Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dr Dog

My dad finds great joy in golf.  I feel joy knowing he has this.

My Dad grew up in Queens across the street from a golf course.  So, he golfed often.  Very often.

Dad is golf.

A few summers ago I joined my dad on the course.  There was a bit of commotion and his golf partner felt it was affecting his game to which my father responded "It shouldn't."

My dad explained the level of concentration required by the game from the golfer should be such where your mind is with your body, swing and ball.  Nothing else.  It was in that moment I realized part of the joy of the game is escape and I further understood what time on the course brought to my dad (for one thing, my dad and I are both afflicted with the propensity to focus on what's next instead of the moment).

So, I took great pause in a phone call I had with my Dad (on Christmas Day, 2010) when he indicated his joy for the game was diminishing.  Dad is golf.  It's about being with your body, swing and ball.

What could possibly affect that?

A friend, a golf partner, and wonderful person who went by "Dr. Dog"  had pancreatic cancer.   He would not be a survivor.   This disease was going to kill him.  My dad was going to lose his best friend.   And without the joy of their camaraderie on and off the course the game changed.  My dad changed.  Because it's about so much more than your body, swing and the ball.

Dr. Dog was blessed with much more time than expected.  He got a few more tee times.  His life was celebrated with a roast.  He lived his final months as he did his life.  Joking and laughing and embracing commotion.

Dr. Dog died on January 7th, 2012.

I am deeply sad for my dad.  I know him well enough to have some idea how he will deal with and experience this loss.  His faith will provide some comfort.

In the spirit of the joy golf brought to both Dr. Dog and my father I went to driving range on the day of his memorial and whacked away thinking not about the ball or the swing but wishing joy to my dad and Dr. Dog in whatever form it might take.

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