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Friday, November 11, 2005

REMEMBERING

FRIDAY, Nov 11 REMEMBRANCE DAY
This is the day we remember the veterans of the wars, and pray for peace. On this day I also have a vivid memory of Remembrance day last year. I'd had a call from A. and he wanted to come over to discuss things, mainly the recent death of Yasser Arafat. Then the talk turned to Veterans and the Remembrance Day services that had been held that day. He made some disparaging remarks about this and as I was already in a bad mood due to a head cold and stewing over some grievances I'd had with him in recent weeks, I jumped on him and challenged what he'd said. How dare he put down the veterans! After all, my father was one, he'd been a chaplain at a field hospital in WW2 and was awarded the MBE for his compassionate service. That was probably the first time I challenged A. I was very cross at him and let him know. The evening wasn't going too well, not our usual fascinating conversations. He could be so controlling and critical and I wasn't about to let him get away with it.

Later on, he was using my computer to check his e-mails as I stewed in the living room. There was no way he was going to leave my apartment that night without me confronting him on the issues I was upset by -- his criticism of me, rude behavior and the many times he'd hurt my feelings.

Afterwards we were watching late TV and then before he got up to leave I confronted him. He was shocked. What? Him hurt my feelings? How? When? He'd NEVER do that, he said. After all, he considered me like a member of his family!

How petty things sound when you try to describe them. I felt like an immature school-girl, yet I knew I had to explain what it was (and how often) he had said or done things that really cut me to the core. I chose to bring up an incident that had happened a few weeks before and of course got a full explanation of why it had happened (if he'd explained these things at the time I might have understood -- still the evening in question he really was being thoughtless and rude to me!) He asked me to call to his attention any time there-after that he was rude or critical of me. Did I? Yes. Did it ever change things? No. It was all part of the man's nature, and when I observed his interaction with others, in cluding family members, and got to know them better during his hospital stay, I realized that was the way he was. Yes, he DID treat me like a member of his family. And I see now that perhaps the reason why he felt free to criticize me was because he trusted me and I was his peer.

In the end of course, before he died, he had made amends. But what a shame that he had not done so long before. Yes, I'm sure he had many regrets, just as I do.
And today, remembering that evening a year ago I wish I'd spoken up sooner, said more to him. But we had parted on friendlier terms that evening though there were things that still hung heavy with me and for the next couple of months I was often upset with him. One thing I realize now was this: He was likely ill even back then. For sure from January of 2005.
And that dark cloud he seemed to have enshrouding him so often was perhaps not his own melancholy and negative spirit, but the fatal doom of the cancer that was secretly eating away inside of him.

It's good to write these thoughts down. One must remember not only the happy times, the loving times, but also the difficult times. There are many regrets. He said, that week before he died, that he'd had a feeling for me from the first time he'd seen me, and that he really truly did love me. So why wasn't he able to make more time for me, to spend more of those lovely, rich evenings we used to have, talking and philosophizing?

But...it's time to let go now. A time to remember the man for what he was and what he gave me. There was so much I learned from him. And now he is gone, I feel such a terrible loss.

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