Monday, July 11, 2011

My father's passing

I know I said I wanted to move forward. To do that, I have to clean up a little old business. So, I wrote this while I was in Milan, just after my father's death. Now I can move it out of drafts.

I love you, Paramo.

Hi mates.

The phone call from my sister was brief: our father was in hospital, condition bad but cause still unclear. Maybe a stroke? A CT scan was scheduled, but the 9 hour time change made for difficult and frustrating communication. A couple of hours later, the news of a cerebral hemorrhage, and his deteriorating condition made it clear I would have to leave my wife and daughter, just one day after the 1-year memorial for our daughter and fly to Milan to be with my sister Daniela, and Iaia, my father's companion, and stay until things resolved, one way or another.

I left California Saturday at 3:30. I slept on the long leg from LA to Paris, which undoubtedly contributed to my feeling of lightheadedness when I had to change planes. The airport in Paris is always very bright, but it seemed even more luminous in my state. 2 hours later, 15 hours after leaving California, I was in Milan.

During the flight from Paris to Milan, I tried to meditate some and succeeded in feeling somewhat more settled by the time I landed. I was met by my father's niece, who hugged me tightly before rushing us to the hospital. My stress grew again to match hers, and by the time we got there, through the traffic around the Pope's visit and the usual chaos of Milan, I was very tight and felt completely muddle-headed.

When I got to the hospital, many friends and family were already there, having kept watch over my father for the past day. I greeted them, some of whom I had not seen in 20 or more years, and then made my way to Paramo's bedside around 4:30. (Even though I was adopted when I was 9, I have rarely called him "dad", first just calling him by his given name, Marco, and later the name he had been given by our guru.) I spoke gently to him, letting him know I was here, and held his hand. After a bit, the doctor on duty came in, and we spoke for a few minutes about his thoughts and findings, and prognosis. My sister had copies of the CT scans, and I could easily see the blood, filling an area the size of a woman's fist, deep in his brain, near the medulla. Completly inoperable. All signs were poor, and shortly his breathing became less steady.

After about 30 minutes, my sister decided to go shower and change, as she had been there for more than 20 hours. Since I was still wound up, I told her to go, and that I would stay, and call with any news. I spent a few minutes with his friends and Iaia, his companion of 22 years, just standing by the side of his bed, and saying the things one says when there is not much to say. Then, I sat down in the lone chair by his side and took his hand. At first, I tried to pour some energy into his body, to see if that would help, or put a ring of light around him, but within a minute or so, I became aware that I wasn't centered enough to do anything useful, so I concentrated on becoming centered and then asking him what he needed from me. As I settled myself, I thought that what he needed was permission, so I said, "It's OK, Paramo. it's OK. Go and be with Bhagwan and Ramesh. We're going to be fine." There was no immediate response, so I just continued to hold his hand and stay centered, holding a ring of pink light around all of us. Within a couple of minutes his breathing changed, and became very soft and light, and his heart rate, which had been quite high, began to drop. A few more moments, and it became obvious that he was going, and the nurses and doctors came in to see what they could do, as the alarms were going off. We had insisted on a "no interventions" instruction (not easy to do in a catholic country), so, after they checked, they left again, and Iaia and I resumed our places, with me sitting by the bed, holding his hand lightly. Less than 5 minutes later, less than an hour since I arrived, he let go of his last breath and lay still.

We stayed like that for a few minutes. My sister, still dripping from the shower, came in and took her place by the bed. We reached out and the three of us held hands, and kept contact with my father's body. Finally, we asked the doctor to remove his oxygen mask, and left the room, so they could take care of any final medical business.

When they were done, we went back and Iaia and Daniela fussed a little over his body, smoothing his hair, and "taking care". We waited for the team to come and take his body for refrigeration, and, somewhat less than 3 hours after arriving in Milan, we left the hospital, to go change and meet for (what else?) drinks and dinner. After all, we're in Italy, one of the most pragmatic countries in the world.

With love from Yogi

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