The Fifty Cent Tour

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Father's Eyes

It was one of those moments, like in the movies, where one thing leads to a flashback...
I was at the milk cooler, at school, getting the milk order for the class: 6 chocolates, 4 whole milks, 3 skim. In my peripheral vision I could see another child coming up alongside of me.
"Hello Aran, how are you today?"
"Mrs F. I'm not Aran, I'm Nazir...Don't you know me anymore?"
I looked over at Nazir and the hurt in his eyes was like a knife through my heart
"Don't you know me anymore?" just echoed through my head
"Of course Nazir, I am sorry, I should have looked at little closer."
It's true he and Aran shared the same build, the same features but Nazir, Nazir was my former student. My little man, the youngest in the room who had the biggest heart of all. When I was having a bad day all I had to do was hear Nazir's belly laugh and it would just make me forget my troubles. And when he was finally able to master printing his long hyphenated last name the look of pride on his face reminded me of why I do what I do.
"No, sweetheart, I could never forget you, Nazir".
On the way back to the classroom this encounter sent me free falling into a flashback from not so long ago.
It was one of the last times I would see my father.
He was slipping away and would alternate between staring up at the ceiling and rambling incoherently about working the lines on a boat. We don't remember him being a seafaring man but this was some sort of dementia caused by his kidney failure.
I was standing at his bedside with the rest of my family, keeping Dad company, when he pointed to me...
"You there, grab that line, no need for slacking."
I kind of looked around the room and then pointed my index finger to my chest.
"Me, Dad?"
"Yeah, you, grab that line!"
"What do I do here?" I mouthed to my family
"Grab the line." my brother said
"How?" I asked
"Does it matter?", my sister said, finding this mildly amusing as she wasn't on the hotseat this time.
So I just pantomimed, in the air, what I thought grabbing a line would look like.
I looked over at my Dad for some sort of look of approval.
"Thank you, sweetheart", he said
"Dad, do you know who I am?" I asked, because this was the first time I had heard him call me sweetheart in a long time....
"Of course I do, you're my little Rene."
And his eyes were clear and bright and as blue as the ocean.
This was one of the last conversations that I had with my father.
One I will remember forever.
Peace - Rene

27 comments:

  1. Those moments of clarity people sometimes experience at the end of their life are some of the most touching moments for those of us left behind.

    I'll never forget the way my friend looked at me the day before she died - she had been in a coma for over a week, her eyes alternating between open and closed, but completely unresponsive and empty. And then one day she looked at me, and her eyes were as clear as they had ever been. She couldn't speak, but it was as if her mind had returned to the present, just for a moment, to say goodbye. Everything I ever knew about her was right there in her eyes in that moment. She could hear me. She could see me. She was there.

    I'll never forget that moment. Never.

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  2. Oh Rene, I know of which you speak...

    Thank you for your beautiful writing.

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  3. Ah, that triggered my own flashback to when my mom had dementia. Some of what she said was very amusing at times.
    Thanks for the memory.

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  4. I would consider that the last lovely gift your father gave you.
    xo

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  5. Je trouve que c'est un texte magnifique ! Merci de le livrer dans ton blog Rene !
    See you !

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  6. Awww. so heart rending but so good you obviously ha a father who cherished you. What an incredible gift many, sadly, never know. I hope he always cherished you as his precious daughter.

    I see how much you treasure your "kids" in school (Adn your daughter) and it melts my heart. Adorable. Love this bit:

    "And when he was finally able to master printing his long hyphenated last name the look of pride on his face reminded me of why I do what I do.
    "No, sweetheart, I could never forget you, Nazir"."

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  7. Thank you for making me cry (wench).

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  8. Thank you everyone for your comments..when my Dad passed away I found I didn't break down as much as everyone else seemed to be.I kind of held it together to be strong for my Mom..I now find that little things trigger moments of grieving. I suppose it will always be that way for me. The memories are always good ones..so I don't mind recalling them and getting through them as they come.

    Peace - Rene

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  9. Jeff34-

    Merci ! Je suis heureux vous ai apprécié mon histoire. Ayez un beau jour.

    Paix - Rene

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  10. Wonderful, beautiful memory. It reminds me of my mom, when she was in the hospital, and so sick. She looked up at me once and asked, "If you're not too tired tonight, could you start the hamburgers? I really don't feel too well."

    When she was well, Mom would start dinner before I got home from work, and I would do the clean up.

    Thanks so much, Rene.

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  11. Incredibly magical. What a great way to remember your father.

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  12. What a lovely post - thank you for sharing this memory with us...

    Have a wonderful weekend...

    :-D Anna

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  13. Well, I'm glad DAD'S eyes were clear... because, one of us needs be able to see well enough to navigate...

    Thank you for the beautiful story-sharing, Rene...

    And for the tears...

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  14. That one grabbed ahold of my heart.

    It's the little things.

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  15. Thank you everyone for your comments..

    Some of the things my father said toward the end were really out there as well. It was as if years of memories and sights and sounds were being released in no particular order.

    Cygnus - You are right about that.
    I'm glad my story touched your heart.

    Peace - Rene

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  16. beautiful, Rene.
    touching, sad, but wondrous.

    he knew you, recognized you!
    and you came through for him.
    he needed to find a way to thank you, and - once more - you came though.

    and now... he is everywhere.
    inside you. surrounding you and your loved ones.
    everywhere.

    and yes... to touch him,
    see him would be profound, priceless.

    but once again, you will come through for him.
    you will discover that he comforts you, guides you, and definitely loves you, still.

    there is beauty and love inside the shell of the pain. crack it open, cry, and then feel everything you've always felt with him.

    you are always loved~
    Chuck

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  17. oh my God I just cried a little.



    just a little.......

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  18. So did I Vodkamom,
    Thanks to Chuck's comment...you fookin' rascal...did you say you were writing a book or something?..Hee Hee

    Peace - Rene

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  19. Well done, Rene, on all fronts. That was beautifully written.

    Pearl

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  20. It's always those rare moments that we treasure always. It's not the big things at all. It's not the material things. It's the eyes, and the recognition from those we love.

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  21. What a beautiful story. I love the idea of grabbing a line for you Dad and then getting a true glimpse of him one last time. It couldn't have been scripted any better.

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  22. Before my neighbor passed away, I went to visit her. She didn't recognize me at all. She took one look at me and said, "Don't just stand there. Go in there and wash those dishes!" I remember laughing it off and reminding her that her house was always spotless but she was serious and adamant about it. I told her that I'd make sure that the kitchen was clean and then I gave her husband a quick wave and left. She passed away two days later.

    Your dad gave you a chance to look back on that memory and smile. It is a gift.

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  23. What a beautiful memory to cherish forever! Mr. Clapton's song and lyrics are so fitting for situations such as these.

    They will always live on with us forever in our hearts, won't they?

    I want to invite you and anyone else who would like to participate to share your inspirations with us.

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    Sign up here:

    Blog it Forward, and join us in bringing a world of inspiration to the blogging realm.

    Just a quick note, here, as I'm trying to spread the word via comments.

    I hope you don't mind if I steal a piece of your comment section here. I'm sure you won't, though, 'cause you know I luv ya! ;o)

    Come on over and check it out! :o)

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  24. Once again, thank you everyone for your comments, it really is nice to be a part of such a supportve community.

    Peace - Rene

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  25. What a beautiful memory to hold in your heart....

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