These two had a very special bond. They were buddies.
The hospice staff and nursing staff thought Dad was going to pass away days ago and we were told on a few different occasions that this was it and to be prepared. But…Dad kept hanging on. The staff kept saying, “Is there anyone else that your Dad is waiting to say goodbye to?” I had been hesitant to bring Parker in to see Dad since things were going so poorly. I didn’t know how Parker would act or how I would help Parker even say goodbye. But everyone was sure Dad was holding on for someone so today I decided to pull Parker out of school early so he could go visit his Grandpa.
The visit was so special and beautiful. Parker was able to see past how his Grandpa looked or how he was breathing or any of the stuff the rest of us would notice. He looked right at Grandpa, got a big grin on his face and waved “hello” just like he always did when he saw him. Then he started blowing kisses at Grandpa repeatedly. I pushed Parker’s wheelchair up close to the hospital bed and Parker reached out for Grandpa’s hand. He then started very gently rubbing Grandpa’s arm. I helped Parker tell Grandpa Tom that he was there, that he loved him, that he was his special buddy. I told Dad that Parker has had some great moments with his Grandpa and he will always be special to him. Then I told Dad that Parker just wanted his Grandpa to be comfortable and at peace and it was Ok for Grandpa to go to Heaven and be with his Uncle Luke. I told Dad that he could watch over the kids from above and he would have the best seat in the house to watch his grandkids grow up.
I picked up Parker and took him to the other side of the bed and held Parker close to Dad. Parker leaned his head in to lay it on Grandpa’s chest and at that point I lost it. Sure, I was sad. But I was crying because I was witnessing an act of pure, unconditional love. My little boy that is non-verbal was doing everything he could to show his Grandpa just how much he loved him. It was the most beautiful thing.
A little bit later, Parker looked up at his Grandpa Tom and waved “bye-bye”. It was a joyful goodbye like one that says, “Until I see you again”. I tickled Parker to make him giggle and Dad fluttered his eyelids and his eyebrows moved up. This meant the world to me because Dad has been completely unresponsive for a couple of days but it really appeared like he was responding to Parker’s giggle. I held Dad's hand and told him again that it was OK to let go and Parker and I left.
A little over an hour later, I was sitting with John at Dad’s bedside as Dad took his last breath. I guess he needed to tell his little buddy goodbye.
Thomas W. Dorn
We love you!