“Maybe we should stop and get him some yogurt,” I say as my brother and I drive past the rehab center where our father is, on our way to take me to the Los Angeles airport.
I saw my father for the last time the night before. I was visiting my aging parents in Calif., staying with my brother and sister-in-law. Our mother was in an assisted living facility. I don’t remember why I thought he should have yogurt. Only that he liked it and I wasn’t doing anything. There was nothing to do. He was dying.
I was leaving to return to Canada. I would never see him again and both he and I knew that. I had visited him daily while I was in Calif. I took him for walks. Dad in his wheel chair. Me pushing. He had been in the hospital when I arrived in Calif. several days before. One night it seemed certain he would die before we returned in the morning. But he fooled us. And he grinned when we walked into his room after having thought we were saying good-bye the night before.
“Decided it wasn’t time to go yet,” he said. “Let’s take another look at my portfolio. How are the stocks doing these days?”
He was discharged from the hospital and went to the rehab center a few days later.
Dad was like that. Not quite sure what was going on inside of him. But he was incredibly good- natured, smart, thorough, loving, gentle, brave. He was my hero.
I have no idea why I wanted to write this today. But I did. I bless you dear father for taking such excellent care of me, of my brother, and of our mother. You lived a long and full and respectful life. You have grandchildren and great grandchildren who would love you dearly if they were to meet you. You have a great grandson who seems to me to be quite like you. He is sweet and dear, capable, responsible, kindly and very smart. A thinker, I suspect a dreamer, and he plays golf. You would have liked each other.
You met him when he was about 3 or maybe 4. You proudly drove him around your mobile home community in your golf cart and introduced him to your golfing buddies. Chris loved the ride and the attention. You loved feeling so proud and showing him off.
I didn’t get you that last yogurt. It seemed like it was way more about me and not really about you. I wanted to see you one last time……I didn’t want to see you that one last time……
I love you, I thank you for teaching me how to love.
Proud to be your daughter, Nancy Hanks (the name you called me)