Friday, August 18, 2006
Down upon the Sands
For his 80th birthday (and 50th anniversary) we had a family reunion at the beach. Shortly after his arrival my brother and I stood before a picture window with him as he surveyed the new surroundings. Kiawah’s sands stretched before us.
“Oh! It’s beautiful,” he said. “I thought it’d be a crummy little thing.”
We all laughed and Andy slapped him on the back, “Pop, we wouldn’t do that to you!”
(I think Pop had misconstrued the literature I’d sent him that touted “outside showers on the beach,” when he really preferred indoor plumbing.)
At that moment, none of us suspected in the least that in less than 24 hrs Pop would be lying dead upon those sands. But, that’s how events unfolded.
Not that life was cruel. On the contrary, he and mom walked hand in hand at sunrise on the day he died. His entire family was gathered round him within minutes of his collapse. And since there were other doctors there, my sister could be simply a daughter and not responsible for resuscitation efforts. Most of all, we had a week to simply hole up together, as we seldom are, waiting for his ashes to be returned.
Still, what sticks in my mind most vividly are those words, “Oh, It’s beautiful. I thought it’d be a crummy little thing.”
I know that he was talking real estate, but I cannot shake the feeling that he was summing up his life. And I wonder how many of us are guilty of the same misapprehension - And how many of us will wake up to the beauty before we lie down upon the sands?