My dad doesn’t talk much anymore. He listens and understands, just doesn’t say much. So when my sister Linda sat down with him Friday night for their weekly “Book Club” reading session, she was surprised to hear him say in a very serious voice, “I have a problem and I don’t know what to do about it.”
Linda, the nurse, immediately began to worry that he was about to tell her of some new physical problem. Since she knows every detail of Dad’s condition, she couldn’t imagine what this new ailment could possibly be. Then sadness flashed onto Dad’s face as he explained that he felt that any day now my daughter Kaitlin was going to ask him to perform her wedding ceremony this July, and he knew that he couldn’t possibly do it, but he didn’t want to “let her down.”
Linda’s email was at once the saddest yet most beautiful thing I’d ever read. Here was my 89 year old Father who can barely speak above a whisper, a man grown so unstable on his feet that he requires assistance at every turn, yet he has been fretting for who knows how long about letting my daughter down by not being able to officiate her wedding.
Even though Dad has, in fact, officiated every single wedding in his large and expanding family, the last one was many years ago, long before the unrelenting march of time began to silence his booming voice and sap his strength. We had kicked around the idea of having him record a prayer before hand that could be amplified through a sound system at the ceremony, since he may not be strong enough to even make it to the service. Kaitlin and Jon have already asked a dear friend, Gordon Fort, to officiate. But, I suppose in Dad’s mind he assumed that he would be expected to come through for Kaitlin. The very idea that Dad could possibly think that he was capable of letting any of us down is a crushing thought. But the fact that he has been worrying about all of this silently speaks volumes about his noble and dignified spirit.
None of us needed any further proof of our Father’s innate kindness. None of us have needed any additional reasons to love him. None of us have needed any more evidences of the profound sweetness of his soul.
But now we have them.