We seldom choose our last words to a loved one. They slip away when we’re not paying attention, like the setting sun. They’re part of our life, we feel the warmth of their touch, and then they’re gone. When Mom finally died she’d been gone for a long time, a series of mini strokes stole what made her ours, and we never got to say goodbye. The shell that remained was someone we didn’t know though it looked like her, a reminder of what we’d lost. Dad died suddenly on Black Friday on his way home from a cruise when his failing heart stopped beating. He was buried six days later on mom’s birthday. I didn’t choose my last words to dad not knowing they were my last, but I got lucky.
Dad had called me a couple of days before he left on his last cruise. The conversation was a familiar one. “Did you hear what Hillary said,” he asked.
“I don’t know dad, that everyone deserves healthcare,” I said.
“Nope, she said that businesses don’t create jobs.”
“And you heard this where,” I asked.
“Fox News,” he said.
He spent the next ten minutes catching me up on the world according to Fox while I shared my view of the world we live in. Dad liked to argue; he enjoyed the sparring. He knew he wouldn’t persuade me or be persuaded by me. He’d always chuckle and end the conversation in the same way.
“Where did I go wrong with you kids,” he’d say.
I wished him a pleasant cruise, said goodbye and then said, “I love you dad.” And he replied, ”I love you son.”