It’s quite a process when you are watching someone you love slowly fade from the existence you once enjoyed together. I find myself frequently thinking about what it was like when…….when dad used to come to visit and we would go to a Ram’s game together, or when he would call me without fail every week and check on how my life was going – he would always say – “just checking in to make sure you’re still alive”, or when he would tell me great stories about his time in the Navy or the sheriff’s department, or when we would go to coffee together, or when we would go someplace in the Black Hills and he would take magnificent pictures. What a wonderful tapestry we are weaving together during this life. I thought our tapestry was only partially completed but apparently it was more complete than I knew. Strange how life is, just when you think you have it figured out, you are reminded there is a higher power driving the bus.
When my mom was diagnosed with cancer I was cavalier about it, I had heard of so many people who were diagnosed with breast cancer and survived. I realize how ridiculous this sounds, but it never occurred to me that she could die from it. So when mom went to her six month check up and was given a clean bill of health I thought great glad that’s over, we’re home free. Six months later she was gone. When my mom was battling her cancer I did not honor her in the way I am now honoring my dad. As a matter of fact I am honoring my dad in this way because of my mom. I love my mom very much and miss her greatly. As with many things in this life I had to learn the hard way how to appreciate and honor my mother and father.
The fifth commandment tells us to honor our mother and father. I remember in third grade, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, we had to memorize and recite the ten commandments. Sister Dillya (I am spelling it phonetically because I cannot remember the actual spelling) was my teacher at the time and she scared the living daylights out of me. We used to call her Sister Dill Pickle, yes I do realize I am compromising my eternal standing by even repeating this atrocity. So I knew I was memorizing those commandments and getting it right or I knew I would suffer the wrath of Sr. Dill Pickle. I still have my Blessed Virgin Mary card we were given for successfully reciting the commandments it’s in a frame on my dresser, that tells you the impression this exercise had on me. I also remember when I was memorizing the commandments how I rated the ease with which I could keep each of these commandments. I thought ok thou shall not kill, easy I can keep that one, thou shall not bear false witness against our neighbor AKA no lying, hmmm well that one could be problematic, thou shall honor your mother and father, oh yeah how easy is that one. Now I am looking back at that third grade reality from a distance of 38 years and thinking the one commandment that I thought was a piece of cake took me a long time to understand and for my intentions to be in integrity with this commandment.
So it is with mixed emotion I acknowledge the compliments I am now receiving for honoring my father. Because my life lesson about honor came about through very powerful experiences with very high stakes.
“Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.” – Lois McMaster Bujold