents.
Encourage them to divest themselves of things that they don't really need. The task of closing up a house is immense, even if they live in a small one bedroom apartment.
Lastly, don't be afraid to talk frankly to them about their end of life wishes. And at the last, be there, hope and pray, but don't cling. Remember that the life they have belongs to them, not you. Let them go on their own terms with the knowledge that you respect and honer not only the lives they have lived, but that you will send them on to the life they have to come on their own chosen terms.
Take care everyone. And please keep my family in your prayers.

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