Some opportunities happen but once in our lives. One shot
is all we get-like that final free throw upon which the whole
game depends. There are no second chances.
Back home after spending two weeks in the oncology unit of
Northwestern University’s Prentice Hospital, Dad felt good
about leaving the hospital alive although we hadn’t thought
him ready to be discharged . There was still the unresolved
issue of his profound diarrhea, a particularly mean-spirited
side effect of chemotherapy, in addition to the colon cancer
from which he was dying.
So Dad and I began talking about the sort of things a father relays to his
son before the time he has left runs out. The
stories which follow reflect the blending of my father’s narrative
with the memories of growing up with and without him.
Our protocol was fairly simple. He did most of the talking and I
did all of the listening. It’s simple enough to do. The only hard
part would be to justify your failure to do so to the person in the
Reading the stories of this son will help your memories rise to the
surface from which, it is my hope, you can derive some comfort
.and pleasant recollection. You may even find your own
experience clarified. Expect to enjoy a soft chuckle or wipe away a
tear now and then. Whether you know it yet or not, your dad,
like mine has a lot to say. It’s up to us. Go ahead. Take the time
to listen and remember before it’s too late.