[ADDENDUM: 11 January, 2015] When my father first told me of his near-death experience, many years ago, a flash of memory hit me, like a curtain being drawn from my mind, to reveal the light of the morning sun.
I remember begging, pleading with him, to go back, so that I would have a chance to be. I did not remember all, but over the years, I came to know the deep sacrifices that were made in those moments. I would revisit them when he nearly died, again, and each time I climbed up on the surgeon’s table, the last time being the 7th of January, 2015.
This is my Atonement with the Father.
JOR-EL: Once, when you were small, I died, while giving you a chance for life.
It was a shock when I saw him. He was wandering around aimlessly, obviously not in his body. He was NOT supposed to be here.
“What are you doing here? You need to go back, and be my father, just as we planned!”
“I’m tired. I hurt. I don’t want to go back to a broken body.”
“But you need to go back! We agreed!”
My father first got really sick in 1992, when I was hundreds of miles away going to college in Rexburg, Idaho. When I crashed out of school and took the rebound to community college, I came home one day to see him carried out on a stretcher into an ambulance.
Almost two decades passed and he got really, really sick again. As in deathly ill. He could barely move and he grew a beard because he didn’t feel well enough to even shave. “Not now,” I thought. “I still need you.” But I talked with my youngest sister about it, and we made peace with it; we were ready to bury him if that was really to be.
I sent him pictures of me and my son to try to cheer him up. He was in really bad shape.
|A Boy and His Dad|
It was obvious that I was not going to persuade him by plans of the future. I would have to appeal to his here and now.
“What about your family now? Won’t they miss you?”
That seemed to be more persuasive. He softened a bit and looked more ready to turn back.
Dad found a specialist in Walla Walla that seemed to know what was going on, finally, and he recovered.
JOR-EL: And now, even though it will exhaust the final energy left within me…
Look at me, Kal-El!
“Wait, before you go. I have to do something. I… I will carry a part of that pain for you.”
“You don’t have to do this.”
“Yes… yes, I do.”
“No, you don’t.”
“I do. I promise, I will help you.”
My back was thrashed– not too long after my son was born, I found out that some of the discs in my spine were wearing out, and one was being crushed like a pancake, pinching the nerve (sciatic) in my right leg. In the first week of October in 2009, I had a fusion surgery, but the nerve damage was done.
I found myself comparing notes with my father on pain.
JOR-EL: The Kryptonian prophecy will be at last fulfilled. The son becomes the father – the father becomes the son.
My father later apologized to Cimmorene, and to me, for his mistreatment of me in the past. He got it. Things would never be the same again.