I have never written publicly about my father or his recent health scare this past fall. It was a time during which we, his family, struggled with the notion that a man who rarely slows down for anything might never walk again. After several uncertain months, my father finally “healed”…which is to say he came home and returned to his normal life. Unlike the stark and sterile hospital environment he had been exposed to for several weeks, his home life represents the fragrant disarray of his identity. The chaos with which he surrounds himself at home is his comfort. And anyone who knows him well understands that this mélange is what fuels him: a basket full of fruit, a half eaten loaf of bread, a huge bouquet of lilies on the table, a lowball glass of Dewar’s on the rocks.
My father will now never be able to walk without a cane. It will always be a challenge for him to put on a coat or fasten his seat belt. But these are minor details. Because for everything that his physical body may lack or not be able to do, his spirit makes up for. And while his drive and tenacity have always been unflagging, his new awareness of his humanness is suddenly palpable.
“I was just telling someone how ambitious you are,” he told me over dinner the other night. I was incredibly moved by his words, mainly because he chose to share them with me. As a teenager, I admittedly didn’t understand my father (who does?!). As an adult who practices yoga and meditation and studies my own humanness on a daily basis, I now do. At 72 and 36 years of age respectively, my father and I have found common ground: we have both learned how to slow down, appreciate what we have, and speak from the heart.