Memories of a Great Dad
We hugged and chatted. Dad did not move. A few hours went by. People came and went. Friends stopped in. At one point I was alone with Dad. “I want to tell you I have always been proud to be your son,” I told him. “Without your support, love and guidance, I could never have been able to do what I have with my life.” His thick dark hair was neatly combed w ith a shar p par t; just way he had showed me how to do. I realized I had more gray than he did. “And besides, you are going to be the best-looking corpse in the funeral home.” Pat and Mom each had some quiet time with him. More friends stopped in, and we were all sitting around the bed making uneasy conversation when Dad made a soft gurgle and his chest stopped moving. I ran to the hall and called a nurse. She came into the room; checked Dad’s pulse, opened his eye lids, looked in and saw nothing. Just like that, my dad was gone. “He was waiting until everyone got here,” Pat said softly as she held my hand. Dad always knew what he was doing.
Dad and Mom, August 2005. Dad goodbye. He gripped my hand and said, “Good luck with your new wife, Dickie.” *** On that final trip, Pat and I walked into Dad’s double room in the nursing home and the bed next to him was empty. His roommate, a man who had been unconscious for a year and whose family had kept him alive with a feeding tube, had just died. Dad was lying peacefully on his bed, eyes closed and oxygen tube connected to his nose. Bob and Mary and their spouses and some of the grandchildren were in the room.
Dick Cooper is a Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist. He and his w i f e , Pa t, l i v e a n d s a i l i n S t. Michaels, Maryland. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 46
Tidewater Times June 2014