Sunday, March 24, 2013

A More Poignant Farewell

After posting my "farewell to London" earlier today, I learned that my nephew-by-marriage is facing a much more profound loss:  his 46 year-old father was critically injured in a traffic accident.  We learned today that his brain function has essentially ceased and that he is being kept alive by mechanical means.  The very suddenness of these events highlight how quickly life, as we know it, can change direction by 180 degrees.  It is the very opposite situation that I faced last year when my own father died after a 3 year struggle with cancer.

As Dad pondered his mortality and the various treatments & tortures which have become "de rigueur" for cancer sufferers, I found myself wondering which is worse:  to have a loved one linger in pain and anguish knowing that they have no real hope of cure but have the time for closure or to have them die suddenly, painlessly for all intents and purposes, but have no real opportunity for "good-bye".  I believe that the key word in both scenarios is "BUT".  One cannot have the benefits of either scenario without the pitfalls of the same scenario.

In this situation, the question is more grave because my nephew and his dad did not have a typical father-son relationship.  The father's behaviors were not particularly fatherly (in his defense, my nephew was born when he was but 22) or family-oriented.  Their relationship was strained despite my nephew's longing for closeness and the paternal bond he'd never really known.  Now, circumstances dictate that he will never realize those dreams.  Does anything in life carry more "finality" than this happenstance?  His hope of ever "resolving" his relationship with his father is lost.

For the spiritual, the religious, death is not the END, only a transition for the soul in question.  But the consequences of death for those left behind are enormous, regardless of circumstance.

My advice?  It may be trite, but we all must live every day, every moment as if it were our last.  Regret is a total waste of time and energy!


I have a sad but unavoidable update to my post:  James Marty Kemp took his leave of this world at about 11:15am ET on Sunday, March 24, 2013.  May he rest in peace. 

To Max:  You are a treasured member of our family and we share your loss.  Without your father, we would never have had you.  James Marty Kemp left a formidable legacy in a wonderful, loving, kind-hearted, thoughtful, giving son.  We will be forever indebted to him for that.

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