“It appeared at first that my father’s last days would be difficult ones. Perhaps even very sad,” she said.
Whatever happened, caused him to stop communicating with them.
“One day he was fine and then suddenly he was unable to speak,” she continued.
Her father was in a nursing home close enough to visit several times a week. Up until that day when silence took over, father and daughter would speak for hours about the “good ol’ days” growing up nearby.
He was a gentle man, with a deep love for family, plenty of friends and a unwavering faith in God.
“I couldn’t wait for summer to come. I would take Dad out for long walks, he in his wheel chair and my son close by his side,” she said as her voice weakened slightly.
She went on to tell me that one day they found him slumped over in bed. They rushed to the nearby hospital where he spent about a week in recovery.
“There was little they could do but wait to see what changes would occur. He had been in and out of a coma-like sleep and the end result was that Daddy stopped speaking,” she said.
Oddly we sat in silence for a few minutes as I let her scan through her own recollection of events.
“Then toward the end of the summer, around August, Dad said his first word,” she said smiling.
“That was it?” I asked.
“No matter what you said to him, the answer was the same…”fair.” As sad as it was, it became a joke after a while. We knew the only way we could get a straight answer out of him was to ask him how he was doing,” she laughed a little and said, “So, Dad How are you doing today? He would always reply, “Fair!”
I watched her as the thought of that silly game, made her wander off to a place that brought her joy. She laughed, smiled and then laughed some more.
“Daddy, even laughed one day after I asked him that,” she said.
They thought that this would be the way it would be in those final days with their father. No more long talks about yesterday’s memories. No more happy plans for tomorrow.
That is until one day in September.
“Dad was watching the television when suddenly he began yelling, “Fair! Fair!” Fair!” Repeatedly. I jumped from the chair and ran to his side. For the first time he seemed animated and real to me again. “Fair!” He said as he pointed to the television,” she said.
The corners of her mouth turned slightly upward struggling to smile but fighting the still pain filled thought of seeing him this way.
“I finally understood. He was watching a story about the Bloomsburg Fair. How stupid of me not to connect it. Daddy lived for that time of year since he was a child. The fair was the one thing he loved to attend. He wasn’t a sportsman, he didn’t have any great hobbies, but he loved attending that fair…everyday!” She said.
“Did he get there this year?” I asked with hesitation.
“Yes, he did. We were there opening day. He and his fan club,” she said.
“My family and his friends all arranged for him to arrive in style and everyone of us spent the entire day with him.”
Her smile almost looked painted on her face as she sat looking out the window.
“It was the last memory.”
I waited for her to continue.
“He was exhausted that night when we returned to the nursing home. They tell me he slept through the night. My last words to him was to tell him I loved him. I asked him if he loved me, too. I never realized he loved me that much,” she said as she began to cry.
“What did he say?”
Now struggling to get the words out she said, “I said how much do you love me, Daddy? He reached out his hands and held my face and said…”Fair!”
“That much, huh?” I replied as I reached for her hand.
Her Daddy died the next day.
Bob Perks [email protected]