There’s so much I want to say to you that I didn’t say while we were both sitting in that hospital room surrounded by a cacophony of beeping devices, moans, soft, desperate pleas for help and the occasional chirping bird outside the barely-cracked window.
Why is it that animals avoid hospital grounds, I wonder? Maybe they’re not so dumb after all?
But I’m getting off-track, as we both know I do.
On this day I can’t help but miss you, yes, but mostly I’m haunted by you. By our issues, I mean, not you personally. (There are enough spirits in our home as it is.) I want to burn away all these questions that still reside in my consciousness.
But I know I never will. But isn’t that how it always is with parents and children of any age? There’s never any real resolution, just never-ending queries and angst.
Still, I want to ask you… So much.
Why did you let it happen?
Why did you let it go on for so long?
It actually physically hurts to type the words. No wonder I didn’t speak them aloud. I just sat there and shared a series of awkward smiles with you as time slipped away. Eventually you became too weak to even speak beyond an incoherent whisper. The fear in your eyes as we tried – and failed – to communicate is burnt into my memory. (I hope that fear is long gone and you are at peace, I truly do.)
And then that morning arrived when I walked into that damn room and you were gone while still lying there. I kissed the shell that held your soul and wished you a safe journey. Of course, the first thing I actually did was crack open the window in the room. Death does not smell like potpourri, that’s for sure.
(Mom would approve of my gallows humor, so relax, everyone.)
And then our time together, a time that had lasted over four decades and weathered some pretty monumental storms, was over. You donated your eyes to science so I had to answer some extremely uncomfortable questions about your lifestyle and sexual history, but I think you did that just to see me squirm one last time. Just like that time you asked, “Is she a good wife to you in bed, Bobby?”
There will never be another like you, that’s for damn sure, so on this day let me just say that in spite of it all I bear you no ill will, just good thoughts and love.
See you in the lobby everyone…
HOOK”S NOTES: Yes, I realize this post is early but the words and thoughts, fractured as they are, just came to me this morning so here we are. Thank you for indulging me.