My father lost and found

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Maybe my sister loses her wallet so often owing to a deep-seated discomfort with capitalism. Freud would stand by such propositions, and no doubt some losses really are occasioned by subconscious emotion, or at least can be convincingly explained that way after the fact. But experience tells us that such cases are unusual, if they exist at all.

The better explanation, most of the time, is simply that life is complicated and minds are limited. We lose things because we are flawed; because we are human; because we have things to lose. When we lose something, our first reaction, naturally enough, is to want to know where it is. But behind that question about location lurks a question about causality: What happened to it? What agent or force made it disappear?

Such questions matter because they can help direct our search. You will act differently if you think you left your coat in a taxi or believe you boxed it up and put it in the basement. Just as important, the answers can provide us with that much coveted condition known as closure.

This Lost and Found Life

But questions about causality can also lead to trouble, because, in essence, they ask us to assign blame. This is how a problem with an object turns into a problem with a person. You swear you left the bill sitting on the table for your wife to mail; your wife swears with equal vehemence that it was never there; soon enough, you have also both lost your tempers. Another possibility, considerably less likely but equally self-sparing, is that your missing object engineered its own vanishing, alone or in conjunction with other occult forces.

When My Dad Passed Away - YouTuber AJ Rafael's Story

Given enough time spent searching for something that was just there , even the most scientifically inclined person on the planet will start positing various highly improbable culprits: wormholes, aliens, goblins, ether. In the micro-drama of loss, in other words, we are nearly always both villain and victim.

That goes some way toward explaining why people often say that losing things drives them crazy. At best, our failure to locate something that we ourselves last handled suggests that our memory is shot; at worst, it calls into question the very nature and continuity of selfhood. This entanglement becomes more fraught as we grow older.

Beyond a certain age, every act of losing gets subjected to an extra layer of scrutiny, in case what you have actually lost is your mind. Such losses sadden us because they presage larger ones—of autonomy, of intellectual capacity, ultimately of life itself. No wonder losing things, even trivial things, can be so upsetting. Regardless of what goes missing, loss puts us in our place; it confronts us with lack of order and loss of control and the fleeting nature of existence. The shadow that is missing from that phrase darkens her memoir; in the course of it, Smith also describes losing her best friend, her brother, her mother, and that husband at age forty-five, to heart failure.

On the face of it, such losses fit in poorly with lesser ones. It is one thing to lose a wedding ring, something else entirely to lose a spouse. Through its content as well as its form, the poem ultimately concedes that all other losses pale beside the loss of a loved one. With objects, loss implies the possibility of recovery; in theory, at least, nearly every missing possession can be restored to its owner. With people, by contrast, loss is not a transitional state but a terminal one.

My Father Lost And Found -

Outside of an afterlife, for those who believe in one, it leaves us with nothing to hope for and nothing to do. Death is loss without the possibility of being found. My father, in addition to being scatterbrained and mismatched and menschy and brilliant, is dead. I lost him, as we say, in the third week of September, just before the autumn equinox. Since then, the days have darkened, and I, too, have been lost: adrift, disoriented, absent.

Or perhaps it would be more apt to say that I have been at a loss —a strange turn of phrase, as if loss were a place in the physical world, a kind of reverse oasis or Bermuda Triangle where the spirit fails and the compass needle spins. For nearly a decade, his health had been poor, almost impressively so. In addition to suffering from many of the usual complaints of contemporary aging high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease, congestive heart failure , he had endured illnesses unusual for any age and era: viral meningitis, West Nile encephalitis, an autoimmune disorder whose identity evaded the best doctors at the Cleveland Clinic.

From there, the list spread outward in all directions of physiology and severity. He had fallen and torn a rotator cuff beyond recovery, and obliterated a patellar tendon by missing a step one Fourth of July. His breathing was often labored despite no evident respiratory problem; an errant nerve in his neck sometimes zapped him into temporary near-paralysis. He had terrible dental issues, like the impoverished child he had once been, and terrible gout, like the wealthy old potentate he cheerfully became.

He was, in short, a shambles. And yet, as the E. Intellectually, I knew that no one could manage such a serious disease burden forever. Yet the sheer number of times my father had courted death and then recovered had, perversely, made him seem indomitable. As a result, I was not overly alarmed when my mother called one morning toward the end of the summer to say that my father had been hospitalized with a bout of atrial fibrillation. Nor was I surprised, when my partner and I got to town that night, to learn that his heart rhythm had stabilized. The doctors were keeping him in the hospital chiefly for observation, they told us, and also because his white-bloodcell count was mysteriously high.

When my father related the chain of events to us—he had gone to a routine cardiology appointment, only to be shunted straight to the I. He remained in good spirits the following day, although he was extremely garrulous, not in his usual effusive way but slightly manic, slightly off—a consequence, the doctors explained, of toxins building up in his bloodstream from temporary loss of kidney function. That was on a Wednesday. Over the next two days, the garrulousness declined into incoherence; then, on Saturday, my father lapsed into unresponsiveness. Somewhere below his silence lurked six languages, the result of being born in Tel Aviv to parents who had fled pogroms in Poland, relocating at age seven to Germany an unusual reverse exodus for a family of Jews in , precipitated by limited travel options and violence in what was then still Palestine , and arriving in the United States, on a refugee visa, at the age of twelve.

English, French, German, Polish, Yiddish, Hebrew: of these, my father acquired the first one last, and spoke it with Nabokovian fluency and panache. He loved to talk—I mean that he found just putting sentences together tremendously fun, although he also cherished conversation—and he talked his way into, out of, and through everything, including illness. During the years of medical crises, I had seen my father racked and raving with fever. I had seen him in a dozen kinds of pain.

I had seen him hallucinating—sometimes while fully aware of it, discussing with us not only the mystery of his visions but also the mystery of cognition. I had seen him cast about in a mind temporarily compromised by illness and catch only strange, dark, pelagic creatures, unknown and fearsome to the rest of us. In all that time, under all those varied conditions, I had never known him to lack for words.

How are we different?

But now, for five days, he held his silence. On the sixth, he lurched back into sound, but not into himself; there followed an awful night of struggle and agitation. Even so, for a while longer, he endured—I mean his him-ness, his Isaac-ness, that inexplicable, assertive bit of self in each of us. Schulz, can you wiggle your toes? Schulz, can you squeeze my hand?

Schulz, we learned, could still stick out his tongue. His last voluntary movement, which he retained almost until the end, was the ability to kiss my mother. Whenever she leaned in close to brush his lips, he puckered up and returned the same brief, adoring gesture that I had seen all my days.

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Parable of the Prodigal Son

Sally Aiken, county medical examiner, feels grateful her staff relentlessly pursued the identification of the John Doe. Three years ago, Gilbert and his wife adopted baby Caitlynn. Gilbert is thankful for the Seattle searchers, especially Sarah Little. It turned out to be me. By Rebecca Nappi rebeccan spokesman.

The son Smith arrived back in Aurora, pregnant by Roberts. Zak Gilbert was born Oct. In , Gilbert traveled to Western Washington and met Little. Michael Keith Roberts. Three years passed. The gratitude After all the work they put into identifying Roberts in , medical examiner staffers felt disappointed about the indifferent reaction by his stepfather.