srs_bidness (srs_bidness) wrote,
srs_bidness
srs_bidness

Say Goodbye

My Father was expecting company. He was always one to pride himself on his adherence to the values considered important when he was a young man. He liked to cook, he liked to dress neatly, and he liked to keep a certain order in his surroundings. Tonight he had gone to great lengths to produce an exquisite meal for himself and his guest, which was almost ready. He was dressed opulently and would have been amused to see himself constantly adjusting his jacket, if he'd noticed. The table was prepared, the flowers had been set out, and the drinks were ready on the sideboard.

Sitting in his chair, meticulously double checking each element of his surroundings, my Father's eyes fell upon the clock. He had been patient, and it would be soon. He would often reflect on his curious journey through life and the patience he had to endure to simply move with it. A gregarious man who loved his friends who had long since lost contact with him. A family man who loved his wife and children whom he hadn't seen for years. Happy with his lot, and then moved to another place. The meticulous state of his house was a testament to his ability to completely adapt to any circumstance, and yet he still felt incomplete.

As my Father mused upon his circumstances, there was a shout in the distance. Not startled, he arose and walked into the kitchen.

I shouted in dismay when I walked into the hospital room. I had only been asleep in the common room for a few hours when I was roused by the nurse, who told me my attendance had become urgent.

My Mother had been ill for a number of years and she now lay close to death in front of us. The invasive tubes and equipment, I suppose, denied her a great deal of dignity in her final seconds, but then dignity was the last concern I had at that moment. "Say goodbye, children," I whispered to my family, trying to distract myself from my own feelings of pain, of loss, of anger, of despair, and of emptiness. I had not endured this kind of horror since my Father had died when I was quite young, thirty years earlier, and now I suffered the same horror again as I watched my Mother take her last breath.

There was a knock at the door. My Father allowed himself a half smile. He had waited thirty years for this moment, and everything was ready. He adjusted his jacket, turned on his heel, and went to answer it.
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