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He Died as he Lived

Today, I was contacted by the cousin who is executing my father’s will. He told me the story of how he died. I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty details, but the cliffs note version is: it was all avoidable. He had plenty of chances over several weeks to get medical treatment, and he continuously refused. For several weeks they repeatedly found him on the floor and he refused to get any treatment at all. He finally ended up in a nursing home, they told him that without dialysis he had several days to live. He refused treatment, and within several days, their prediction came true.

I wish I could say this surprises me – it doesn’t at all. He died as he lived – an incredibly private, secretive, untrusting, and stubborn man. He had so many opportunities in his life to get help, and he refused every single one. Finally, it came to a point where he could not avoid needing help if he was going to live, and he still refused.

I am not sad about his death. I had not spoken to him for twenty years, and I would not have spoken to him for twenty more. I was better off with him out of my life, and he seemed happy to return the favor. I am sad about the way he died, though. I said he died as he lived, and I meant that in more ways than just one. As his life progressed, he lost his wife, he lost his children, he lost his friends, he lost his family, and eventually all he had left was some people from church he kept at arms length, and whatever family he had left that still lived and wanted to talk to him. He died as he lived.

And I am so conflicted about this. I don’t regret having evicted him from my life. I don’t regret having moved on without him. If he had simply been human to me, I might have even been willing to reconcile. But to the very end, he just didn’t have that in him. And eventually, all vestiges of humanity were stripped from him, ending with his life.

A very sad end to a very sad man. I thought I would be celebrating this day. But I can’t. There’s nothing to celebrate. It’s just too sad all the way around.

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