Daddy and Mr. B... and Me
My father died on Thursday with my mother at his bedside. He had been in the hospital unable to speak for a few months. I recall the weekend prior to his death because I went to stay at my parent’s home that weekend to care for my grandmother and visit my father while my mother was out of town. It was not unusual that I went, but unusual that Mom was not there. She was scheduled to return from her trip Monday night or Tuesday, but she would certainly be there to see him on Tuesday. As usual, I arrived Friday night, stopped at the hospital to see Daddy, and then home to do whatever I could for GranMa. GranMa was a bit frail, but she could care for herself and prepare something to eat. At this point she was OK but needed to be checked on.
I remember visiting Daddy on Saturday morning and evening so on Sunday morning I took the newspaper with me. Since he couldn’t speak I wanted to occupy myself after giving him the update on where everyone was in the country and that my siblings and their wives and kids were all well. Oh, and, Mommy would be back on Tuesday, for sure. It seemed to be only a minute or two that we shared this day which is my lifelong reflection. He didn’t speak, I spoke, then I didn’t speak, but we looked at each other and we both conveyed so much. Maybe it was forgiveness, maybe understanding, a bit of friendship, and certainly love. It was such a precious time which I truly cherish.
I decided to miss Sunday evening visiting hours for no particular reason that I recall, sometimes I wonder why. I was in the kitchen when the doorbell rang that night. It had been years since I had seen Mr. B... who looked older, maybe heavier too, but I easily recognized him. He and my dad were lifelong friends, at least as long as my life. Though our families didn’t get together regularly, nor often, our mother’s were close, we kids all matched well by gender and age. Our homes were the same style; our days together were filled with joking, and fun, and hide and seek in the yard when the sun went down. His son came with him that night, we were both grown now.
Mr. B... and his son had just visited my father in the hospital and it was obvious that he was very upset by seeing his condition. Maybe a bit puzzled, too. I don’t know how long had passed since they had been in touch. I don’t know how he knew my dad was ill. I knew they shared a deep bond and friendship. They came in, we sat in the living room, and we talked for a short while. I’m sure he was disappointed to not see my mom. I believe his son came to my father’s services the following week and I know I appreciated him representing his father.
I often think of that Sunday morning, the last time I saw Daddy, that cold February day, and believe that staying home that night allowed private time for Mr. B... and Daddy. Maybe they had an important quiet moment, their own reflection, a moment of understanding that only lifelong friends could know. It was part of his life journey, protected and planned by God.