Saturday, February 11, 2012
I was fortunate to get a heads up when there was a shift in his well-being just over a week ago. I flew home for several days to see Dad, and found him alert and present, if not able to communicate much. I didn't say much to him, but in silence we shared a space and the warm of our hands in each others. I don't think there really was much need for words. I believe he was grateful for my presence and the knowledge that he was loved.
There was a sameness to the hours spent there at the house, since dad was confined to bed and slept a great deal. One memory, however, will stand out. The night before I returned to TN my older brother came by the house and brought his cello. We cranked the bed up so that dad could see, and Jamie sat at the foot of the bed with the cello and improvised some music. When he was finished, he recalled that there was a song that dad always sang when we were little. It is probably a folk song from somewhere in Eastern Europe, and the only words we knew were in the native tongue. Jamie began to sing it, and dad quickly chimed in with a robustness that defied the weak state of his body. It probably exhausted him, but the three of us sang until the end, all of us punctuating the finale: "Hey!" A broad smile extended across dad's face, reflecting his pleasure in that moment. I will cherish it always.
Rest in peace, Dad. You lived a life full of color and grace, and the world was a better place with you in it.