A Father’s Call

There once was a man who became very sad whenever he called his father on Father’s day. His father, who lived in a distance city, always took the opportunity to chastise the man for not calling more often. To this the son would say that it was a two way street, but refused to be drawn into an argument.

The son’s wife, who was naturally concerned about her husband, asked why he even bothered to call on Father’s day – knowing how his father was. He told her that it was the right thing to do – to honour your mother and father – even though it made him sad.

Then one year, at Christmas, a nurse called from a hospital to say that his father was sick and was asking for him to come. Despite the late hour, the son went immediately and visited with his father. His father talked of many things and the man had compassion for his father, as he could see his father was remorseful.

The man suggested to his father that a man’s past does not equal his future and that maybe they could start over, after his father recovered from his illness. He gave his father a blank sheet of paper in order to write some New Year’s resolutions, and the son would do the same, hoping for a new relationship.

His father nodded in agreement, but the son returned a few days later and noticed the paper was still blank. He never said anything about it to his father, although he was puzzled. Could it be that the father had a change of heart, or was there something else?

His father, who was wearing an oxygen mask, then wrote a note that asked if his son was late for the job interview that he had mentioned earlier – some distance away. He told his father that yes he should go, but that he would be back early the next morning. His father then scribbled something illegible on the paper and collapsed back on to his hospital bed exhausted.

When the son return to the hospital the next morning, he was told that his father had died, just a few hours earlier. In fact, he learned that the doctor had reminded his father to get his affairs in order, because he had only hours to live. 

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Sadden; the son unravelled the note his dad had given him before he had left. Since the letters on the page were jumbled and ran together, it took some time to decipher them. In it, his father said to hurry back and that he had hoped the Will was ok. 

The man wept because he realized that his father had sacrificed his last remaining hours of life, by not mentioning he was dying, because he knew his son would never have left him.

He also realized something else – his father had always loved him, very much. 

And he smiled when he thought of his dad and next Father’s day.

                                        fredparry.ca  2011

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