Saturday, February 11, 2012

farewell

As facebook friends know, my father died early this morning. It was expected, and he was ready to go. As Linda, his long-time companion remarked, he's been wanting to be in a different place for a couple of years. As his health declined and his mobility diminished, his world became, in his word, desultory. He died at home, comfortable and at peace, and without pain. His last view of this world was of the one he loved. We all should be so lucky when that day comes.

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.

6 comments:

Nancy said...

My deepest sympathy for your loss, and absolute happiness that you have such a cherished moment and memory so near the end. God comfort and bless you and your family in the days and weeks ahead.

The Bug said...

What a great memory to take with you! I love the cello anyway, and it makes me smile to imagine that scene...

Kip said...

How wonderful to have that memory of your dad happy and smiling and singing Anne. Hugs to you. I know what a loss it is to lose a parent.

Terri said...

May he rest in peace. Prayers for you.

Donna Henderson said...

Bless your hearts, both of you. My condolences. You're going to miss him terribly from time to time. He's still around, though. Watch for signs of him. Love, YFAF

Jules said...

Peace is a wonderful thing for all of us. When my dad knew it was his last few days, I was in Wisc. visiting a friend. I could not get through to my dad where I was but finally the call connected and there we were. He said he'd wait til I got home, but he couldn't. We said what we needed to and made our peace.
Having met your father and witnessed first hand his full out love of life, I know you will treasure these last times with him.
Love, Jules

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