A Story for the Ages
This story took me a long time to not just talk about but also to write. The comfort level was not right; it’s personal. But now, I’m fine with all of it. Here it is……..
Admittedly, I am a hard-headed man of Austrian/German heritage. And, there have been times that literally, I could not see the proverbial forest for the trees. One of those times happened when I was a kid struggling with first year Algebra.
I just didn't “get it.” For me, this was a real life struggle, so much so that I had a few panic attacks. Mr. Bushky was a good teacher. Early on when I approached him for help, he dedicated many after school hours during the school year to help me. But his efforts were in vain; I just did not “get it.” Bushky was frustrated. Not only was I lost, I was in left field without a clue. The grades received screamed course failure, but Bushky passed me anyway, probably because I did not give up (the year had four grading periods – I had two D’s and two F’s). I was ashamed. The grades were one thing but my inability to “get it” ate away at me; it gave me nightmares. Then something happened.
That happening was the start of a new school year and a math course known as Modern and Analytical Geometry. I was introduced to the Pythagorean Theorem: a (squared) + b (squared) = C (squared). Suddenly, I “got it.” I understood first year Algebra; I saw the forest and the trees. There was no rhyme or reason to it. There wasn't anything between the shit and shinola that made any sense. Later it dawned on me that all of that Algebra stuff was there within me from day one in Mr. Bushky’s class. What I needed was something to come along and break up the log jam in my head. Pythagoras and his theorem was that thing. Algebra II and III were much better and Trigonometry was a snap; hell, they gave me a book with all that sine, cosine, and tangent stuff plus I got to use a slide rule! Dear reader, if you do not know what a slide rule is, please Google it. You will discover how we older folks got along before all the technology we now have came into being. However, abstract mathematics was not the only thing I struggled with; deep, abstract familial relationships I did not grasp. Oh, the words were there, but the not full meaning and understanding.
In my opinion, the only thing that is worse than watching your parents suffer and die is to suffer through the death of one of your children (see my Defining Moments 2/19/12 blog post). My father passed on 2/7/2010 at the tender age of 92. Dad’s last year was his toughest. He suffered from arterial sclerosis caused by over 70 years of smoking cigarettes. He would pass out, fall, and upon regaining consciousness, was at a lower base line of cognitive thought. From this point on, dementia was rapid. It was very sad to see. But here I must add an important point: after my mother passed on in March of 1998, my father became much more to me – he became my best and only friend.
Lacking any siblings and living a life I freely chose to live, I felt alone in this world. But, getting a dad who became best friend and pal was a bonus. We frequently dined together and mightily conversed about many things. One of the things that I brought up for conversation was the Germanic/Norse concept of the soul-multiverse (see my blog post The Body/Soul Multiverse 5/19/12 where I haplessly try to explain this intricate subject). This concept is difficult to understand when living in a world that is held in strait-jacketed Christian captivity with its’ dualistic body/soul constrict (among other things). In my opinion, having knowledge of abstract stuff (not algebra!) like the Germanic soul-multiverse, and for that matter many other things, does not make a lot of sense until some sort of personal experience comes along and turns on the lights. Soon, I had that experience.
The day finally came when I had to put my dad in an assisted living facility that could provide hospice care. This was a hard decision; it was a huge move that I agonized over. I did not want to do it; I knew my dad and his feelings about these places – his feelings were also mine. But, as life and its happenings had it, the decision was made for me. Dad passed out while driving (yeah he still was) and T-boned another vehicle. Fortunately, the driver and passenger of that car were not hurt. But while in the hospital and assisted living, dad had his moments of clarity.
One of those moment happened while in assisted living quarters, dad jumped off of his bed and beat the snot out of his “roomie” who was physically beating on his nurse. Yeah, imagine that; a 92 year old WWII veteran in that condition who could still get it up and on one more time. Another two times happened when he was telling me about a beautiful young woman who came to visit him.
There is no doubt in my mind, then and now, that that “woman” was dad’s fylgja (within the Germanic concept of the soul-multiverse, men have female fylgjas and women have male fylgjas; if your mind is in the gutter, pull it out – it has nothing to do with physical sexual orientation – this is possibly where Christianity’s idea of “guardian angels” springs from). In the majority of cases, a person only sees his or her fylga when death is imminent. However, your fylgja is with you throughout your life; it is attached to you and does its’ best to care for your well-being and is there to guide you into the afterlife.
Dad first told me about “her” on February 8th, 2010. He said that she had something special to show him if he would only follow her. Well, my dad was a stubborn guy; he did not go. On the 9th, dad and I had another chat about “her.” He said that “she” was really beautiful but was a real pain in the ass. He told me that “she” really wanted him to follow her. Then I asked if “she” was in the room; he replied that “she” was. Dad thought that “she” wanted to take him to a party but he was not in the mood to drink and dance. That’s when it hit me that he was describing to me and experiencing his fylga. This point must be made: dad’s eyes and mind were clear and he was in full voice. On the 10th of February, 2010, he finally decided to follow “her.”
I got there within minutes of his passing. My father did not die alone. He had his fylgja with him along with a nurse and two assistants. The memory of that day clings to me like it was just yesterday.
It was 3:00pm and the sky was a deep azure blue. The air was crisp, clean, and a balmy 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, I was sad. Not only did I lose my dad, I lost my best and only friend. Loneliness crept over me like maggots on three day old road-kill. As I sat there alongside his lifeless body I said, “Poppy, now what am I supposed to do? I’m an orphan.” What followed was not just beautiful but ironic.
Suddenly, the weight of so many years that held loneliness, grief, regret, and sadness came off of my shoulders. Literally, I felt light headed and thought that I was about to float into the air. Also, I felt not just “a” presence, but the “presence” of many. That was the beautiful stuff. Here is the ironic. Then, just like when I was a kid and was smacked in the face with Pythagoras and his Theorem that unlocked the knowledge of Algebra that was there since day one in Bushky’s class, I finally understood that my family, ancestors, and Gods were with me since the beginning of time; they always were and always will be. I finally “got it.” Soon after my dad’s passing, I found my wife Sandra – live is good, very good.
Recently it dawned on me that maybe I was supposed to experience what I did with dad on February 8th, 9th, and 10th of 2010. It sure as hell cleared up more than a few things for me. Now dear reader, you can blow all of this off as a rant from a crazy man, a UPG (unverified personal gnosis), or just a recollection of huge relief felt with the ending of serious responsibility. You can believe what you want; we still live in a free society. After all, this is a personal story; I've been mocked for way less. But it is my heritage and a very real part of me.
Copyright @2014 Terry Unger