The Shock of Nevermore

Each time I pick up a pen these days, I am reminded of Ingmar Bergman’s admonition that “the only worthwhile subject is man’s relationship with god.”

My father would have turned sixty-eight yesterday. I do not know how to celebrate him now that he is gone, although I know he would smack me if he saw me brooding. But I cannot help replaying his birthday last year when we sat in a Wisconsin steakhouse one month after his lung transplant. After ten months of waiting for the phone to ring and remaining within a thirty-minute radius of a hospital in an unfamiliar city, we had completed our mission: he had a new lung. I remember how proud he was to be in public without his hoses, cables, and oxygen tank. How the doctors said he would live for a very long time. Three months later he died of septic shock. I’ve been replaying many things this year. His last hours. The touch of his hand as the machine flatlined. The things I should have said and done (although I’m told it’s more constructive to say wish instead of should). The dark questions of mortality and meaning in an irrational universe. And I still have not accepted the death of my mother, who died seven years ago.

Notes from the end of a world. Searching for faith in the digital age. atlasminor.com

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