In Memory of Ken’s Dad

Last night, I slept a cold, black sleep–that hard, dreamless sleep that comes with an exhausted mind and body.  When I woke, I was surprised to find that my kids (who’ve been melting down left and right these past few weeks) seemed to have morphed back into their regular old calm and happy selves.  I didn’t know what had changed, but I could feel it.

When I talked to Ken a few hours later, his dad had slipped into a coma.  At least he was no longer suffering, fighting so much pain, morphine and cancer.  He died a few hours later.

Since this is Ken’s story to tell, I’ll let him decide how much of it he’d like to share.  But as his partner and wife, I’d like to take a moment to honor his father–a man whose life benefited so many others.

In the past, I’ve written about war and how much I hate it.  What I probably haven’t written about are the myriad ways WWII has impacted both my family and Ken’s.  Here’s an example.

Before WWII broke out, Ken’s dad (who was 12 years old at the time) was sent to Japan to visit relatives.  While he was there, war broke out.  For eight long years, he was unable to return to his family.

As you might guess, his experience of war was upfront and brutal.  When he finally returned to the U.S., he decided to become a doctor.  Why?  After seeing so much death, he wanted to be a part of life.  He became an Ob/gyn who married, had three children and settled in San Jose, CA, delivering god-knows-how-many babies.

If that’s not a powerful affirmation of life, I don’t know what is.

In the Serbian tradition, we raise a glass of rakija (plum brandy) when someone has passed.  Before we drink, we tip the shot glass so that some of the brandy falls on the ground, and the dead may drink first.

Today, I raise my glass for Ken’s dad.  May he (and his family) drink first.



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