Dorothy’s Silver Slippers Addendum – My Father’s Afterlife Message

Dorothy’s Silver Slippers Addendum – My Father’s Afterlife Message by  

Questions concerning life and death arrived during my early childhood after a car struck and killed my first best friend as she crossed a neighborhood street on her way to the A&P grocery store. While walking along my life journey, exposure to death and its sometimes tragic circumstances have grown in occurrence with age. I suspect that most souls could say the same.

Personally, I have had a few mindful and fleeting experiences from those who passed that were near or dear to me, but never with the depth and confirmation that my father blessed me with over the course of his funeral services last month. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this story had its origins with my recent article, “Dorothy’s Silver Shoes and the Gold-to-Silver Ratio Fallacy,” published on July 7. A follow-up live radio interview with Dr. Dave Janda about the article aired on the afternoon of July 14, and I published it on YouTube during the wee hours of July 15. My father passed away late that afternoon. If you have not seen them, I suggest you stop and do so before reading any further, and don’t consider the following excerpt as an all-inclusive summation.

“Few are aware that in the original book from 1900, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” by Frank Baum, Dorothy’s slippers are made of silver, not red rubies… The most significant difference between the movie and the original book is that in one, Dorothy is only dreaming, and in the other, she really travels to the Land of Oz that exists somewhere over the rainbow… The entire book served as a political allegory for gold and silver’s battle to become the primary American currency in the early 1900s… The political symbolism was abandoned in the movie (1939 The Wizard of Oz) and the silver slippers were switched to ruby-red shoes, to emphasize the advance in filmmaking from black-and-white to Technicolor through the Land of Oz.”

During the week leading up to my father’s death, immediate and extended family were having difficulty in connecting or having a lucent conversation with him at the hospital. The reasons included not having his hearing aids on or politely pretending to hear you and redirecting with unrelated answers or questions, nurses and doctors invading his room, being sound asleep with my mother present, having another medical test, or he simply chose not to answer the phone and be disturbed. I was fortunate to have had a lucent but brief moment on the phone with him and end it with “I love you,” but our conversation abruptly ended due to nurses coming for vitals and giving him a bed bath. My father was wheelchair-bound for several years as a double amputee due to complications from procedures to address severe arteriosclerosis in his legs. I discussed his struggle in “My Experience in the Microbial Superbug Epidemic.”

My father was hospitalized in July due to an infection that evaded diagnosis this time around. He was scheduled to have exploratory surgery on the morning of July 15, which would have ended the mystery with a concrete diagnosis. He officially passed at 4:20pm EDT and the phone conversation with my mother and my neighbors ended at 4:44pm. If you are of the ilk that has a special number that pops up circumstantially in your life via clock or elsewhere, take note that mine is 444 .

The 12-hour drive lasted until 6am on July 16, which was basked by a full moon and sky that were so bright and crisp, that the edges of passing clouds made the nightscape appear as an over-sharpened digital image. I have no shame in sharing that I had tearful conversations with my father during that trip, as I imagined he was in the back seat under the sunroof and a brilliant white moon guiding my way home. My eyesight is not so good in the dark shadows of a midnight highway.

One year earlier, I had the brakes replaced on one end of my car, as the pads on the other end were good for another 15k miles according to the mechanic. The very moment I pulled into the hospital and parked, where my mom, sister, and deceased father were waiting for me at the ICU floor, the brake light lit up on my dashboard with a blaring beep indicating that time was up for a second set of brakes. If you ask me, my father, in his saintly way, purposely delayed that brake light so that it would not be a concern over such a long and emotional drive to his bedside. His mouth was open as his body rested upon that hospital bed, which reminded me of the pathway for his departed soul, just as a soul enters the body at its first breath, as noted in the Book of Genesis.

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