Today is the 2nd anniversary of my father Jack Summerfield’s passing on 5/7/07. Late last year we received a check from the settling of the last details of his estate, and we were able to get the family iPhones for Xmas (it wouldn’t have happened otherwise, so thank you Dad).
As many of you know, there are some amazing iPhone applications, (and some really dumb ones too). One app that I jokingly thought up allows typical Email to be sent to heaven using a Celestial Protocol. Last month I sent a long Email to my Dad using this fictitious app, and I have prepared an edited version to share below.
I've been meaning to write you since you passed away on 5/7/07, and we have lots to catch up on. I hope all is well for you on the other side and that you know we are thinking about you every day.
I assume you have heard they elected Barack Obama as President. (I know you don't get newspapers in heaven, but I have heard they have a marquee for the bigger headlines).
Everyone is both scared of the economy problems and elated we have a future legend in the White House. Since you were a Professor of Communications we think about you all the time when we see these historical things happening on TV. Lately we've been into Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, you wouldn't believe how great he is...
So what's it like on the other side? Does everyone get together any time they want, or are there realities to contend with? People here think in all-or-nothing terms about "heaven", (I'm sure you remember). I trust there are lessons to be learned and pleasures to be had we don't know the likes of, so tell me all about it some time.
Your house was a mess to clean up, what a crack-up! No wonder you wouldn't let me come over those last couple of years, I didn't know for sure what was up until we opened the door. My only regret was your not getting to see the clean-up job we did when we first thought you might come home. We made it nice for you, and we loved the thought of you being at home in your last days. It was clean, warm and full of love when we finished. I will have to learn to stay lean and practical so I don't repeat your example, although I love collecting junk also, so it will be a challenge if music is involved.
One of the great unexpected and ironic bonuses of your passing was the discovery of my long-lost first cousin Laurel Summerfield, the estranged daughter of your brother Hayden. Her name turned up in one of those family tree books that we found in your cottage, and when I Googled her I got a hit! We talked for four straight hours the first night I called. She's a great person, really fun to talk to. Although I thought we had never met before, she has a childhood memory of playing with a little boy named Ford and his sister Jenna during one of our family Texas trips. She has 4 teenagers now, and is happily married in the Virginia area near DC. We ended up having a big family reunion in New Mexico last year with the whole Hall family, your closest cousins, where we had a very nice week to meet and catch up.
Say, speaking of heaven, what are the rules up there about talking to other souls about their own growth? Since you have the resources of the Great Eternity, I would like to get a little heavy here and bring up an important issue. No one has a good explanation for why Hayden was a deadbeat father and husband, and for what seemed to be his sudden change from a bright young person into an adult with mental and emotional problems. It’s a family mystery, but guess what? Laurel got screwed in the deal, and I would like to meet Hayden on the Elysian Edition of Oprah or Dr Phil and maybe incite a studio riot by throwing a figurative chair at him, (or maybe listen with a more open mind to how he was injured in the Korean War and how there was some life lesson in losing his ability to keep responsibilities that I may not understand in this mortal lifetime).
I know Our Maker will see the point of my question, (He/She gave me the will and intelligence to bring it up, and I think He will be proud I said something if no one else up there already has).
Mainly I want Laurel to know that I am advocating for her, and that I think it is awesome that she created a stunningly beautiful and healthy family with her husband that seems to be even-ing the deal on some level.
Since Jenna and I are in the Health Care business it came in handy knowing a little about the system and how things are run. We were able to keep track of your Meds and status by calling every day from California and Arizona. Since Jacki lives in NY she became the de facto advocate and local caregiver, and it was our regret that so much fell on her simply because she, and later her mother Marita were the only ones physically there. Jacki solved a million problems we never heard about despite our constant communication, due to the frequent problems that arose each day, both preventable and unpreventable. I'm sure you remember the priceless comfort she gave you every night, decorating your room for holidays, bringing you comfort food and attending to your many business needs during your six months in the Hospital and Nursing facility.
It was a terrible feeling that nature and the system started to turn on us. We felt that along with the biological infections you acquired there were infections in the health care system that became toxic. During the two trips I made to see you we must have discovered something wrong with the care every single day, and there were things that should never happen that we could not prevent. Bedsores and surgical site infections became the slippery slope that claimed you, and it infuriated us to know that the opportunity of more vigilant nursing care could have saved you. I wish and pray for the reality of more ideal and effective health care for all present and future patients that may need it, and I deeply regret that didn’t happen for you.
So forgive us Dad, and know we never took our eyes off of you.
When we meet again we look forward to laughing with you about that Reverend that showed up at the Hospice during your last hours and mentioned his connection to Riverside Church, our family holy ground. I vetted him very carefully, because everyone knows I bristle around Fundamentalists or anyone with a sanctimonious attitude. Well, he seemed fine, and then in order to awaken you he started yelling loudly in your face as you lay quietly, and he startled the fool s--- out of everybody! Your face lit up all wild-eyed, and I could have killed the guy, it was like a Monty Python skit, it really was. That idiot! You can't trust anybody, even a man of the cloth (well, especially).
I want you to know we were very proud of you during your last hours and minutes. Good job Dad, good job.
Did you see how we scattered your ashes? We drove up to Montauk, Long Island as you requested and it was a really special place, just as you described. The Ocean seemed to be calling you home, hope you could feel it, I certainly could.
I picked out a similar place for myself when the time comes, (Bolinas beach on the west coast, Haley knows the area). You have to walk quite a ways once you park the car, but that's no problem for you. I hope to see you waiting when I get there; I'm looking forward to it.
Say, this goes without saying, but if you have any special powers on the other side, please watch over your granddaughters Haley and Madison, (and any future Grandkids). I knew you would anyway, but I felt like asking for the record. I like feeling they have all the angels they need, and you are the perfect addition to that special group.
I'll be seeing you in a few decades, thank you for being there for me, and for a lifetime of being my father...
Love, your son,