Omaha beach and the lunar eclipse

Tonight was a night that brought me to tears,  it was such a confluence of unusual circumstances.

My son and I went to give my father his nighttime medications.  When we headed upstair to his apartment, I could see a friend of mine.  He also visits his own father there regularly.   He was hovering over his father very concerned.    Long story short his father was having some difficulties that needed to be immediately checked out.    I helped my son go sit with his grandfather, and went back to help my friend while he called the paramedics.

I just don’t know exactly why I did what I did, except this friend takes good care of his father, and I wanted to make sure he had the help he needed until the medics came.  He had to go downstairs to the front of the building to wait for them. So I sat with his father for about 15 minutes to make sure he was OK.  He wasn’t saying much.  How can say this?  I’ve helped my own mother pass away,  I’ve been with my father while he’s almost passed away several times.  The space is whole to me now.   I just sat and rested in that space with him, that space that can be living longer or becoming more sick, or passing away.   And there was something there, something that I was discerning, about how he held himself, even though his mind may not seem clear, something else was very clear.  Even though there were no words spoken.

When the medics came I made sure the family didn’t need any other help from me and I left to go give my dad his medications.  We wrapped up quickly as it was getting late.   When my son and I walked out my friend and his father were heading to the hospital for evaluation.  I joked a little with his father to lighten his spirits, and we headed outside.  But as the ambulance drove away,  his son told me that his father was going to the VA hospital, that he was one of the few remaining WWII veterans, and he was in the first wave of Omaha beach soldiers.   I don’t know much about WWII history, but I was stunned that I had not heard that about my father’s neighbor before.

Then a colleague that I had no idea lived in Durham called out my name.  Her mother is in the same senior center as my father.  What a small world.  She and her brother were there watching the lunar eclipse with their mom.  So my son and I stood with them in the parking lot watching the moon ebb away.  We all wondered together how it must have been for people centuries ago when the moon would disappear – they must have thought the world was ending, or that God took the moon away.

It was getting late for a school night, so I headed home with my son.  But when we got home I had to look up more about Omaha beach, and I found this story written by my friend about his father’s service in WWII.  Basically this veteran had survived being shot through the head,  helped save the medic who was also shot while trying to treat him (for which he received a Bronze Star), and then he was further wounded by shrapnel while being flown in a hospital plane while tied to a gurney.  By the time I finished reading this story I was just sitting at the kitchen table in tears with my son.  I considered it a history lesson to read what this man survived to my son.  The whole thing, the whole night stood out in a kind of light that was unearthly to me.  That this man, who is as much a representation as any one human could be of what changed the direction of our world during World War II, was quietly holding himself through the difficulties of old age with only one son at his side.  It was so clear to me that the life I am living now is  in some way beholden to the suffering this man endured not just in June 1944 when he was only 19,  but he has continued to endure every day of his life.   I’ve walked past this man daily for a year or two,  just breezily saying hello or having a little chat, with no idea of what he has done or survived.

That the fabric of life would twist, so that I would walk up just as my friend and his father needed help tonight… the moments I spent sitting peacefully with him holding that space, it all makes sense now in a way I can not put into words.



This entry was posted in caregiving, dying, Embodiment, Grief, Healing, Kindness, Past Lives, Prayer, Spiritual Community, Suffering, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Omaha beach and the lunar eclipse

  1. BowToNow says:

    My friend, thanks so much for everything you share ❤

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