The last time I talked to my Father

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talked to my Dad on the phone today. It’s the first time I’ve talked to him since 1999. It was a pretty wrenching experience. I kept telling myself: “Don’t start crying. Don’t start crying.” Of course I started crying. I couldn’t help it.

The good news is, he says he’s not in any pain (they must have good morphine back east). And his wife is watching out for him 24 hours a day. The bad news is, his wife says “He gets a little weaker every day.”

His voice sounded different. It was a higher pitch than usual. But it was the same familiar Dad speech patterns. Though without his usual mindless enthusiasm. He was strangely matter-of-fact and unemotional. Probably didn’t have the energy to get excited or emotional. When I alluded in a roundabout way to his impending demise, asking him how he was “dealing with his situation” he simply said “That’s just a part of life.” I think all his years as a minister — where he made countless visits to hospitals to talk with people on their death beds — prepared him for this moment. It’s familiar terrain.

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He’s having trouble eating and sleeping. Spends most of his time sitting comfortably in a chair in his bedroom.

I figured I better say it. “I love you. I’m gonna mi– ” But that’s as far as I got. The words got choked in my throat.

We made a little  more small talk about this and that. I didn’t want to drain his energy so I cut the conversation short. Told him I’d call him back tomorrow.

What a life.

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