Tag Archives: Mark Twain

Finding a way through loss

10 Jun

My parents at their 50th anniversary in 2015

by Patrick Novecosky

When my parents married in 1965, they had two significant goals: to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary together and to raise a large family. They succeeded on both counts – nine children and 16 grandchildren. Then in October 2015, they celebrated a half century of wedded bliss with a church service and a gathering of friends and family.

A couple months later, my dad woke up with a backache. He thought it was nothing, but it didn’t go away. He had it checked out after a few weeks. Doctors suspected cancer, which was confirmed in the spring. He died in July 2016.

Their 50th anniversary in October 2015 was a memorable event

When I was growing up, I rarely pondered what life would be like without my parents. Although my father passed away, my mother is still spry at 71 years old. But I realize that the day will come when I’ll dial the phone number I’ve known all my life and she won’t be there to answer. That thought doesn’t frighten me. It makes me appreciate the half century of life I’ve had with them.

One thing is certain: life is a journey, not a destination. And it’s the bumps along the road of life and the people we meet along the way that make it worth living. Happily for me, my parents set the template for how to travel that road. They loved passionately and they lived passionately. They set priorities of faith, family and work – without missing the opportunity to celebrate successes and victories big and small.

Mark Twain famously wrote that “20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

My parents with their nine children

That’s the philosophy I’ve tried to live by. Early in life, my father encouraged me with similar advice. He wanted me to do what I love and love what I do for a career. Dad also taught me that turning down opportunities to gain wisdom and experience comes at a cost, and that cost is regret. I’ve been blessed to visit 26 countries. Only 170 more to go! And if I get the chance to visit number 27, I’ll go. Each stop along the way has taught me something and enriched my life experience.

Dealing with Dad’s cancer and death was hard on the entire family, but he raised me to be a man of faith – and he modeled it for me and my siblings. He had wonderful hospice care at home – a visiting nurse who gave extraordinary care to him and advice to my mother. But there came a point where Mom was no longer able to take of his daily needs.

During Dad’s last few weeks of life spent in the hospital, he never lost his sense of humor. When a nurse came to his room announcing, ™Time to take your vitals,” he quipped right back: “Well, you might as well take them. Nobody else wants them!” Mark Twain would have been proud.

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor of this blog and the president of NovaMedia. This article appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of Good Grief, a publication of Partners in Care Alliance.

Advertisements