Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Death In The Family

When I was 16, my world suddenly changed. While visiting an aunt and uncle just after the wonders of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, my father suddenly passed away. The world, that was still pretty much a fun place for a 16 year-old, became a place of sorrow.  The overwhelming feeling was, what happens to me, my family?

It turns out that my father suffered a blood clot, or pulmonary embolism (PE), something that struck me the first time when I was 55. In his day there were no medicines; in my day, a derivative of rat poison created Coumadin and Heparin, drugs that dissolved the clots and kept the blood thin enough to hopefully stop additional clots, saved my life. While I survived, it turned out that I have an anomaly they are not sure what it is. However, we DO know that Coumadin or the generic Warfarin will keep me alive. I can go anywhere I want as long as I carry my PT/INR testing machine and syringes of Lovanox.

My first, and only I might add, high school reunion was last week. I went to a Polytechnic High School in Portland, OR, a wonderful place for boys to learn trades to become men. But as guys, well, they don't plan social events very well. It took them 50 years to get their act together.

It was a wonderful visit filled with family time and recollections and I reconnected with old family friends. It was also a time, after 51 years to find my dad and share a few private moments.

We never really connected as there was the teenage boy-parent issue. We had some wonderful moments and he made me wonderful things. He was German born but it wasn't until I was in my 30's I discovered the reason he wasn't home when I was born was that he was sent to Germany to act as a translator at the war trials. I had to laugh because when I took German in high school, my teacher asked me what I was saying. My Dad was Saxon and he spoke that dialect. It was not Hoch Deutsch, or high German. So much for that!

Like art, life has its own twists and turns. We can either rise to the occasion or not. I was amazed that all my friends and family commented on my artistic ability as a kid. I never thought much about it and instead admired my dad who could do just about anything with his hands. HE was a creative artist and in fact had taken mechanical drawing in high school before the war. He always wanted me in his shop and I never wanted to be there. However, after he died I had to create some furniture for an architectural drawing class I was taking and remember being amazed at how well I could use Dad's tools.

Talent lies within us. It our job to find what gifts we have and then use them. It took me a long time but finally, I enjoy what I create and find joy when others enjoy those creations as well. While I may never be famous or make a fortune, what I create is a reflection of what I see and feel of the world around me. Can there be anything better?

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