Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 13, 2008 / 10 Sivan 5768

Life (and death) lessons from Dad

By Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | After my father had surgery for pancreatic cancer and was told he had six months to live, he came home from the hospital and found that some certificates of deposit had come due at the bank. He could renew them for seven months or 13 months — he took the 13.


Three months after his surgery, we drove him to Nebraska and went out to dinner with one of his brothers, who also had cancer. Afterward, the two brothers stood outside in the golden light of the setting sun. They shook hands, each trying to pull the other off balance, slapped one another on the back, laughed heartily and said, "Let's do this again next year!"


In October, the month in which Dad was expected to "check out," as he called it, he phoned to say he was flunking cancer. "The doctor showed me my blood markers and they're in a straight line, like test scores at school when you get the same grade over and over. Then they drop real sharp, like when you flunk a test. I'm flunking cancer!"


He went to the gym, swam laps, lifted weights, attended retiree luncheons and Sunday night dinners at my brother's. He lent a hand to the neighbors, painted the foundation to the house, and replaced all the old light switches with new dimmer switches.


When his married grandson and his wife flew in for a visit, he asked if they'd like to go along on his walk the next morning. "Yes," they said. "Good," he said. "See you at 5."


They traipsed up and down hills for three miles in the summer heat, looped through a nearby business park and finished it off with 33 stairs up a steep embankment.


On rainy days, I'd ask how he was and he'd say, "It's dreary and cold and wet here — a perfect day to be alive."


On sunny days, I'd ask how he was and he'd say, "If I was any better, I'd explode!"


In January, he renewed the license tag on his car, taking the two-year option instead of the one.


Eventually, Dad began losing weight, 50 pounds in all, leaving him with little padding to cushion his bones. His one round of excruciating pain happened after he had been crawling around on the floor, replacing a bathroom faucet. My brother and I went to the doctor with him.


The oncologist swung open the door to the examining room and bellowed, "What the hell were you doing plumbing?" To which my father responded, "What? You want I should stick to electrical work?" They joked and jawed, and you'd never know the man on the table was facing death.


Soon after, hospice began checking on Dad weekly. "A nurse stopped by today," he said. "She's very nice. And she's rather heavy. I'm concerned about her." And he truly was.


Three days before he died he had been to the store to buy a birthday card for a friend and carried his next-door neighbor's recycling tub to her garage for her.


Dad died at home April 13th, surrounded by family. In the two years he lived under the cloud of cancer, there was never a trace of self-pity, only thanksgiving and gratitude for the gift of life and the extra time.


He taught his children well — both how to live and how to die

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.

ARCHIVES

© 2008, Lori Borgman

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles