Today is the last full day of Lent. Tomorrow evening, Holy Thursday, at the evening Mass, Lent officially ends and we begin the Triduum, the three days that unfold the unity of Christ’s Paschal Mystery.
We’ve walked through Lent together. Thanks for enduring this daily video series. The genesis for this excursion began — unknowingly — in January 2014.
It may have been a few months before that, when Dad’s health really began to decline. But the decision that he made to endure life-changing surgery touched my life more than I could have ever anticipated.
We had no idea what he would endure.
What he would suffer.
What Mom would endure. What she would suffer.
What we would endure. What we would suffer.
Not that he needed it, but Dad had the blessing and support of Mom, Karen, Stephanie, me, and our families. We were there for him, for Mom, for each other.
Dad had the freedom to say no. He didn’t. He wasn’t ready to let his heart fail and give up the chance for a few better years or months.
None of us knew.
We had the freedom to say no. But how could we? Dad… always so full of life. The past six to twelve months had been rough.
His heart wasn’t pumping the way it needed. The left ventricle had grown too weak to squeeze the blood into the aorta. He had heart failure. His body retained fluid. We could see it. Just looking at him. Seeing him move slower and slower.
Then, during another stay in the hospital, Dad was presented with a life-saving option.
How could any of us say no if Dad said yes?
Walking with Dad as he lie nearly motionless for days on end, no signs of improvement imminent. Five times when we were sure he was going to die and we’d never talk to him again.
Hearing no words of comfort from his doctors, nurses, surgeons. They wouldn’t even utter the word “hopeful.” I’ll never forget it.
Watching Mom keep vigil. Seeing her hurt. Feeling her love for him. Feeling her sorrow. Feeling her numbness.
My entire concept of life and what the hell is really important and what it all comes down to in the end changed forever.
Yes, I had experienced the death of a loved one. Even the unexpected death of a loved one. Never my parent. This, however, made all previous experiences pale in comparison.
It was the worst time of my life.
And I never want to forget it.
It changed the way I prayed. It changed the way I approached my day, my family, my work.
I’m still the same ol’ cranky, obsessive compulsive, intense, sarcastic, prideful son of a buck that I’ve always been.
I ain’t no holy roller and I don’t mean to come across as one. I’m just a guy trying to figure it out, one step at a time.
I’ve been blessed with such a variety of experiences in my life. I’ve been blessed to get away with making so many mistakes… more than I can possibly remember… and having the opportunity to ask God for forgiveness.
And I wanted to, in some meager way, start to share my thoughts.
What better time than Lent?
What better way than video? The real me. All the blemishes.
This isn’t the end, this end of Lent.
This is just the beginning. God willing.
Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski
I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.