Losing a parent is never a simple or easy thing to handle, even when you get several years to prepare the way I did. My dad’s health had not been great for a long time, and then Alzheimer’s disease set in and began taking who he was away from us. As they often do, people started talking about how the end would be a blessing.
Honestly, when I heard that merciful release crap I wanted to punch them in the face. Blessing my ass. This was my dad, and I wasn’t ready to live in a world minus him. Death couldn’t have him.
About the time Dad’s health took a bad turn, I heard some online buzz about a book written by a university professor diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. The author was a young, active, intelligent man with a wife and kids and everything to look forward to, and yet suddenly he had no tomorrow. But instead of talking about how sad the book was, people who read it wrote about how amazing it was. Then the book started showing up everywhere, in book stores and chain stores. When Dad had another heart attack I really needed something amazing, so I picked it up.
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is not a sad or depressing book. It’s wry and funny and practical, and written by a man who tells you upfront that he is dying, has no hope and has to deal with it. He talks about his life, and all the things he’s learned during his short time here, but he expresses no bitterness or frustration. Instead he encourages people to do as he did, to believe in their dreams, to chase them and to live them. A lot of laughter and love went into the writing of this book.
Why Randy Pausch wrote the book doesn’t come out until the very end of it, and reading that reason made me laugh through the tears. More importantly, the author helped me shift my focus away from my anger and denial, and helped me to realize just how lucky I was and will always be to have known my father. And when the time came a few years later to let go and say good-bye to my dad, I was able to do that with gratitude and an open heart – thanks in large part to this book.
Written by Lynn V.