CREDOS:Both sides — II

He was miserable in intensive care; tubes seemed to come from every opening. But my dad still had his sense of humor, asking me, “Does this mean we can’t keep our lunch date tomorrow?” His voice faltered.

“I’ll be here to pick you up and we’ll go someplace special.” I answered, a lump in my throat.

Dad refused to look at me for the first time in his life and turned toward the blank green wall next to his hospital bed.

There was a painful silence between us. He said, “I don’t want you to remember me like this. Promise me you won’t, darling! And please go now — I’m so miserable.”

That night, back at the hospital with my husband, the attendants wouldn’t let us in to see him. “He’s having a little problem,” one said. “Please wait in the visitors’ lounge and we’ll call you as soon as possible.”

I sat holding my husband’s hand for about ten minutes. Suddenly, a jolt shook me and I felt my heart stop beating.

“Oh, honey,” I said. “Daddy just died. I felt it!” I jumped up, rushed down the hall to intensive care and began knocking on the door. “Let me in to see him,” I begged.

“He just died a moment ago,” one of the nurses answered. “Please go back to the lounge and we’ll come get you in a few minutes.” They blocked the door so I couldn’t rush in.

It had seemed to me that this beloved man could never die. He had been such a solid, loving presence in my life. —