What I’m Holding Onto

My third period class got me thinking about my dad today; I can’t express how relieved I am that he did not live to see this last election cycle. If he had, it surely would have done him in.  The drama of the election happens to coincide with one of the doldrums of the school year; that time when everyone is tired, grumpy, and counting down to a break we’re lulling in an eddy; circling, circling, circling…

After 3rd period one part of my brain was fretting over the stress of the past few weeks and anticipating stressors yet to come. Another part of my brain was still reflecting on my dad which brought up a memory of one of the sweetest moments I have ever witnessed.

When my dad was in his final days in the hospital, my uncle, two years my dad’s senior and the nearest brother, drove up from LA, at night in the rain, to see his brother; my dad. (I should mention that both were well into their 80’s.)

Being unfamiliar with the area my uncle arrived later than expected. He entered the room, we exchanged greetings and an embrace then the most amazing scene unfolded. My dad at this point was nearly unresponsive, slipping in and out of consciousness. My uncle leaned over him, kissed him on the forehead, stroked his hair and said, “I’m here, baby brother.”

I sat dumbfounded. Never did I expect the giants of my youth, two of the men I respect and admire most, would have such a moment; especially my “bad guy” uncle. This memory reminded served as a reminder that love and hope are never lost; often challenged, but never lost.

So, I will hold on to that memory as it so perfectly captures the man my dad grew to be. I’ll use it to remind me of my dad’s passion for knowledge, politics, mutual understanding and respect.

I’ll use it to remember his story of helping the first African American girl enroll at Southwestern University in Texas by walking her registration papers through so all she had to do was turn up in class.

I’ll use it to remember how my mom and dad became not only members but eventually co-presidents of the local PFLAG chapter after my brother came out.

I’ll use it to remember how both of my parents treated everyone with dignity and respect right up to the last moments they were able.

salt-mine

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