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(Authored and Narrated by Richard Lee Orey)
A Last Letter from Dear Old Dad
You know, I looked in the mirror the other day and saw that I'm old. I mean really old.
As you know, I'm in my 80th year. Yet I don't feel really old, even as I know that
there are many things that I can't do as well anymore and some things that I can't
do at all anymore.
It's a reality everything living must die. I know it's true , and I know that my dying is
not too far away. As I grow even older and perhaps more feeble, I hope you
understand and have patience with me. When I break a dish or soil my placemat at
the dinner table, I hope you don't yell at me. Every year in my old age, I get more
sensitive. Please understand and be patient with me even as I tried to be patient
with you when you were very young and had similar mishaps.
When I don't hear what you're saying because my hearing is getting worse, I hope
you don't shout at me and make a belittling remark. Please be patient and simply
repeat what you said.
Oh, and as I get older, I'm also getting weaker. If I fall down, please be patient as
you help me to get up. Have in mind that when you were little and were just
learning to walk, I held your hand and patiently helped you time after time as you
fell. I picked you up and kissed your bruised knee or laughed with you and then
held your hand as together we tried again. As you grew a little older, the
times were many that I held onto the back of your new bicycle to steady you as
you struggled to learn how to peddle and how to keep your balance and ride
away like other children. Remember, too, the many, many times of repetition I
took with you for you to learn how to play catch and to bat a ball?
Please bear with me if I keep telling you something that I just told you a short time
before. I don't meant to keep repeating myself like a broken record. But, with
my older age, my memory often fails me. So, please don't make fun of me
and get sick of listening to me. Think back to the time when you were very little and
you wanted something very badly or you wanted to get my attention so you
could say something. You just kept asking and asking until you got my attention
and got what you wanted. I didn't leave you then. My ear was always yours.
So please be patient with me if I repeat myself, just the way you used to do.
I want you to understand that old people get sick much more easily than when they
were young. And we get cold easily, too. So please bear with me if I feel a draft that
you don't feel and know that I must be uncomfortable or I wouldn't say anything.
I do hope that you can be patient with me if I nag at you or act cranky. It's all a part
of getting older, something like an old car making more noise than when
it was new. And I do hope that you have time to sit and talk with me, even
if we talk about things we've talked about many times before. Keep in mind that
I'm often alone and feeling very lonesome. And even if you're not really
interested in my stories that I've shared with you dozens of times before, bear
with me. The time when I'm not here to bore you anymore is not far off.
Perhaps you'll remember, too, all the times when you were very small that I patiently
listened to your many stories about your friends or small events in your life that
seemed very important to you even as I recognized silently how common and
ordinary they really were.
I'm sorry if I spill things or make a mess. I truly don't mean to. But it's getting harder
and harder for me to function with the care and skill of when I was younger. I'm
sure you remember all the times over years back when you spilled your glass
of milk at the dinner table. So know that it's true when they say, "What goes
around, comes around."
If the time comes when I become very ill and bedridden, please find the patience to
take care of me. It's a real fear for me to face those times with the thought that
I'll be helpless and unable to care for myself. This is especially true as I approach
those last few days of my life.
And when the moment of my death does come, I hope you are with me to hold my
hand and give me the strength to face death and to leave you behind. But I
want you to know that when I meet God face-to-face, my first words to Him
will be to thank Him for the extraordinary gift of my life and for my life with you
and to ask that He bless you and watch over you.
Thank you so much for your loving care in my last days. Keep this thought in your
heart: When you, too, grow old some day and die, I will be waiting In Heaven
to greet you. I love you so much more than I can ever put into mere words.