SON AND FATHER
Copyright © 2016 by Mouli.D
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This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, any place, events or occurrences, is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
This is my first ever short story and I’d like to thank ms carol jean for inspiring me. This book wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of my friends and my sincere thanks to RAINBOW old age home for giving me permission to share the feelings of old age fathers and their hopes.
For carol jean, my inspiration always.
FATHER LAST WISH
MY SON CAME
It doesn’t matter, it has been weeks; months or years, and the pain of losing my father will pinch me for a lifetime. I still didn’t believe it, and that was almost three months ago. As a family, we’re just getting over the shock.
It had been really long day and I was looking forward to getting home from work. Although my mind had been thinking about my wife Jennifer all day because it’s the end of her 37th week pregnancy, I managed to get everything done. And as expected my wife’s water broke at around 2am, we grabbed our pre-packed bags, tidied ourselves up, and drove to the hospital. It wasn’t surreal yet, I was just crossing items off the to-do list in my head to make sure things went smoothly.
I was in the room during the birth. When my son’s body slipped out, I register his purple, almost bruised skin. Relief that my wife had made it through brought me tears, then he started crying. The midwife placed the baby in my wife’s arms. It was the best moment of my whole life when my wife took him and kissed him with tears in both our eyes. They both look so cute at the moment. My wife struggled so much she deserves to have him. I wanted to remain apart until everything was declared ok. The midwife took him from my wife and whipped him around roughly, to massage his back.
Then Midwife clipped the umbilical cord. I ripped off my tears which are unstoppable to have a clear glance. Then Midwife handed me my new little being into my arms. I felt nervous to hold him. He was all wet and wrinkled, and I held him to my chest, wanting my wrap him in my body and arms and keep him warm and safe. So precious, I offered his little hand, my finger and he clutched it, each perfect little finger nail staring up at me.
I had tears welled in my eyes that the day had finally come and everything turned out well. I was intensely proud of him for no discernible reason, and became reasonably protective almost immediately. My world was transformed-later I realized that it wasn’t my only world. I myself became a new person in the process. After three months I felt myself back from my father’s death.
In the first few months, he needed his mother almost exclusively. I thought he was perfect and I only wanted the best for him. I knew I was willing to rearrange anything in my life to make that happen.
I always called my son as my favorite. It wasn’t until my son became more interactive that I really bonded the most intensely with him, when he looked at me on purpose, Smiled on purpose, Reached out for me on purpose. When he eventually started to say “Daddy”, crawled to me, and pointed at me. And especially now, at 3 years old, when he knocks on my office door in the middle of the day, opens it himself, and say “Hi! Daddy, C’mon, play cars” and motions for me to follow him. Equally memorable, there were the many nights spent simply lying next him as he fell asleep as a toddler. I melt.
Watching him head off to school on the first day and taking him to see Santa at the school Christmas fair and having him cry all the way home because: ‘It wasn’t Santa. It was Christopher’s dad!’ and hosting his birthday parties and having a load of kids and miss taxiing him to all his sporting and social engagements and enjoyed tremendously all of his sport seasons over the years standing on the touchline as a parent and sometimes as an assistant coach during his football matches and shouting ‘good try’ at random intervals just to appear interested, During that bedtime routine, he shared his world with me in profoundly meaningful ways and being proud of him on his graduation day. He meant the world to me and he still does and it’s something I will treasure forever.
As an individual, he has many unique, wonderful gifts that will take him far in life. He is sensitive, loving, intelligent, responsible, and passionate about succeeding in his chosen path of study. In short, he rocks! When Chris left home for university, we talked daily through text, email, or on the phone. We missed him, and he got homesick, but it was manageable. And it made me thankful that I didn’t have to go through what my parents must have when I left for college.
I feel proud of Chris. I think I’ve done a great job as a parent, enabling my son to leave home and now leading their own, as he sett1led with the love of his life after a pleasant marriage.
I’ve said goodbye to my son in all the ways: with happiness, with anxiousness, with sadness, and with all emotions.
For nearly two years I haven’t met my son in direct after his marriage.
My friend Joseph and I were resting on a park bench; he cleared his throat and broached a difficult subject “mike you are making a big mistake by stressing about your son. Do you realize that?” he was referring to my condition.
“It won’t happen whatever you wish,” He continued. “You gave him the best life, now it’s time to enjoy your life and let him look after his life and family.
“Missing someone is part of life mike, but just because you miss them doesn’t mean you need them! Move on with your life, you obviously deserve better if they walked out of your life in the first place.” He said without any hesitation.
I let a few moments pass. I finally replied.
“I disagree, you too have children.” I told him gently. “I disagree. And I bet, in your heart of hearts, that you do, too.” I cut off that conversation. Because what I have with my son is worth it. It is worth the pain I feel from not having him close. It is worth it because he is my one and only son. No matter how painful distance can be, not having him in my life would be worse.
Finally I left the park disgusted. It was the first time in over two months that I actually spent on working out. I’ve reached home feeling uneasy I thought it’s due to running after a long time. Then suddenly I felt an odd squeezing sensation in my chest and it’s due to heartburn, even though I’d eaten nothing that might cause that.
My wife Jennifer brought me antacids, then a sharp pain went through my back and I told my wife I felt like I was going to die all in the matter of one minute from the initial symptom I’m screaming like hell. My heart is going to stop in a few seconds. I’m getting unconscious. I went in the dark.
I heard a continuous beeping that matched my steady heartbeat coming from my right a familiar sound. My body was numb; I couldn’t move it at all. I merely listened to the beeps. The first impulse to break through was a primitive one: thirst. I craved water. I had never known a throat could feel so dry. I tried to call out, but I can’t.
I had no idea where I was at first, but let my eyes wander about the room. I was in a typical hospital room.
When I tried to sit up, pain ripped like a knife down my chest. My head fell back. And again there was darkness.
When I wake up again, it was daytime.
“He’s awake,” I heard a female voice say “I’ll go get the doctor.” a few seconds of silence.
I heard a movement and suddenly there was someone standing over me. I looked up and saw my wife Jennifer.
“Mike?” She already had a cup of water in her hand. She put the straw between my lips and I sucked greedily.
“Slow down,” she said gently.
I opened my mouth to find out what had happened, but again she was one step ahead of me.
“You just relax now mike, Try not to worry”. Her voice laced with sadness.
I flicked my eyes towards the door. A young man in surgical scrubs complete with the shower cap stepped into the room.
“I’m Dr. Holmes,” he, said stepping closer.
“What Happened?” I asked?
“You had a heart attack,” he said. Then added:”Massive” He let that hang for a moment. “You went through surgery and it was successful. He added that I need to be there for observation for 3 days”. Jennifer accepted
He glanced toward my wife. “He’s been in serious depression, which leads him to stress. That’s the main reason he’s here,” Jennifer gave me a cursory glance.
“Take care of him Mrs. Michael” Dr. Holmes and nurse faded back through the door.
But for me, I just needed to see my son, maybe now more than ever. But, Chris had not visited or even called. That’s what’s making me more stress.
As thinking suddenly memory of my dad flashed in my mind, after these years I remember the rest of that day my father died in 1986, and that night and the next day.
It’s been a quite busy week I’ve been preparing my affair for the forthcoming conference, a stressful work from day till night. When I was at work, I sat in my seat and was really in a very good mood when a man came in the door. I don’t know him, I asked politely if there was anything I could help him with, and he said he was looking for a person named Michael. That person was me. He said that he was a friend of my uncle Mr. Mathew. He asked if we had a little chat and I followed him. I did not know what to believe, it could be anything he wanted to talk to me about.
When we were almost alone, he said “Michael your father’s health is in critical condition that had taken a turn for the worse. He had no control of his bodily functions. Please go home As soon as possible.” He said this terrible news. “Your father wants to see you. His heart is beating for you just for you and it’s going to stop anytime. It’s becoming worse minute by minute as he is fighting for his life.” My mind blocked for a few seconds all turned blurry due to tears started in my eyes. I do not remember much of what happened afterwards. He said sorry and he left.
There was nothing I could control. After a little while, I wrote a family emergency letter and left it on my table and rushed towards the ‘EXIT’ door. I didn’t inform anyone and came out of my office building, took my car and headed towards home, which is 200 miles far away, every second is most valuable to me so that I could see my dad and talk to him, Memories with dad disturbing my mind.
I really don’t know what to say about my father. Just mean that I love him. I just loved going places with my dad. I didn’t know then, but he worked very hard to support us and that didn’t leave as much time as he wanted to spend with us. He loves us (me and my elder sister Jasmine) and keeps worrying about us even when we are adults. Though he is not rich, he tries to give us some little money as when I was a small boy. I am always his little son.
After driving for five hell hours with lots of past emotions I reached home. When I entered my parent’s bedroom I saw my mother, my sister, the nurse. All are as helpless as my dad. The only difference is they are standing. My mom came and hugged me tightly. Through tears in my eyes, I looked at my mother, and had no words.
Dad lies flat on his back sleeping on his bed, his eyes closed, his pain erased by medication. There was some kind of tube connected to his chest. The machines beep and click and gurgle, all keeping his body functioning within acceptable margins. He is very sick breathing with his mouth and lost lots of his weight.
I sat on a chair next to the bed. I look down at his 64 year old hands. His hands were blue, cold from blood needed elsewhere in his body. I calmly took his hand with one hand and placed my other on his shoulder. He slowly opened his eyes. Touch is such a powerful communicator, and I felt an exchange of mutual affection. Tears filled my eyes –tears of relief.
“Hi… dad” I whispered as I leaned closer, willing myself to be strong… not to cry in front of him.
“Hi… there” I saw him smile and it is so weak, he squeezed my hand softly.
“I’m here now dead.” He nods slightly, blink slowly then closed his eyes.
“How are you dad?” I found it hard to find my voice as I know his position. A small tear drop rolled down from his eyes. I took his hand and kissed it, dad opened his eyes and he cried. Embracing him with my spirit, I cried too. At that moment, I felt like we were of one substance and the substance was love. I heard small sobs behind me from my mom and sister.
The room was filled with deep sorrow. But now, with his hand in mine, they are warm and alive. Isn’t it curious how holding hands can awaken life? Bring back more youthful moments? I was sitting with my dad in his bedroom. As the doctor arrived and said there was no reason to keep him in the hospital, but rather to let him go home and die in peace. And added they kept him on a morphine drip.
Dad didn’t let go my hand since I held his into mine when I came. “Mike before you came; He is very sick and unable to open his eyes.” Uncle Mathew said. “Now he gains some strength because of you,” he smiled and patted on my shoulder. “Don’t leave him, Michael.” And he left the place.
After some time I felt drowsy due to heavy work stress and driving for five hours.
“Don’t worry mike go and take some rest. I think you are so tired”. Mom said. Dad squeezed my hand tightly with all his strength “Stay with me.” Dad said in a low voice.
I didn’t know when I slid my hand from my dad’s. Dad called me and asks to hold his hand. Due to sleepiness I slid my hand from his grip 3 more times and dad waking me up and asks to hold his hand. But, fourth time “dad, I’m here beside you only, I’m not elsewhere” I shouted at him in frustration. His face became pale and said nothing.
“Frank he had a stressful week and he is very tired. Let him go and sleep.” Mom interrupted.
“Go and sleep mike.” Dad said, looking at me with saddened face. I hesitated to move, but, my mom offered to relieve me. I went straight to my bedroom and lay down on my bed.
During this crisis I became confused because I didn’t know whether I was helping my dad or hurting him even more.
“Mike! Wake up! Wake up, Mike” I feel someone waking me up and the voice is my mom’s. I am unable to open my eyes because I didn’t have a good deep sleep. I awoke to my mother repeatedly yelling in desperation with the frantic voice “I can’t wake up dad”.
I rubbed my eyes and quickly jumped out of bed, faster than I’ve ever done anything in my life. I gulped down fear, as I rushed to find out what was happening.
I ran to my father’s bedroom and found my mom screaming and crying over my dad’s body I saw my dad lying on the bed just as peacefully as he is. His right hand indicates towards me at the door. I think he died looking for me to stay with him and hold his hand. I ran to him and took his lifeless hand into mine. It looked as though he was sleeping. My tears are unstoppable and streaming down on my cheeks. I saw my sister crying by the bed. I should have been spared the torture of separation from my dad during his last moments. But now it was my mom who had this privilege. She was so deeply devoted to her husband that she had earned the honor of making him the last services.
Death and funerals are one of life’s bitter truths and there is no point being in denial. My mother initially tried to convince me to stay behind with my wife Jennifer, who was 6 months’ pregnant, but the choice was clear to me that my wife’s sister and mother staying with her to help her while I was away. My dad wanted more than anything to be a grandfather.
After the funeral, I remember the last hours of my dad, I was terrified. I didn’t know how to act, what to say, so I sat in silence. He asked me to hold his hand. When I took his hand in mine, he started to cry. The memory has broken my heart ever since. He never should have had to ask. There are few words and fewer acts that can convey more emotion, more truth than holding a hand. They are the simplest, most perfect way to ease despair, to share joy, to demonstrate empathy, or to show love.
After my dad left his last breath, all changed. I lost my father, my hero and my teacher. I thought a lot about death and dying. I learned the importance of telling people that I love them. Don’t ever let them wonder how I feel. Of all the things I regret, missing the chances to say “I love you” will never be one of them. Love and death are two uninvited guests, when they will come nobody knows. But both do the same work, one takes heart and the other takes its beats.
However, I am really concerned about my mother and she’s 61 at that time, fit and healthy and fills her days and evenings with a whirl of activity, much of it physical. Since my dad died, she developed countless new hobbies, made a huge circle of friends and built what appears to be a full and active life. I am enormously proud of her.
I only see her every week that she seems to be utterly exhausted much of time and after a week’s time she seemed somehow reduced. She admits she is tired, but her reaction seems to be to throw herself into activities in an even more frantic manner. She had admitted that she can’t bear her own company and needs to be doing something to stop her from thinking about my father.
She said: when she’s in the house alone; she always had the two radios playing at the same time she seems to have dealt with her grief by refusing to spend any time contemplating it. I was terrified about what will happen as she becomes less physically able to keep this pace up and she is forced to stop and think about my father. My sister also lives away from our mother and that is very worrying. I know she misses all of us, but she won’t come and visit, she always had something else she has committed herself to.
When I refused my mother to come to my house, she rejected my refusal and said “my husband is everything to me and without him it’s just not the same. I am not going to leave this home and memories”.
But I think nobody felt the pain of my father’s loss more than me it’ll travel forever with me.
A loud knock on the door startled me as the nurse leaned into the room with some medicines. She quickly did her assessment on me and documented everything in the chart, and left the place.
I want to ask my wife that whether she informed Chris or not but I didn’t want to make her feel worse. I knew, Chris would not come here to see me, and while I am sure Jennifer told him what had happened, there was no way to know if he even understood. Then I felt drowsy and fell back to sleep.
I felt my arm in someone’s hand. I saw my son Chris was sitting over my bed and staring at me when I awoke. A nostalgic smile was on his lips. I can’t believe my eyes as he came; my son came for me.
“Hey, Dad” He bends down a little to embrace me. He hugged me tightly and hugged on for dear life.
“Hello, my son,” I croaked, I embarrass him too, and I feel the warm strength. I admire it in my son.
“How are you feeling now?” Chris inquired.
“Absolutely fine” All of my pain and medication troubles simply disappeared at the very moment. It was a heavenly feeling only a father’s heart feels like this.
My son took my arm into his and staring at me. “I’ve missed you, dad,” he said with a concerned smile on his lips.
“I’ve missed you too,” I said after a pause.
Then we had talked so much an agreeable conversation nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other’s life for nearly three to four hours.
I didn’t left his hands go off mine. Holding my son’s hand is perhaps my favorite thing about being a dad. It’s not the simple act of holding hands it’s a promise of protection that once I gave him and now I want that protection from him in matter of love. It’s what I feel when we hold hands, All the love stuff. And I know he feels the same. All unspoken with my hand wrapped around his.
“Well…” Chris took a deep breath and looked at him seriously, “I’m glad dad you look totally fine.”
“What will you do now?” I’m feeling anxious to hear his answer, but he was hesitant.
“Go back to home and my job. There’s lots of paperwork to complete.” He paused. “I have to leave tonight.”
“Please stay for another two day Chris” I want him to spend some more time here with me. I want to hug him without analyzing it. I want to feel the emotions without putting words to them. He deserves that. I need that. It was such a hardest minutes to be in.
“Oh… no… no…um…” he seemed at a loss for words. “I have to leave in a few minutes and head back to home. They expect me to report to work tomorrow at nine a.m. sharp dad”.
I’m startled, and sniffed, then I left his hand free as I felt the loss of protection. Chris stood up, putting his hands on his hips.
I saw Jennifer looking sympathetically at me, and turned her gaze to Chris with red-rimmed eyes.
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, Chris.” Jennifer hugged him for a few seconds and kissed him on his forehead with tears in her eyes. They both look so cute at the moment again.
Then he turned to me “Dad, I know you’re going to miss me; but don’t think that I’ll ever forget you, or stop loving you, just cause I’m not around you to stay and say I love you. I always love both of you even more with each day. Someday we’ll see each other again with family soon.” He said with promising tone.
“Let him go mike, he has lot of work to complete, and his wife is alone.” Jennifer said with her arms folded lightly across her waist, as hard as she tried to fight it. Jennifer is a strong woman who can handle anything.
But who knew when we are going to see him again?
Chris came near to me “I’ll keep in touch, dad…” Chris put his hand over mine.
Silence fell between us.
I lifted my chin up and took a deep breath. “I’ll walk you out.” I tried to stand up, but Chris put his hand over my shoulders to stop me “I’ll go, dad. You just take care, dad.”
He stood up and hugged his mom “love you, mom. Take care of your health too.” She didn’t leave him for a while. Then we both of them wished him a safe journey.
Then he walked to the door and leaned back against the door “Take care dad, love you mom.” He said and left the place. It all happened so quickly. I watched the door for a few seconds.
Jennifer suddenly turned away, and I could see she was remembering Chris. I put a hand on my wife’s back. She didn’t move, but I could feel her shudder.
I’m very happy that we saw him and spend some precious time with him.
May be Chris is so busy gaining and growing up today, but one day he’ll become father and then he feel what a father feel through years. That’s what fate means.
Memory of my dad flashed my mind again, when I saw my dad minutes before he left his last breath. He fought with his life just to see me and want to die holding my hand. Unfortunately, it went wrong within minutes. Technologically, I am not lucky to spend 10 more years with my dad. But, now I can live more 10 years for my son. Whatever it would be, we don’t know anything until it comes to experience in means of love, emotion, family and relations. From all these I come to know that love is not only to express but a thing to experience. I am thankful for the many gifts in my life. But none has been greater than this.
But sometimes being different can be a good thing. At first with bitterness, now with acceptance, I realized that there is no promise of tomorrow. If dad can see me, I want him to know that he’s still teaching me and still answering my questions.
Jennifer and I had worked hard all our lives as we’re both nearing 60, we want to have something of our own and work for ourselves.
I reached out and took Jennifer’s hand, feeling both the warmth and the more recent thickening of her skin. We stayed like that until the door opened. The same nurse leaned into the room.
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SON AND FATHER
Copyright © 2016 by Mouli.D
The father of a little boy enjoys a very close connection with his son. He can see in his little boy's eyes that he utterly convinced that father without a word the ultimate man in the world. As time goes by son gets older and relationship changes as he begins to develop in to a young man, both if them faces challenges that mean a little bit harder to maintain bond. That father who remembers his old days leaving his dad and what he actually missed on the last day of his father life and realizes that everyone will experience same at the end.