Sunday, December 15, 2013


At the end of the book, the epilogue neatly ties all the loose ends together. Boy gets girl, the bad guy gets his overdue comeuppance, and justice is meted out to bring a satisfying end. If the story is good and the author skilled, there’s a bit of a chuckle in there as well and everyone lives happily ever after.

This story was supposed to continue. Of all things to have happen, this wasn’t supposed to be the arc in my plot. In fact, I actually beat leukemia. I did not, however foresee an issue with my lungs of all things. No one did. My rapid decline went from bad to worse yesterday and I was admitted back to the VA Hospital in Seattle and I am now in a holding  pattern of sorts while family fly in from the four corners of our very large country. My time is at hand.

It’s a pretty tough pill to swallow to have a doctor tell you that you have “months.” You wrap your head around the reality over time, but I didn’t even have a week. That doesn’t really give me any time at all to do anything that would settle final affairs. No, this epilogue is hardly an elegant one.

Here’s how it was supposed to play out:

The doctors knew I didn’t want to pass from this side of the veil to the next in a hospital, so plans were in the works for me to fly back to Salt Lake City on Wednesday. I would continue the same exact treatment that I was receiving here in Seattle and we would plan out end-of-life care to be around loved ones at home when the time came. We were also looking to cross off one final bucket list entry by going to Hawaii. My SkyMiles account was ripe for the pickings and I had loads of Marriott points as well. The amount of time seemed conducive to get my affairs in order as well and my son graciously offered to, well, insisted staying on as my caregiver.

But yesterday, that all changed and now we are staving off the inevitable while my family wings its way toward me.

So, what does one think about as death approaches? Well, I’m a bit disappointed sure; there’s a little trepidation about what’s on the other side; and let’s face it, the actual process of dying isn’t a walk in the park. I really don’t like the progressive weakness. We’ll be looking at palliative measures here in the next few hours, so my epilogue here really isn’t much of a hero-rides-off-into-the-sunset page turner, but who knows? Maybe you’ll see it that way!

Most authors also include an Acknowledgement Page for everyone who helped in the writing of the book. Since this is a lifetime, I can’t do that here for obvious reasons. I do want to simply say that it has been one helluva ride and I’m grateful for a life that has been so rich and full of adventure. For whatever parts you have played it, thank you.

I spoke with a dear friend today who asked me to elicit a promise. I’d say to that person and to you all the same words of Zach Sobiek: “Don’t wait to find out you’re dying to start living.” You can honor my memory that way.

No music selection today. Pick the tune that just makes you happiest and enjoy.

With all  my love and respect

Todd Park -December 15, 2013