Everything we were and yet to be has reached its conclusion. I almost did not make it to this moment, a few more seconds and I would have been greeted by darkness and emptiness. Winter’s light soon disperses into night on the last day of a year’s twilight…
Sitting upon an old chair listening to my father as he slept seeing how his chest barely heaved during those deep shallow breaths. Doctors said that it is only a matter of hours until he dies. Everyone knew this day was coming for months however it became real the day after Christmas when his health rapidly deteriorated. Just before his collapse, he called for me to see him and when I arrived he had slipped into a deep sleep. My understanding is that this has been occurring periodically and I decided to wait for him to wake up, hoping not to miss my last opportunity to speak with him.
Day slowly returned to-night as he finally awoke. Looking towards my direction, he motioned for me to approach. As I got closer, I could see a faint smile on his face, ” you made it,” he whispered. Staring down at the face of a fading patriarch, “yes sir,” I replied. My father motioned for me to sit down next to the head of his bed, despite his weakened state there was something very important he wished to share with me.
“Son, I have lived a long and prosperous life,” turning his head to face the window, “by this time tomorrow night I will cease to be. Everything I have ever known, seen, touched, and savored will be no more.
“Father, I know this , we all have known that this day was approaching for months.”
“Let me finish son, all of my prosperity has been a result of lies, theft, and abuse. The world offered me everything and I treated her like a whore. But there is still time.”
“Time for what father?”
He never took his eyes away from the window, his gaze focused on the full moon just beyond the barren trees.
“All of my possessions, my knowledge, my wisdom, and my heart I no longer wish to horde. These things I obtained and kept from the world, I wish to give them back. I want her to have the things that never belonged to me. Will you help me son, please, this one last time?”
I did not know what to say, my mind was perplexed by the notion of charity from my father. In all the years I have known him this was the first time he has ever expressed regret. However, there was this part of me that felt concern for what he asked. The things he wanted to give back were part of my family’s inheritance, my future was about to be made a contribution to the destitute.
I gently turned his face towards mine, “Yes father, I will help you this one last time.”
My father smiled, for the first time and pointed to an envelope on his night stand, “Please take this for it has the instructions for carrying out my last wish.” I opened the envelope and read the contents. There appeared to be more than just instructions as I read towards the bottom of the note, three words written to both me and my mother that he has never once shared, until now.
…I cried and when I turned to thank him, he was gone.