I think longevity is not just luck, good genetics and clean living. It’s a belief.
My Dad is 93 years old and mum, 91.
Yesterday, dad said out of the blue, “Do you think we’ll meet again? I hope so.”
I answered promptly, “Of course we will.”
My dad has always been a devoted catholic, raised in the years of strict catechism. From a small child, his beliefs are very much entrenched in the teachings back then. Suffering is your cross to bare and you’ll do it quietly, then judgement. A waiting room was conjured in my dad’s mind from a very young age, like the aged care home he’s in now, waiting. Then there is heaven.
He suffers in silence and waits for his turn to be judged, everyday. But until then, he will not yield.
My parents comes from a very obedient generation. They just did what they were told and followed the rules. They automatically respected those in authority without questioning. That goes for priests, doctors and bank managers. The radio was their informant and entertainment.
They lived through WW II and survived on rations and hoped they did’t get bombed. They did that for almost 6 years. They were the children of those that lived through WW I, a 4 years long war. And now, they are the parents of one of the most rebellious generations insisting on being heard.
Faith, was all they had and they clung to it. Priests were their spiritual guides, doctors were seen as saviours in life and death situations, and bank managers decided whether you could stay in your home, safe and secure. The radio was their most trusted ally, comforter and friend.
My mum and dad lived through all of that and their spirit will not be undone by anything less. They have proven that over and over again and the fundamental structure and beliefs that they have stood by have served them well. So, when dad starts asking me what do I think it is like after you are gone, I see the child in him, curiously questioning and I wonder where has he been all this time?
I said, “ I think, dad, it’s like here but there is a curtain between us and when it’s our time the curtain drops, and everybody is there to greet you.”
He said, that’s a nice way to look at it.
We continued talking about it and then he said, “I will know what you’re all doing.”
I replied. “Then you will know what we’re really like!”
He continued, “ I think you lose all your nastiness.” I knew he was imagining what it would be like there in heaven. “I guess so, dad.”
“I’ll Be Seeing You” is a much loved song during the war years. I heard my parents sing it many times along with the other great songs of their past.
Maybe, that’s how it will be?
I’ll be seeing you
In all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day and through
In that small cafe
The park across the way
The children’s carousel
The chestnut trees
The wishing well
I’ll be seeing you
In every lovely summer’s day
In everything that’s light and gay
I’ll always think of you that way
I’ll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I’ll be looking at the moon
But I’ll be seeing you