By Lara Perschke
My father was a true enigma, beyond compare, paramount to who I have been, and want to become. I want to talk about his life.
My Dad was fascinated with the idea of salvation. It was the last word I watched him write, painstaking and deliberate, standing alone, all caps, on a sheet of loose-leaf paper in pencil, as he loved to use. He had been writing a book defining the metaphysical interpretation of the New Testament. He was also quietly passionate about salvation of knowledge, memories, history, people, stray cats, wild animals, even the coyotes and raccoons that roamed his properties. He believed in love after divorce, and lived to tell the tale of becoming whole after injury. He believed that anything can be healed.
When my father was a child, he was hit by a car, and his leg was crushed. He remained in a hospital for close to a year, and my grandparents were told he would never walk again. He healed. He walked, then ran. Dad was talented. He sprinted into a full scholarship at The University of Chicago. He ran in the Senior Olympics at age 55. After surgery, I watched in awe as he walked laps around the nurses’ station at Northwestern with stride. Even in his final days, he wanted to go for a run. He was a survivor.
My most vivid memories of my father are dissimilar to the ones I have of him in his later years. When we were children, he was regal and serious, always on his way to a meeting, never in a pair of jeans. He bought and sold coins, buildings, and first edition books, with a deep love for history at the helm. I spent many of my summers alongside my brothers, sorting through what seemed to be endless artifacts of what Dad saved. He cherished beauty, and collecting extraordinary art and cars. Dad also cherished experiences. He reserved Box One at the Lyric Opera for many years, and front row seating at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He loved his sailboat, and fishing for trout on Lake Michigan. He taught me that it is always better to be overdressed; presentation is key; it is important to listen to people; and speak deliberately. He loved an early rise, stretch, Chicago Tribune, steak and egg breakfast at a diner.
He also taught me that every being has an intuition. He took me to see psychic mediums and past- life hypnotherapists. He taught me the proper way to use a Ouija board. He explained that I should never be afraid of the world beyond this Earth. He told me about fairies, elves, aliens, and co-existing realities and labyrinths. He gave me a pendulum, and gave me detailed instructions on how to create a frequency between object and human.
Last year at his home, I stepped into the living room and smelled burning sage. It took me a moment to spot my usually grumpy, grizzly Dad. He was whispering, “bless this house and all who enter,” sage aflame in his hand, in prayer. He meant what he was saying, and I could feel it in his voice.
It was the living, breathing, sage-burning metamorphosis of grumpy, grizzly Dad.
His beliefs add a softness to my sadness, and a poetry to his life. He watched as his four children made an unbreakable pact not to leave his side. We watched as reiki healers spread their love…
We learned as he made peace with his past, and exited this life. Dad, we will be ok. You always reminded me that my presence and input is valued, an encouragement which is carried on in Kurt, Ian, and Adam. My bond and love for my brothers will never be equaled. We are saved. We are healed. We begin.