Operation Liberation Part Two

Note: I chose not to use names in this “story” for several reasons. People close to the situation certainly know to whom I’m referring.

Part Two

Saturday morning arrived as did the Man “In Charge” ariund 8 am. There was immediate tension present as he learned that the his wife’s daughters and granddaughter had spent the night. It was the first indicator he had that this strong control on the situation he believed he had, was hoping to be under defiant assault. The only contact with him had been a terse greeting. The girls had befriended the night staff and been given a room to base out of. They had Aldo learned much about the activities, or in this case, the lack of actions during the past week.

My son, nephews and I arrived at 10:30. Minutes before, my mother in laws younger sister end her husband had arrived and witnessed a strange scene. As they walked in the facility, the Husband was at the front desk on the phone. Apparently moments before, at a point when no one else was in the room, he had summoned an attendant and announced that his wife was no longer breathing. The staffer apparently agreed which prompted the Husband to walk out front, pick up the phone and place a call. To the folks who had just arrived and were standing right there, it sounded like a call yo a funeral home. Seconds later, the attendant came in and said that she was indeed breathing, the scare was a false alarm. Immediately, many I of those present decided that those odd occurs cues could only be explained by nefarious intentions. From that point forward, the rest of the day and early evening, at least two people were in the room at all times in addition to the highly suspected husband. He sat in a chair looking miserable as a host of propel went in and out of the room.

I was prepared to participate in what would have been a logical step. To sit down at a table with all parties and thoroughly discuss the situation. That had not yet happened because everyone was awaiting the arrival of the other person closest to her situation, her brother. He had experienced flight delays from the northeast and been rerouted. Also, updating and consultation with the eldest daughter was being done by phone. My son’s mother was conveying most of those messages. Then, around 12:30, the boiling point was reached and tension gave way to confrontation.

With a number of people in the room, she asked for something cold to drink. When offered water, she said she wanted a coke. Her Grandson immediately volunteered to go to the machine and secure one. The Husband said, she does not need a coke. In the past few days, nurses had reported that she never asked for food or drink and refused it when offered. This was a promising step. The daughters had all they could stand. They marched out of the room with the Husband and convened a meeting down the hall. They lit into him, backing him up against the wall. They made it bleary that if she asked for anything she was going to get it. They demanded to know how he had reached the conclusion that she was on the due of death’s foot? He replied that the Doctor had said so. They said what Doctor, the staff told them no Dr. had been in all week. He hemmed and hawed. They wanted to know why she was dressed in a crude hospital gown as opposed to her nightwear. Where was her jewelry, why was she not being changed frequently? What about rehab that had been scheduled? His answer to all was based on his opinion that she was at the end. The meeting broke with the girls letting him know that this was unacceptable and his parting shot, ” Well, I am in Charge.”

Shortly thereafter, I took a large portion of the crowd out for lunch. Her sister, who had stayed by her side since arriving to the false alarm death scene that morning send a grandson stayed behind as monitors. Just before leaving, the emerging crisis promoted a unifying moment as the previously feuding sisters talked on the phone. The called was placed by the younger, on scene daughter. Her stepping up to make that call was the ultimate demonstration of solidarity. Big Sis and family, enroute to Disney a World, would reroute and be there within hours.

When she arrived at 6 pm, her daughter, another of my mother in laws granddaughters, was with her. She is a Doctor, the first on the scene there all week. She was valuable to the team as she declared the patient well enough for transport. She also reviewed the meds list and determined that she was on pain and anti anxiety medications, nothing specialized. At 8 pm, the husband announced he was retiring for the evening. He disappeared to his quarters with no farewells. He played what he thought would be an effective trump card on his way out. He had instructed the night supervisor to wait a few minutes until he was gone and then tell everyone they had to leave for the night. He messed up by not defining everyone. Her traveling brother had finally landed and was on his way in our direction. He was instructed to stand by, a change of plans was in the works.

When the daughters were informed if everyone’s mandate to leave, the youngest daughter and conspiracy captain asked if their mother could be wheeled out for some fresh air outside where everyone could say goodnight. The staffers response, “Take Her.” Our group was assembled in the parking lot.moments later, the daughters and Granddaughter Doctor emerged with the enter of the adventure seated calmly in a wheelchair. The backseat of the getaway vehicle had already been prepared into a bed of pillows and blankets. In a time frame of less than a minute, she was wheeled to the car and carefully lifted into and laid down in the vehicle. Youngest daughter jumped in with her daughter at the wheel and in a flash, Elvis had left the building. The remaining group was a mix between relief and anxiety. Several were anxious to get away from there. I made the statement that I didn’t expect any road blocks or shoot outs. The guard at the security gate logged each vehicle out. The package was on its way to bring delivered.

One thing was certain, the controlling husband, was no longer in charge. The staff informed him around midnight that his wife was missing. By all accounts he was shocked and furious. He assumed the senior daughter had been responsible. She related a short statement in response to his call that her mother was safe, resting comfortably and the situation was under control and hung up. The report was in fact true. Around that same time the star arrived at its destination. The patient was carried in after sleeping peacefully on the way over. That rest, which by all reports was not consistent in her previous circumstance, continued in her new environment.

Around 5 am, the Sherifs Department from the husbands county called the youngest daughter. He informed her that he was investigating a complaint of kidnapping that had been filed against her. After answering all his questions and painting a vivid picture of what had occurred, the officer told her she had done the right thing. If her siblings and aunt on scene had consented and he received the assurance from her brother that he had agreed with the action, there would br no basis for charges.

Many people ascended on the house on Sunday. She was surrounded by loved ones and she drank coffee and Diet Coke and even was able to set a little. She had a shower, her gurus in weeks. Where her mind capacity is now, is still in progress. A difficult challenger potentially lies ahead. But there is one inescapable truth. If she does have the will to continue living, now she has that chance. In her previous situation, that choice was not offered.

The women of this family recorded their finest hour. Individually they are exemplary, together they are a powerful force. The weekend started as a quest to say goodbye to someone who had been a constant, strong matriarch of a remarkable family. It quickly turned to something entirely different. It became a mission to right a wrong and restore dignity to a proud, brilliant, strong willed person. The outcome is to be determined but the story can he be authored by someone other then an individual who appeared to be crafting it to accommodate his wishes. If he was resigned and ready to say goodbye due to being unwilling and/or unable to provide care, so be it. Bid farewell and yield your cherished control and justifications to those who are up for the challenge. A chance at life surrounded by loved ones is a far better alternative than a morbid, grotesque death watch. To that, there can be no argument.

My son certainly inherited my spore cistron forbthebpep fine line between comedy and tragedy. It is always better,regardless of the circumstances to balance crying with laughter to display emotion. He delivered this great line. Remember that his aunt, the eldest daughter and her family were on their way to the happiest place when all this temporarily diverted through journey? My son said….
Terie, you just helped bust your mother out of a nursing home, what are you going to do now?
” I’m going to Disney World!”

Operation Liberation

Gather round boys and girls. It’s time for a Cautionary Tale.

Once upon a time, well, day before yesterday, my son asked if I would go with him to pick up his mother from the airport. She was flying into a nearby major city to visit her ailing mother who was by all recent accounts in a very bad way. Being that my relationship with my ex wife is very good and she and my son wanted me to accompany them, I certainly was willing to go. Besides, I had a strong relationship of over three decades with my former mother in law.

Nineteen days ago, my former mother in law fell and fractured her hip. It happened at her recently new residence of her husband of just a couple of years. She had been widowed since 2003 when this Christmas-Thanksgiving (December-November) match materialized. Her succumbing to his doting and persistence came as a surprise to most. An unpleasant one for three of her children her were fiercely loyal to their deceased father and less than enthusiastic about the new man in her life. My ex wife and her younger dietetic accepted the relationship on the stance that it is her life, she should do what makes her happy. He was a widower, having recently lost his long time wife after an extended, heart wrenching Alzheimer’s siege.

Surgery was quickly performed on her injury. The recovery process in the hospital was difficult. Medications for pain and anxiety were necessary. In recent months, signs of some memory loss had been evident. Needless to say, the combination of factors took its toll. She was far from her independent, determined, strong-willed self. Longer than a week passed when Doctors told her husband, there was nothing further to do medically. His choices were to take her home to his fashionable apartment in a luxury retirement complex, or place her in a care facility. He chose the latter. An assisted living, nursing home facility in his complex.

She was moved to the new location. right away, her eldest and youngest living daughters traveled to see her. Both are remarkable women with strong personalities. They had been estranged for some time on a number of issues, including their mother’s relationship. In fact, there had been palatable friction for several years with mother and first born daughter. The dire reports on her condition seemed to vastly improve with two of her daughters and a granddaughter there. His eldest son’s wife also came to visit with one of her daughters, who happens to be an RN. The husbands doom and gloom updates seemed over exaggerated. There was a plan girl rehab to begin. The hope that on smaller roses of medicine how, perhaps mental capacity woukd improve and some semblance of an appetite would surface. All parties, at the end of last weekend departed for home hopeful of continuing improvement. But those reports, beginning last Monday, with the watchful husband as sole correspondent, were anything but positive. By Wednesday, the forecast had been downgraded to imminent demise. Slipping away mentally, refusal to eat or drink and even refusal to swallow medication.

On Thursday, her granddaughter and new baby visited. Her report, while not overly optimistic, was encouraging in terms of her response and spirits. Nobody quite knew what to think. That confusion turned to crystal clear clarity on Friday night.

My son, nephew and I picked up his mother around 7. We set down for the 55 minute drive to the nursing home. On the way, my ex wife called her mother’s husband to let him know we were enroute. It quickly became apparent, something was highly rotten in Denmark. He told her he had gone home and that she was not to be disturbed. He demanded that she wait until he arrived at 8 am Saturday morning. Further, he told her not to bring any food or try to convince her to eat. When incredulously, she asked why, his response was, there is no need to prolong this. ….. Cue Alarm Bells. Suddenly things were in focus. Because he was not physically or emotionally equipped to care for her, and prompted by his obsessive desire to br in control, he had decided that it was time got her to exit, stage left. The game had abruptly changed.

Despite our prohibition, we went straight to the facility. Before arriving, she called her younger sister, who along with her daughter, were enroute, two hours away. Receiving the revelations from that call, she was incensed and declared she was putting her mother in the car that night and getting out of there. We agreed to compare notes when she arrived.

We entered the tiny room and for the next 40 minutes, we enjoyed quality time with her. She was foggy in many areas but remarkably sharp. She knew all four of us and we talked about a variety of things. She maintained her communicative skills, responding to every question. However, as time went forward, her recognition of people slipped. Two more of her Grandsons arrived and lively, somewhat amusing conversation continued. Around 10 pm, my sister in law arrived. Everyone concurred, this was not a person dying due to her injuries or lack of brain function. Her deterioration was being induced by methodical deprivation. With their mother’s brother and sister scheduled to arrive on Saturday, the decision was made to let everyone assemble, assess the situation and then confront the suddenly wildly unpopular husband. There had been no medical presence all that week. He had spook noted himself as a Doctor and God The girls elected to spend the night at the nursing home. Reinforcements were coming. Saturday was going to be a most interesting, tense, highly dramatic day.

End Part One
Conclusion on Monday

My Dad…. Bridges Burned, Lessons Learned

On this Father’s Day, I would like to tell you a story. It is about the special relationship between a Father and his son. The remarkable bond between a Dad and his first born male child. The dynamic that materializes in this journey together. The imparting of Fraternal wisdom and guidance and a fervent desire to establish camaraderie and shared experiences. These are the foundation and building blocks that establish belief systems, core values and even greatly influence future pathways. Much of this may sound like common sense, however, the means that determine the results can come from a surpring, diverse, unconventional array of directions.

My, Father, William W. Keefer, was born on Groundhogs Day, February 2, 1935. His mother, Juliana was a newly married 18 year old. He would be her one and only child. His father, William H. , was a 21 year old aspiring young business man. The couple was not prepared for the challenge of parenthood and certainly not cognizant of the unexpected twists and turns ahead. She would soon embark on a 30 plus year career as a Federal Government employee. She became a career woman in the late 1930s when there were relatively few full time working women. Her husband would struggle to find himself and address the failures by relying on ever increasing dependence on alcohol. When my Dad was nine years old, his parents separated. He was shipped off to boarding and later military style schools. His mother remarried. His new step father was tough and demanding. Teen aged Bill Keefer was a wild, rebellious young man in the era of Elvis and James Dean. Still, he flourished in the classroom and on the football field at Randolph Macon Academy. He was invited to walk on at Duke. He stayed one semester and then left school. He returned to Washington and went to work in a friend’s father’ lumber yard.

A year later he met a dazzling blonde from West Virginia, who was new to the the bright lights of Washington, DC. Six months later Bill, 21 married Sara, 20. Ten months later, viola, enter….. me!

My Dad found a real job as a salesman with Johnson Wax. My early childhood memories are playing in my neighborhood and weekends at my Grandmothers massive house and vast wonderland on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay, I clearly recall as a 6 year old, my mother weeping for the slain young President in Dallas on that fateful Friday. And, I remember idolizing my Dad. His passions were Washington Redskin football and horse racing. By the time I was 7 years old, I knew every player, poured over the schedule and watched every game, living and dying with each snap. The Redskins were horrid but my Dad and I shared the experience. He had season tickets, given to him annually by his mother. He usually went to games with his friends but my expertise and enthusiasm eventually earned me an opportunity to go to home games most of the time. Our other thing, horse racing. Going to the tracks in the DC area on a Saturday, Laurel or Bowie, was a huge deal. A couple of times a year, we took a train up to the Shenandoah Valley and went to the races at Charles Town. It was the ultimate quality time with my Dad. I could read a Racing Form before I mastered the adventures of Dick, Jane and Spot, and the enthralling kids news sources, The a Weekly Reader and Highlights.

There was a champion horse that I absolutely loved named Kelso. I saw him win a race in person and just a month or so later was thrilled to see him win again in New York via black and white TV. That fall in 1965, my Dad sprung the ultimate surprise. On a Thursfay, he showed up at lunch time at my school and checked me out. The reason, Kelso was running that afternoon at Laurel in a race known as The Washington DC International. Heady stuff indeed for a third grader. Kelso won, I spent a weekday afternoon with my Dad. It was one of the most memorable days of my childhood, heck, my life.

A few months later my father was offered a promotion that would require relocation to the south, to Atlanta. I had just become aware of the existence of such a place because of the Braves relocation that spring from Milwaukee. My folks traveled to Georgia to find a house. Upon returning my Dad asked me, “Who is the shortstop for the Braves?” I said, Denis Menke. He looked at my Mom and said, ” I told you he would know, ” looking back at me he said, ” He’s your new next door neighbor.” Another moment I will never forget.

Dunwoody North was instantly awesome. The pool, our massive backyard, Tenneco on the corner and a big league player next door. I suddenly made friendships and my father’s career demanded much of his time. Between his job and partying in the neighborhood, our time together dwindled. I was introduced to Little League but my Dad was rarely present for my games. I was a decent swimmer for DNC. One meet, the first my Dad attended, I floundered badly in a race because I raised up to make sure he was watching. By 7th grade, I was seldom home, always out playing something, somewhere. My Dad was increasingly a rare visitor and his work was not the only culprit. The sexual revolution was in full swing and he he had no intention of missing it.

I watched my parents marriage implode. I didn’t know the issues, but it did not matter. Eventually Wild Fire busted down his stall and was lost. Three days before my first day at Peachtree, August, 1970, my Dad left us to move to Buckhead and pursue without obstacles his new lifestyle. Except in Hollywood, divorce then was not widespread. I was horrified, mortified, ashamed send embarrassed. I told no one, I was in denial. The bill of goods parents try to sell, that it has nothing to do with you, well, they were peddling something I wasn’t buying, then or now. The selfish choice he made was to leave his family, his marriage and ME!! My Dad, my former idol, and Our relationship didn’t have enough standing or merit to rival his narcissism. For the most part, our time was up. We were basically estranged for the next couple of years. I wanted nothing to do with him.

Adulthood brought new perspective and a modicum of forgiveness, however the dynamic was something altogether different. While he voraciously pursued an adolescent, all consuming lifestyle, I assumed the role as the mature, level headed, voice of reason. He had been promoted and transferred to Memphis in 1973. After Peachtree, I attended college in Memphis and lived with him. Over the next few years we were together in various living arrangements as I pursued opportunities in Memphis and for a year when he was assigned back to Atlanta. During that period of years, there were two more failed marriages, numerous relationships with a variety of women, excessive drinking and smoking, reckless gambling on anything and everything and basically a never ending quest for fun. I fiund myself becoming the antithesis of Bill Keefer. The irony was, his unfluence in that wacky, unconventional era proved to be extremely influential in molding the person I was becoming.

I spoke to my Dad today, Fathers Day, 2014. He is 79 years old. He has grudgingly slowed down in the last couple of years…but hasn’t stopped. Rum and vodka still flows, the smokes still burn and his judgement melts away when he encounters a pretty smile. Just a year ago, a woman in her 40s feigned interest in him long enough to steal several thousand dollars and his car. Just the latest in a string of stories. However, despite all his shortcomings, there is not a mean bone in his body. He has chosen to run roughshod through life and roll the dice at every turn. My friend Mark Random Random said a few years back, “If Bill Keefer can make it to 75 there is hope for all of us. ”

When you have a Father who’s two enduring lessons imparted were … Knuckle down, buckle down, Do It, Do It, Do It, and Women are like busses, stand on the corner and another will come by, you must look deeper for substantive lessons. I have made a living in the racing business and broadcasting. Predominantly sports and advertising. I was a General Manager of a track at 36. I was doing radio, writing and voicing commercials in my early 20s. Those opportunities came early and easily. I had a 20 year head start by trying to bond with my Dad. And cautionary tales garnered from his antics, well those were incredibly educational. Especially in my own fatherhood career. Understanding that being a successful father involves putting the emphasis on your kids and not yourself is key. The confidence of knowing they came first regardless yields secure, self assured, bold personalities. My Dad taught me that, by what he did not deliver. But teach me? You bet he did!!

36 and Counting

Well the dust has settled, the electric atmosphere has quieted, and millions of fans around the world are disappointed. On this potentially fateful, Saturday, the equine equivalent of the Mighty Casey, California Chrome, has struck out. Most assuredly, there is no joy in Muddville, New York, Kentucky and especially in the Golden State.

This latest failure in New York is accentuated with what will likely be a lingering bitter taste. The acerbic comments of co owner Steve Coburn, minutes after the race, framed this Triple a Crown failure in a whole new light. He railed against horse owners and trainers that don’t “Go for it all.” He called them cowardly for not pursuing the Derby. He called loudly and crudely for an overhaul of the rules. He advocates horses not qualifying for the Derby being I eligible for the Preakness and Belmont. He insisted that it is unfair for horses to lay in wait while the Triple Crown warriors slug it out in the first two legs.

There will be intense discussion about Victor Espinoza’s ride in the Belmont. It certainly seemed for a horse that wants to run on the lead, he waited an awfully long time to move. When asked, Chrome rallied but quickly flattened out. Personally, I would rather have seen him overtaken from a stretch lead as opposed to seeing him falter trying to be a stretch closer.

The reason for the three and a half decade run of failure in my opinion is not the set up, the rules or the riders. I point at two factors. 1) Horses, by necessity, are no longer trained hard. The shift to emphasizing speed breeding over stamina, has yielded a far more fragile athlete. 2) Rotten stinking luck. It just hasn’t been in the cards. There have been a number of more than capable horses that have for a number of illogical, bizarre reasons, have not gotten it done. The Red Sox broke a much longer dry spell. Babe Ruth liked to bet the ponies, maybe the curse has shifted from Fenway to Belmont. The bottom line sadly is, another year, another disappointment for horse racing.

Love Basketball… Gotta Love This Series

No matter which team you are pulling for, if you are a hoops fan, you have to love this San Antonio-Miami finals. Great players, fantastic coaches, tremendous organizations.

Both teams are loaded with a plethora of high, quality, winning veterans. Duncan, Ginobli, Parker, all consummate professionals, lead a Spurs team that plays the game the way it was designed to be played. The Heat also have a special group led by one of the sports all-time great talents, Lebron James and big stage superstar Dwayne Wade.

San Antonio coach Greg Popovich has consistently crafted magnificent teams. He is renowned as a master strategist and handler of players. Miami coach Eric Spoelstra, shuns conventional approaches, such as deploying a regular player rotation and establishment of roles, in favor of using his personnel game to game as that particular contest dictates.

Organizationally, both teams are modicums of consistent success. Popovich, previously serving as Spurs GM, created the structure that has led to the current run of excellence. Legendary former championship coach Pat Riley, is the mastermind of Miami’s phenomenal franchise success.

Excellence should be celebrated and admired. This is a finals defined by excellence. It is a rematch of last year’s 7-gene classic. If you are a basketball fan, well, you just gotta love it!

The Mural …. A Short Story by Kip Keefer

His eyes were still unopened as the first recognition of waking from a deep sleep occurred. In that instant however, he instinctively knew something wasn’t normal. He was immediately cognizant that he was not in his bed. The surface he was lying now was very soft and the feeling was a sensation of being immersed within it. There were no pillows or covers. His mind raced as to where could he be and how did he get there. Then the realization, surely this is a dream.

Sitting up, with no resistance, he slowly wedged open his eyes. He was immediately shocked to discover that his vision, which had severely been diminished for a number of years, was functioning perfectly. This had to be a dream. He was in a modest sized room with a brightness that was unlike any he had ever seen. It was accentuated by brilliant white surroundings. The walls on all sides, the soft carpet like surface of the floor and above, what appeared to be a ceiling awash in the basking glow of the room. It was strange however, that despite the brightness, there was no glare.

Any trepidation or anxiety from being in this mysterious room was negated by a feeling of tranquility prompted by the surroundings. Still assuming this situation was an elaborate dream, he tentatively started exploring the space. His first discovery, there were no doors or windows on any of the four walls. Despite the luminous environment, he could not see any source of that light. The temperature was comfortable, ideal actually, yet there were no vents and a flow of air could not be felt. He stood against a wall fior a time, baffled and expecting to awaken from this strange dream. After several minutes, he was still standing in the same spot. He clapped his hands, lightly thumped himself on his head and even bent down to touch his toes. He shrugged and decided that while inexplicable, for now, this was his reality.

The thought emanated suddenly from the depths of his mind. Is this transition, is it possible, had he died? A chill of fast moving fear and dread consumed him. Then instantly it disappeared. This room eliminated fear and despair. Besides, he was aware of his surroundings and still was exactly who he was. The fact that he had no recollection of the previous day or night and no urgency or awareness of being expected or needed anywhere else, there was no cause for unrest. At this moment in time, he was assured by some knowing internal sense, he was precisely where he was supposed to be.

Gazing around the room again, there was an item he had not noticed before. In fact, he would have sworn it was not there before. It was a small cabinet, white of course. It was in front of the forward wall. He strode over to investigate. There was a closed lid across the top of the night stand sized item. He lifted the lid and slowly eased it back. Looking down, he was surprised to see an array of brushes and an artist’s pallet. Below, there was one drawer. Opening it he discovered it was filled with neatly organized markers of every color and description.

None of this made any sense. He was a writer and verbal communicator. With no artistic ability whatsoever, the thought of painting or drawing was a laughable prospect. Not to mention the fact that there was no easel or canvas. And, there was no paint. He picked up the cloud shaped pallet and examined it. The smooth surface was pristine. He picked up a brush and mimicked the process of dabbing it against the pallet to pick up some paint. He turned to the adjacent wall and wistfully brushed the blank space with a quick stroke. To his astonishment a tiny streak of red, his favorite color, appeared. The pallet was still clean. He dabbed again and crossed the streak on the wall. It formed a perfect red cross like symbol. He grabbed a different brush and thought about blue. The stroke along the wall appeared in that color. Suddenly, it was clear. This room was his studio and despite it making no sense, he was placed there to paint. These brilliant, smooth white walls were actually, the giant canvas for creation of a mural, his own personal cyclorama of his life.

He started by accessing markers and writing. Names, places, events, memories and dreams. Something intuitive took over. The names and places varied in size and style depending on their significance, family and closest friends were not only listed by name but also accompanied by a drawing of each person. He laughed at himself as the absurdity of his lack of artistic talent was so readily displayed. Still, he was compelled to grab a brush and diligently add flesh tones, and gallantly attempted to fill in features for each person. He worked for hours, there was no fatigue, hunger or thirst. He worked so feverishly, he did not even notice that he had transitioned to another wall to continue.

More lists. More memories, more names and faces, all of the places he’d been. He found himself intensely concentrating on the source of his life’s greatest joy, his children. He chronicled and recreated every memory of their lives, from birth to present day young adulthood. First words, first steps, school, programs, sports, graduations, weddings. He amazed himself, every memory was clear and concise.

On yet another wall, he recreated the great loves of his life. Again he fervently labored on every word, each minute detail. The select group of the five women he had unabashedly and unconditionally loved came to life anew.

It may have been hours, it could even have been days. He stepped back and surveyed his work. He was absolutely astounded. His endless lists of names and places events and highlights, memories and heartbreaks, were featured in a magnificent diversity of font styles, colors and calligraphy, the crude drawings of people were exquisite portraits. It was as if they were present in the room. Standing in the middle of the room, he slowly rotated and drank in the words and images that surrounded him on all sides. The range of sentiments was overwhelming. He relished every moment, he relived every emotion, he reflected , laughed, sighed and cried, inundated with appreciation, comprehension and perspective. And then suddenly, exhaustion came upon him. He dropped to the floor and instantly fell into a blissful, contented sleep,

When he awoke, he was surprised that he was still in the room. The light had not altered, the images surrounding him were still present. But then it became apparent, something was different. On each wall, empty space had opened in a variety of shapes and sizes. The images he had created had reshaped slightly. It seemed that these gaps were next to important people indicating perhaps that key information or history, he had somehow not included. Clearly,my he’d pace indicated that there was more of the story to fill in.

On each of the four walls, the situation was the same. He wondered what he could have possibly forgotten. He turned toward the supply cabinet only to realize, it was no longer there. Where had it gone and why had it disappeared? Obviously, his task was completed after all. And then at
the instant if the conclusion of that thought, it all became perfectly clear.

He had completely displayed the story of his life, to date. The smaller spaces now empty on his mural represented stories with those people and places that were yet to come. The large spaces on the wall, many in the area of his children, made crystal clear sense. There was still so much more of their story to be authored along with his involvement in it. On the wall of his loves, a very large empty space, was present. The thought of any further romantic or matters of heart had long been abandoned. Could it be that there was more of a story ahead? The large empty void seemed to indicate the possibility that the unwritten chapters in that area, which had been a heartbreaking journey, perhaps held the promise of the greatest blessings being further ahead.

As he contemplated this revelation, he noticed a tiny detail in the low corner of the wall where he now stood. It was an image of a forked path. Just to the left was a large gate, to the right, a continuing pathway leading to an unknown horizon. Stepping back, he suddenly became aware that there were two doors present in the room, side by side, on the back wall. He turned to face them. The vision of the path formed in his head. To the left, the gate to the unknown. To the right, the path to the horizon. And then, the choice was simple. The spaces in his life mural were not complete. The powerful message that there was more to life to author resonated. His tale was not over as he had feared. There was so much of the adventure remaining. Glancing quickly back at his life on all sides and again noting the until led spaces, eliminated all doubt. Armed with this enlightening affirmation, with no hesitation, he opened and faithfully stepped in to the darkness through the door on the right.

Instantly, or so it seemed, he was sitting on the sofa in his apartment. The television was off, it was daylight. His first thought was his vision was again limited. He shrugged incredulously contemplating the incredible, detail laden dream he had just experienced. It all seemed so real. It was odd, that he could remember all of it so vividly.He thought about the power and mystery of the Subconscious. He vowed that he would heed its message.

His thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. He rose and unlatched the lock and was pleasantly surprised to see his youngest son standing there. The young man stepped in and said he had worried after a number of unanswered calls and texts. And then, examining his Dad he said, ” what have you been doing, you have paint all over you?”