My dear 93 year-old father passed away on February 11, 2015, two sad weeks ago. His final crisis came and went much faster than I was prepared for, and was a surprise. Not only did my father disappear from this life, in addition, this was the sudden and unexpected completion of my practice to serve my parents in their last years, as previously described in an article titled Service To Our Elders As A Path Of Love And Service.
When I began that practice, I had no idea how long it would be in duration or what doing so would involve. Now, ten years later, so much has happened, and I’m a different person than the one who began the practice. If asked how I’ve changed from this practice, my answer would be, “I’ve grown up.” Rather than always thinking of “what’s in it for me,” and whether I am enjoying something, caring for my parents required me to consider their welfare in everything I did, before considering my own preferences.
I didn’t undertake the task of caring for my parents to get anything. Rather, my reason for doing so was because I wanted to do so, and the task was undertaken without further considerations. So any changes in my personality were an unexpected bonus.
When young, I was so afraid of death that I wouldn’t go to a funeral. But now I’ve experienced the blessing of being with both of my parents at the moment their hearts stopped beating. That experience has left no doubt in my mind that death is real, and that after death, whatever it was that I knew as my parent was no longer in the body. This body that I knew so well, these arms, these eyes, the body that I thought of as my beloved parent, was now empty of the essence I’d loved.
This experience leaves no doubt in my mind that the body that I inhabit will also die, and this knowledge motivates me to appreciate the miracle of life while it is present and to treasure those I know and love while they are still here.
In the above-referenced article, Service To Our Elders As A Path Of Love And Service, I quoted an ancient scripture that said:
"The root of comfort and happiness is harmonious relationship and sufficient wealth. The root of harmonious relationships and sufficient wealth are wise choices. The root of wise choices is self control. The root of self control is humility and discipline. The root of humility and discipline is service to the elders. Through service to the elders, one obtains experiential knowledge and wisdom."
I have found, through direct experience, the wisdom of this ancient scripture to be true. Serving my parents in their last years has taught me humility and discipline, and given me so much more.
It’s still too close to the event of Dad’s passing to write much. So rather than doing so, I invite you to watch this video of his funeral service at which I delivered the eulogy. If you’d like to do so, click this link and on the webpage it takes you to, click “Webcast.” Then, in the Password field that appears, type krause1921. My eulogy begins at about 14 minutes and 15 seconds into the video and goes until 31 minutes, 45 seconds.