We all have events that affect us during our lives. Several come to mind for me; the passing of my father, being married, the birth of my son and this morning the passing of my second father, my father-in-law.
While my father passed away more than 20 years ago but it still affects me. I think it has to do with my wife, whom I met several months after he passed never met him. My son, who was born 10 years after his passing never got to meet his grandfather and some of the regret I felt for not doing more when he was sick.
I did get to see him before he passed, but when I was home; I did not spend as much time with him as I could/should have. I was uncomfortable. And as I look back now, selfish. I did not know what to say or how to act. I felt I had to say something to him instead of just spending time with him. I spent more time in the living room or visiting friends than I did visiting him.
I missed an opportunity to tell him how I felt about him and missed spending time just sitting with him.
Recently I was given another opportunity to somewhat make amends. My father-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal lung cancer in October 2009. Even though he was 83 years old and we (the family) knew he and his wife, my mother-in-law were getting older, and it was still somewhat of a shock.
I vowed to myself to spend as much time with him as possible and do what I could to help him through the tough road ahead.
Over the past few months and weeks his quality of life has decreased. Within the last week it took a major turn for the worst. He was put on Hospice. This week I took the afternoon off to help remove his old bed and dresser to make room for a hospital bed and other aids.
Yesterday I visited to help with some daily hygiene type stuff and visit for a while. We did not talk much, but just being there helped. Him and me. When I was leaving I told him I would see him again on Saturday. As I was walking out he called me back and said, “Hey, you’re O.K.” From what my wife said that is the last thing he said.
Charles Franklin Bennett, 84 pass peacefully in his sleep early this morning, April 16, 2010.
Good by Charles, Thank you for allowing me into your family and always making me welcome. I am honored to have known you. You taught me a great deal more than you know. I love you and will miss you. And hey, you’re O.K. too.