Here is a little something special. Words from dad about one of his favorite subjects: God.
I taped this conversation between he and an ER doc sometime early this summer when Dad and I made a late night trip to Silverton Hospital because his blood pressure had elevated to a dangerous level. His greatest concern, in his later days, was that he would be incapacitated by a stroke—unable to think or do for himself.
Dad honored his indepence like no one I've ever known, and, until my sister moved to Oregon in June, he lived on his own, cooking, driving, getting himself to and from his numerous doctor appointments. And even with Shameem there, doing all her great cooking, he still made his sambar, and coconut chutney, he still went to the Farmers Market, still attended Tuesday morning medical lectures at OSHU, still read his New York Times, his Scientific American, always telling us about articles "you have to read," or shows on PBS that "you have to watch."
The articles and shows showed the diversity of Dad's interests: physics, medicine, genetics, cancer research, politics, war, Islam, history, fitness, music, art, mortality, geology, animal communication, brain studies, cognitive development—on and on the list went, but on top of it were always his questions about this idea we call God.
In the end Dad died an atheist. It was, in fact, one of the final things he uttered that last day. Saying quite clearly that he did not believe there is a single creator. Instead, his conclusion after a lifetime of study, was there was no heaven or hell, no pearly gate to walk through. We are all just energy, and that energy will simply become something else. "And if I'm wrong," he said on that hospital bed, "I will deal with it later."
"If you are wrong," I said to him, "you will end up lecturing God."
At the celebration of his life on Sunday, one of his nurses repeated a conversation she had had with dad. During one of his transfusions she asked if he believed in reincarnation. His answer was yes. "I started as stardust, and I will return to stardust."
And so will we all....
-Naseem Rakha 1/21/15