Sunday, November 22, 2015

365 Project - Day 326 - "A Gift From My Father - A Gift From My Dad"

November 22, 2015 - "A Gift From My Father - A Gift From My Dad"

Yesterday my son and I went to visit my dad. When we arrived, he was in the Chapel for Mass... something he does every single day.

As soon as he saw us walk by his face lit up and he snuck in a wave towards us as we - not wanting to be a disruption - continued to the back of the Chapel to wait as Mass came to a close.

When Mass had ended he slowly exited the Chapel and wheeled his way toward us saying that he had just been thinking about us and that he knew he'd be seeing us sometime soon and was so happy that we were there. We went up to his room and sat and talked and talked and talked - just the three of us.

We talked about many things. We talked about life, and the way things once were. He told me his regrets and apologies... and I tried to reassure him that he had no reason to apologize... no reason to regret. That I "knew"... That I "understood"... That I "know".

We talked about happy memories... of Sundays spent taking long drives from Stamford to Cornwall... of Sunday afternoons spent at my Grandparent's house... of camping trips... of special days spent together.

We talked about family. We talked, of course, about my brother Peter as we gazed at his photo hanging on the wall beside my father's bed. We talked about our daily thoughts... and our daily prayers.

The visit was only a couple of minutes shy of an hour. Eventually the staff came in to serve lunch and we decided to not disturb his lunch and head out to have our own.

Just before we left he wheeled himself over to his dresser, saying that he had something for me. He returned with this small wooden Crucifix, and placed it in my hands as he told me that he prays for me and for my brothers and for all of his daughters-in-law and grandchildren every single day. He had tears in his eyes as he told me that he loved me... and my eyes had tears in them as well.

As we hugged goodbye he hugged me tighter than I ever remember him hugging me... and much, much tighter than I thought he would be able to, considering his health. He did not want to let go. I did not want to either.

We made our way downstairs as he turned and made his way back to his room.

My son and I then went to lunch together... just the two of us... to the same place where my Dad and I have sat together over a pizza countless times.

Every parent wants their children to have a better life than they did themselves. Every parent has a time where they feel that they did not do a good enough job... that they somehow failed at the task. My childhood was indeed a rocky one... and yet I find myself feeling incredibly grateful for the road I've journeyed. The obstacles faced and the lessons learned during all of those years have brought me to this point in my life. They've brought me to "now". They've brought me to today - The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe - when I shall sit with my own son... before our Father... with tears in my eyes as I pray that the hugs I give my son will always be the tightest hugs I am able to offer.

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