[2008-06-27] So, my dad died last week...
Last week, my father, Cristea Sandulescu, finally gave up his struggle on this earth. After more than 23 years (i.e. longer than I've been alive) battling Ankylosing Spondylitis, and seven months battling cancer (of the lungs and brain), further complicated by almost complete blindness (due to the aforementioned cancer), Dad decided the time had come to leave. He will be missed by both me and my mother, who loved him very much and were with him throughout most of this struggle.
My biggest problem in all this has been to explain how I felt. I was aggrieved, yes, but not so very severely. I didn't regret his death -- I was happy he didn't have to fight anymore, happy he didn't have to live with the pain and suffering inflicted on him by all these things. I was (and am) also happy to have had a chance to know him, and talk to him on equal terms, and happy that we had nothing left unsaid between us.
But putting all this into words somehow doesn't seem to explain it properly, and I worried that perhaps I seemed cold-hearted, or maybe in denial of the events happening around me. Which is where the amazing Randy Cassingham of This is True came in.
In an email conversation on the topic, he said the following (quoted with his permission):
Death is not only a true part of life (a fact many westerners try to ignore), but many times it's a welcome end. When someone is suffering, it's more obvious, but sometimes one is getting no more out of life and is ready to move on. My father was one of those; he was simply done, and I simply cannot feel grief over the extremely successful life he led -- and was done with. He died in December -- the day after he turned 89.
Randy is a brilliant writer and entrepreneur, as well as an extremely intelligent man -- and his understanding, along with all the support I received from my (surprisingly many!) friends, helped me through these difficult times.
So, to all of you who helped, whether by a kind word, a hearty handshake, or even just by listening: thank you all.
Why did I rescue this?
Actually, I'm being a bit facetious, as the reason I rescued this from the old blog should be fairly obvious -- it's a snapshot of an emotional moment in my life, and it's worth keeping around for my own later benefit.
And since I'm here four years later, I have a chance to kind of talk again to my future self and tell him where I am now in relation to this event. And, well... I'm still here. I'm still happy that my father is no longer in pain, no longer has to find just the right dose of medicine to keep his pain at bay, no longer has to just deal with it because there's nothing anyone can do for him.
At the same time, I still miss him, still regret not really ever talking to him, still regret not having been as close to him as he deserved. I wish I could talk to him now about what it means that I grew up the way I did, and how he deals with the drudge work of software engineering, and... so many other topics that I could just go on for hours with this paragraph.
He was a great man and I appreciate him, in spite of the fact that I don't think I ever really knew him all that well. He helped me whenever he could, he shaped my image of what it means to be a man, and he was a living example of willpower that I'm not sure I'll ever be able to match.
Thanks for everything, dad.