Apparently last week’s “From The Rev” resonated with many of you and brought back many of your own personal memories. Perhaps Christmas, more than any other time, is a time when memories flood our hearts and minds. Today I’m going to share with you one more of my journal entries. Last weeks entry was from July 31, 1997; today’s is from August 4, 1997. This will be the last journal entry from this period in my life that I will share with you. If anyone would like a full copy of “My Journal With My Dad’s Dying”, send me an email and I’ll get one to you. This entry is kind of long, so grab a cup of coffee.
8/4/97 From the Rev
It’s hard for me to fathom that Dad has hung on this long…without food or water for ten days now. I didn’t think that was possible. I was with him for a couple of hours this morning and found myself exhausted from taking each breath with him…*fearful* that this breath would be the last…*hopeful* that this breath would be the last. I pray that it will be over soon…probably for me as much as for Dad…it’s so incredibly hard to watch him die like this.
Each nurse and aid who comes into his room when I’m there comment on how much we look alike. If it wasn’t for his bent nose (from the avocado I dropped on his nose!) we’d probably look a lot more alike. Standing there next to him, I placed my hand flat up against his hand. They are exactly the same size. I thought of the different ways Dad used his hands. Dad was a “wannabe” car mechanic…always puttering under the hood of the car but not really knowing what he was doing. He would work on the engine for a few days and then he would end up sending it down to the local garage to fix what he had screwed up. I’ve certainly inherited that quality from him!
Dad worked for the Secret Service for 35 years as the Administrator of the Miami office. When I think of Dad’s hands at work, I recall the old black Royal typewriter he used at work and at home. I offered to buy him an electric typewriter one time but he wasn’t interested. He was the fastest “hunt and peck” typist I have ever known! I also recall Dad’s hands sorting through the counterfeit money that had been confiscated. It’s funny, this morning I was at a store and cashed a fifty dollar bill. The lady ran the bill through some kind of scan to make sure it wasn’t counterfeit. It took me back to the time when I was about ten years old, when he took me to his office downtown, pulled out a briefcase from the vault, opened it up and showed me the contents. I’m sure my little ten year old eyes must have popped out of my head when he showed me that briefcase full of uncut counterfeit twenty dollar bills! They sure looked real to me! I remember asking for a sample.
I remember holding Dad’s hand as we walked downtown (that’s back when it was SAFE to walk in downtown Miami!). I remember how every year we would go downtown to the Orange Bowl Parade. Everybody else had their chairs with them. But my Dad was much smarter than that. We would always carry two 8 foot step ladders, a 2×6 plank-board about ten feet long, set the ladders about eight feet apart and slide the board between the top rungs of the ladders. The Curry family must have been quite a sight carrying our ladders and board to the parade…but we always had the best seats on the parade route!
of all, I remember my Dad’s hands intertwined with my Mom’s. Dad was not an overly affectionate man toward me…was it a generational thing?…but his love for my MOM was without question. They were ALWAYS touching. As a kid I found it a bit nauseating, but as I grew older I came to admire the deep, open love they had for each other…they never hid their affection. They’ve been married for 58 years…what wonderful models they have been!
I have appreciated the opportunities to share some of my stories with you via this email technology. It’s been most therapeutic and healing for me. The wonderful stories that many of you, in turn, have shared with me have helped me to see how we’re all in this together. And when we share with each other, especially from the places where we are hurting the most, we know we’re not alone.
In my devotional reading this morning, I read this piece by Frederick Buechner from his book Telling Secrets. It’s wonderful. I hope you’ll take the time to read it:
“This is all part of the story about what it has been like for the last ten years or so to be me, and before anybody has the chance to ask it, I will ask it myself: Who cares? What in the world could be less important than who I am and who my father and mother were, the mistakes I have made together with the occasional discoveries, the bad times and good times, the moments of grace. If I were a public figure and my story had some impact on the world at large, that might be some justification for telling it, but I am a very private figure indeed, living very much out of the mainstream of things in the hills of Vermont, and my life has had very little impact on anybody except for the people closest to me and the comparative few who have read books I have written and been one way or another touched by them.
But I talk about my life anyway because if, on the one hand, hardly anything could be less important, on the other hand, hardly anything could be more important. My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours. (underline is mine). Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I, of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity, as I have long believed and often said, that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally. If this is true, it means to lose track of our stories is to be profoundly impoverished not only humanly but spiritually.”
I, for one, am glad we’re in this together. Thanks.
You are loved,
Now back to 2014 for a moment. As the pace quickens leading up to Christmas Day, with more preparations to make than time in which to make them, let me urge you to slow down and take some time to linger in the memories of past Christmases. There is enough time to do what is important.
Have a beautiful day!
You are loved,