A Beautiful Goodbye

It was in this post that I mentioned a moment of clarity that I’d experienced with my mother when she was in the later stages of Alzheimer’s.
I like to think that there are times in our lives when, for whatever the reason, we are deserving of a small gift of the soul; something that catches us off guard and lifts the spirit; an experience that simply says, ‘carry on’.
If you’ve visited Smoke and Mirrors before and have read any of my writing, you could conceivably finish this post for me.
I think.

Lately, I have been keeping close tabs on my father (my sister, as well) for reasons I have chosen to keep private.
That said, I visited him last Sunday around noontime to feed him lunch.
He tends to eat well whenever my sister and I feed him simply because we’re able to be patient. It’s a wonderful feeling to know he’ll nap the afternoon away with a belly full of food and that we had a small part in it.

He ate well for me on Sunday: pot roast, mashed potatoes w/gravy, vegetables and the softest dinner roll I’ve ever held in my hand.
I wasn’t sure if he would even finish his dessert but the bastard ate all the Banana Cream Pie and didn’t even ask if I wanted any.
(I tried it and yes, it was very good)

I cleaned him up and we sat by the window in his room.
A slice of winter sunshine found him and I think he enjoyed the warmth of it.
I spoke with a few of the nurses on the floor who told me that he’d had a very good night.

“Walter? Oh, no problems with him. Sweet man.”

With my questions answered and my father fed, I went back to his room and bent down so we were face-to-face, and kissed his forehead.

“I love you, Dad.”

He just stared at me.

“I know, I know,” I said, “You love me too, right?”

He lifted his tired hand, smiled and gently stroked my cheek.
No words were exchanged but no words were really necessary.
For a brief second, my father was really ‘there‘.

When moments like this happen you have to soak them in because they’re oh, so rare.
It’s the stuff of the soul.
Small gifts, my sister said.
Maybe they’re not quite as small as I’d originally thought.
I walked out of the nursing home and felt the winter sun on my face and I smiled because it felt a bit warmer than it usually does.
Maybe that was a gift as well . . .


14 thoughts on “A Beautiful Goodbye

  1. That really was beautiful. It sounds like a huge gift to me. How lucky your father is to have such loving children, and how lucky you are to have had that moment.

    Huge gift? Yeah, I think you’re right, MB


  2. A gift, and a well deserved one at that. You have shown beatific patience in the face of adversity, and born your trial with a quiet courage than I cannot help but admire.


    I can only say ‘thank you’, Smitty
    Your comment means much


  3. a heaven sent gift from those who already reside there do you think?
    a gift for your patience, your devotion, your love and your aching heart…perhaps there are those watching who can feel your pain as only parents can and thought to soothe it for a just a small while?

    A truly beautiful thought, Moe.
    And I thank you dearly.


  4. ~m,

    Your writing has always touched me – but this post hit me good. I had a similar experience with my mother that I always will cherish. You have given me a reason bring those memories flooding back and my eyes are getting a tad on the moist side.

    I may have to write about my experience as well as I think it may be helpful for my soul as well as others like yourself. You are a honorable man to stand by your father like that and I thank you for helping me remember.

    Write it, Grimm.
    Even if it’s ‘for your eyes only’.
    It feels good to sometimes let the shadows fly out the window up to the heavens . . . where they belong.
    Thanks for the comment, bud.


  5. This brings my Grandfather back, when he was there, there.

    Thank you for sharing your blessing.

    If it brought Gramp back for you, I feel I’ve more than done my job.
    Thanks so much for letting me know, LF


  6. You have a way of picking titles……. sent me into tailspins not sure whether to focus on beautiful or goodbye.

    Beautiful M. post once again. Nobody beats that.

    Sun is shining outside but somehow I just got lost in a memory, the memory of saying goodbye not knowing whether it may be the last. Memories of the loved people I lost before I could get there, the everyday reality of new people potentially being added to that list. Then wondering whether they know I love them, truly, feeling the urge to call them all and let them know, now that they can still understand, trying to cement it in their hearts that they won’t forget, come what may.

    Thinking about whether people love me, truly, and whether there will come a time when I can’t remember.

    I usually don’t dwell on ‘what if’s……’. Still today my heart seems vulnerable. Your post somehow let it know that that’s ok.

    PS. I am with Smith re “and born your trial with a quiet courage than I cannot help but admire”.

    Your comment (as always) blows me away.
    If my words convey all that you’ve written, I will go to bed happy.
    Make that phone call or write that letter . . . no time like the present.
    You’ve blown me out of the water here, Spaz.


  7. Michael,
    I’m always glad when you have these moments with your dad, I know they mean a lot, more than a lot – everything. It made me think of the story of your mom asking you to bring her a ‘cold one’ and the laughing.

    When you think of it – it’s always moments like these with anyone we love that reach deep inside and knock us off our feet – in the best way. And I’ve always believed that no matter what this disease has done to your dad’s body and his mind, that the linkage from his heart to yours is still there.


    Yeah, the post about my mom was funny. I still remember that day.
    As far as this post goes, yeah, there’s still a connection.
    But I think you kinda knew that anyway.
    Thanks, kiddo.

    {{{hugs back}}}


  8. Grimm says you’re honorable….I say Ditto! You are such an honorable man, Michael! Taking the time to sit and take in the sunshine with your Dad must have touched his heart. Your blog friends always get to you before me, but I agree with writerchick too…..
    ‘the linkage from his heart to yours is still there’. 🙂 How wonderful! As sad as the disease is, it is such a blessing to share such a moment with your dad. Many people don’t get the chance! 🙂 Lynn

    Thanks, Lynn.
    These days all I can really do is sit with my father.
    Somedays it’s really kind of nice.


  9. my day feels a bit warmer than it usually does after reading your post.

    that is, after the goosebumps subsided.

    so happy for you that your father came through in that beautiful shining moment. fold that picture up and tuck it away for years to come.

    thanQ so much for sharing this.

    Firmly tucked away, kiddo.
    Thanks for reading, Y


  10. how wonderful that you had that moment with him. thats one of the unforgettable ones.

    You never know when it’s going to happen either.
    And unforgettable? Absolutely.


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