Plea For Patience Redux

by Daniel A. Kaufman

___

To EA’s readers and contributors.

Tomorrow morning (Tuesday, January 11), I will be embarking on an 18 hour drive to New York. I will be splitting the drive into two days.

My father is very near his end, and my mother is no longer capable of doing even the household bookkeeping, let alone the very complex accounting involved in our family businesses. I am going primarily in order to try and gain control of things, but it is also very possible that this will be the last time I see my dad.

I am driving for two reasons. The first is that New York City is one of the major Covid-Omicron hotspots in the US, and my father has not received — and cannot receive — the Covid booster. As I have to fly through Atlanta, this would involve spending potentially hours in both Atlanta and LaGuardia airports. The second is that I must have at least two full weekdays there to meet with accountants, lawyers, investment advisors and the like, and air travel now is extremely unreliable with hundreds and hundreds of flights being canceled.

I expect that these travels will affect my ability to regularly moderate comments, as well as process submissions and edit posts. Please understand that aside from the artwork and design, I do virtually all of the work on EA myself. My plan is to have returned by Sunday evening, but with my father in the condition he’s in, anything could happen, and I might have to stay longer.

As always, I cannot adequately express my appreciation for EA’s readers, podcast audience, and contributors. And I appreciate your patience and tolerance as I make my way through this difficult and challenging time. Much love to you all.

30 comments

  1. Thoughts are with you Daniel. I have similar concerns and issues with my 90 yo mother in MA and I am in WA. Safe travels.

  2. Dan,

    Sorry that you have to face this depressing situation. Wishing you all my best…

  3. Dan,
    I don’t have words in a situation such as this; except to assure you my thoughts are with you. And I can only speak for myself, but I am sure others agree, that your continued work on EA has been a boon, s gift, and occasionally even a joy to a community of thinkers such as myself.

  4. I know it’s not very philosophic, but nonetheless I’m beaming positive thought waves over to you and your family, from the other side of the Atlantic..

  5. Dan,

    You will not be alone on your journey. We are all fellow travelers. My thoughts and best wishes to you and your family. A life well lived.

  6. Very best wishes to you, and your dad, and your mom, and the rest of your family.

  7. Dan: Tough and sad situation. Very sorry about all you’re facing–hoping for the greatest ease and peace for your dad, your mom, and you.

  8. This is a terrible time for everyone but especially for those at the end of their lives and those trying to care for them, at home or in aged care homes. Nursing homes here are having serious staffing problems, having to rely on agency staff who don’t know the residents. My mother is in one of these homes and has taken a serious turn for the worse. She hasn’t long. As I say, a sad time all round.

    Best wishes to you, Dan, and your family. We will come through this but there will be loved ones who don’t whose final months will have been blighted by chaos and confusion.

  9. Dan,

    My thoughts are with you and your family.

    By the way, that’s a great picture of you and your father.

  10. God speed and good luck. My thoughts and prayers too are with you and your family.

  11. My heart goes out to you and to your parents. It is never an easy task to take over the management of a loved one’s estate. And it always comes with grief and great concern.
    A year ago I had two fathers, the man who sired me, and the man who raised me; both of them good men whom I was proud to call ‘father’.
    My biological father had suffered a stroke some ten years ago that excised much of his higher cognitive function, his wit and wisdom. But he remained the kind and generous man that he had always been, and I helped out as much as I could, but I wanted to live closer by, and I was fed up with living in the city, so I set about selling my apartment in Copenhagen, and looking for a house in or near the small rural town where my father and stepmother lived.
    Then in March of last year my father suddenly got very ill. I was staying overnight, and I practically carried him from the bathroom and back into his bed. My father was a big man, and there is no way that I could carry him, but that night I just did.
    The first doctor we called wouldn’t come, out of fear of Covid. But eventually a team of paramedics showed up, in full hazmat suits, and he was rushed off to hospital.
    He had subcutaneous streptococcus infection, painful, but not normally lethal. Yet he had several comorbidities, and as his outstandingly good family doctor said, his body was shutting down. After about a month at hospital, he was transferred home. His GP made almost daily home calls, and nurses came by four times a day, to dress his wounds, and to administer to his needs. They also always took the time to talk to my stepmother, to address her concerns.
    Shortly before he died, he recounted a dream he’d had. He was with the children, he said, “we were playing on the lawn”. He had worked almost his entire professional life rehabilitating children who were victims of abuse and domestic violence, and he cared deeply about the plight of suffering children everywhere.
    It was, after a fashion, graceful and dignified, and he passed away one afternoon, surrounded by his wife, his children, and his grandchildren.
    Meanwhile my stepfather had lived a rich and full life. After he retired, he embarked on a second career, to fulfill his life long dream of becoming a historian. He dreamed of writing a comprehensive history of the Baltic region. He loved opera and big, dumb Hollywood movies. He agreed with Scorsese that superhero movies are a fairground ride, and then he would add that fairground rides are fun, and superhero movies are fun, and there is nothing wrong with that.
    A mere two weeks after my father’s funeral, my stepfather was struck down by a massive stroke from which he never recovered. He had afasia and one sided paralysis, he was in pain, suffering and without any means of making himself understood, nor necessarily understanding much of his predicament. It was cruel, and nasty, and pointless. The hard worked and hard working staff of the hospital did the best they could. They broke covid regulations without a second thought, to allow us to be together at his bedside. My mother would hold his hand for as long as he would let her, and we played Leonard Cohen for him – he’d been a lifelong fan – and it seemed to soothe him. He died after about a month, in the presence of his brother. But my mother was briefly not there, and it still pains her, although I keep telling her that she was there for him when he needed it most, and that she did all the right things. But sometimes there just isn’t anything anyone can do, and sometimes what seems the right decision in the moment – extensive surgery, in the name of hope – may still have been the right decision, even when the outcome, unforeseeable as it is, is dreadful and nasty.
    Grief will take its toll, and it will take its time. It cannot be bargained with. It cannot be rushed, or hurried, and I hope for you that you will take all the time you need. I haven’t uttered a word on this, or any other forum, for a year now. But the EA is a source of succor and intellectual sustenance, and an increasingly lonely voice of sanity and reason in a world that seems ever more doggedly determined on its descent into madness. I am grateful for what you do. But take your time.
    The rites and rituals of the church has helped immeasurably, for me, my siblings, and my two bereaved mothers, in framing the grief: this is what the rites and rituals are for. Conversations with priests have also helped, and that I in the process has reconnected with my Christian faith is a side effect; it was never an issue, as that is simply not what it is about. But talking to a competent, experienced professional, who never once attempts to treat it as therapy, but addresses it with the gravity and dignity that it deserves, really does help. And if I can find that in a randomly assigned country priest, I am sure that you could find it in a rabbi in New York. You do what you will, but please don’t spurn this resource on account of what appears to be mostly nonsense theology. This is what it is for, and all the rest is a dress rehearsal, and children’s tales.
    It’s been a long and rambling post, I know. But I could do it no other way.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours in these troubling times. Take all the time you need.

    1. Thank you for these reminiscences. I won’t be seeking out a rabbi, but I’ve been in regular counseling for several years now. This situation with my dad has been going on for years.

Comments are closed.