Explaining &life 13 Nov 2022 02:40 am

King Aegeus

I’m sitting here thinking about the day we woke our father early one morning to tell him the news.
We sat around the table with a cup of coffee. It was an abnormality. A weekday. We normally met on weekends.
He sat there confused, wondering what brought three of his six children together on a weekday and how we had woken him. His face, expressing a puzzled mixture of happiness that we were all there together but also a weird energy that something was wrong.
Then, we told him.
Our oldest brother Theo had died in the early hours of the morning.
He sat there in disbelief, the very early elements of dementia had been present for a few months now.
He was confused. “What do you mean?”
-“He had a sudden heart problem and passed away. He’s with mommy now.”
He took it all in. His eyes became wet but he held back the tears. In that moment, he probably had flashbacks of many hundreds of images of his first born son, his birth, holding him for the first time, his first birthday, his first day at school, his achievements, his sorrows and his tragedies, our fights, our joys managing a six child family, his wife, our mom.
Parents should not have to hear of the death of their children.There is nothing more tragic.
I remember a time when I was about 6 years old and our parents took us to Cape Sounion.
As we stood on the cliff near the temple overlooking the Aegean sea, my father told us the myth of King Aegeus who’s son Theseus had gone (against his father’s will) to Crete to kill the minotaur, a vicious beast that was considered invincible.
King Aegeus had instructed his son’s captains to raise a white sail if Theseus was victorious (and alive).
Well, Theseus was victorious but his captains, occupied in celebration following their vanquishing of the seemingly invincible minotaur, forgot to raise a white sail and from that very rock, where Aegeus was standing waiting for the return of his beloved son, wanting to see a white sail, Aegeus saw a dark sail and realised his son had perished. In his despair, in that failure of not succeeding to prohibit his son from doing the unimaginable, he threw himself off the rock and died in the sea below.
I was traumatised that day.
A victory turned to tragedy out of a simple misunderstanding. A parent seeing no further purpose for life when losing a child.
It’s the myths and legends that connect us, that give us direction and purpose. My dad threw himself off the cliff the day we told him of Theo’s passing.
Theo had left years before to go kill his own minotaur.
There was to be no white sail.
A parent’s mission is the equipping of their children to become valuable members of society and living long enough to see that work materialise and for them to continue being parents, and grandparents, adjusting, helping, contributing.
We need to give our kids enough to do something but not enough to do nothing.
We all have minotaurs to go and kill. But we should never go alone.
I miss my parents.
If yours are still alive, go spend the day with them.
Take them to Sounion.
You owe them everything.
They’d jump off that cliff for you.

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