CREDOS:Perfect end — II

Dad refused to look at me for the first time in his life. 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. “Please wait in the visitors’ lounge and we’ll call you as soon as possible,” one said.

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!” “Let me in to see him,” I begged.

“He just died a moment ago,” one of the nurses answered. It had seemed to me that this beloved man could never die. He had been such a solid, loving presence in my life.

I raged inside, believing I had let my dad down by not being at his side, holding his hand and

telling him of my love as he had passed on. Knowing I’d been an attentive and loving daughter wasn’t enough as the months and years wore on.

After a dozen years, my father came to visit me in a dream and tell me his side of the story: You know I worked long past retirement age, and when my knees just couldn’t carry me anymore, I felt disgraced by being so weak.

Most of all, I never wanted you to see me as a helpless old man dying in a hospital bed. It would have hurt too much to have you there. — (Concluded)