Tears of the Son

(flickr.com)
(flickr.com)

By: Wayne Brown

“Hoverin’ by my suitcase, tryin’ to find a warm place, to spend the night, A heavy rain’s a-fallin’, seems I hear your voice callin’, in the night, A Rainy Night In Georgia, A Rainy Night In Georgia, I believe it’s rainin’ all over the world…” played softly and appropriately as he drove the road wet from the passing rain storm that danced lighting and rattled its thunder off the near horizon. This was not a casual drive, no, far from it. It was a drive with a purpose. Off in the distance some hours and miles away, his dad lay ailing upon the sterile sheets of a hospital bed. Family members were gathered about the hospital room. The Angel of Death waited patiently just outside the door for the particular moment at which this soul would be claimed to eternity. He waited unseen and unheard but ever present.

The drive back home was a chore and a release all at the same time. He would be the last to arrive. The hours in the car gave him time to think and reflect back on the times of his life, the years spent with his dad. It all seemed so vague now and such a short time. Surely there had been days and days of living together, of doing things together as the years had gone by. But now, it all just seem to boil down to a few memories that flashed into his mind like pictures in a slide show. Instantaneous moments of life flashed on the screen of his mind. The miles rolled off, the rain fell in a slow drizzle, and the slide show played over and over as the radio issued its musical genre of choice in the background.

Over the years, there had been times when he had attempted to create this event in his mind, wondering how he would handle it; how he would react. It never played this way. When he had thought of it, he was convinced that any scenario that played out would render him unable to function due to the high level of emotion; the crying; the great sense of loss that would all but paralyze his movement. There was none of that now. His body, his emotion, seemed frozen in time, literally on hold while he carried out the act of transporting himself to that spot where his father was dying. This suspension in time never entered the thought process when he had tried to imagine his reaction to this loss.

The call was not an unexpected one. His sister had kept him in the loop with frequent calls about dad’s condition. But there had always been hope and faith. He had always held on to the hope that his father would pull through each rough spot and had faith that he could do so. Until now, his expectations had been fulfilled. Each time, just as things had reached a low point, his sister would call with the news that dad had improved; things were getting better. He had come to depend on his dad’s ability to do this and time after time, dad had not let him down. This time, it was different. All the other times, his sister had told him not to come; to stay put. She would tell him when to come. She would know. This time she had told him to come. This time was different.

Life with dad had never seemed particularly spectacular, at least not until now. There were so much time especially in those younger years when everyone was immortal. He never thought about dying, hell, he was bullet-proof and planned to live forever which was a new concept that only he had thought of as a young teenager. He applied the same thoughts to dad, mom, and his sister. They were all going to live forever. That was not a lie in those young years. He had actually believed it and thought it so. Dying was something they did in the movies.

In the adult years, there were those quiet moments sometimes when he was just sitting alone with his thoughts and nothing else around when the concept of death would enter his mind. At first he fought it. Then he let it in. He dwelled on it and reasoned about it still not yet applying it to those he loved but knowing that it was a truth of life. As the years had passed and maturity came with the age, his own mortality began to seep into the thought process. Each time he heard of someone that he knew of dying, he dwelled on his own death. It was then that he began to think in terms of the deaths of his father, mother, and older sister. He, as the youngest, could possibly have to endure the deaths of all of them, and then he must face his own death alone. It was a sobering thought and one that visited often enough.

Dad was a veteran. He had served in the army in World War II. He had been wounded in combat. He had left some of himself and his blood on that battlefield in France. He never really spoke of it seemingly wanting to put it in the past; not desiring to relive any of those moments in his life with anyone else. Perhaps that was the time in his life when he came to think on his own mortality. Only dad would know that. Dad had been a good provider and always worked to make sure his family had a good life. That did not seem so special at the time but now, at this moment, it seemed monumental. He had been a good dad even when no one seem to appreciate the fact, he had been a good dad.

So where were the tears? Where is the love? Where is the proof of emotion, of hurt, of the pain of loss? Where is it? He glanced into the rearview mirror at his face. There were no tears, maybe some guilt, but no tears. Did this mean that he did not really love his dad? In terms of outward emotion, it sure seemed that way at the moment. He was but a zombie at the moment totally focused on the task of driving to his destination. No level of thought or emotion could seem to bring forth what he expected from himself. He was not capable of shedding a tear for his father. He was incapable of crying for the man who had raised him up, given him direction, helped him to achieve an education, and guided him even into his adult life. He was incapable of shedding a tear.

The lights of the city came into view as he neared the destination. Emotions were mixed. On the one hand, he was glad that he was going to be here. On the other, he dreaded going into that hospital room to face the moment of truth. He was not sure that he had the strength to do so. The hospital came into view and he turned into the parking garage and founded a place for the car. As he turned off the engine and sat momentarily in the silence and darkness of the garage thinking of his dad, tears welled-up in his eyes and rolled down his cheeks. Then a flood of tears came and he sobbed out loud in his grief. He cried for his father, his suffering, his death, and for the hole that it would leave in his life and the life of his family. He cried without shame and with the relief to feel the love for his father roll down on his cheeks. He knew now that he could go to his father’s side and help him see this through as his father would expect him to do.

© Copyright WBrown2010. All Rights Reserved.

 

More by this Author


Comments 22 comments

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

This is a beautiful and moving piece about something I lived through at the age of 18. The sight of my dad, who I adored, fighting for his life is burned into my memory forever .All these years later, there are times when I think I see him in a crowd. If only I could.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

I am sure you do miss him, BP. I drew from some of my own emotions in the loss of my own father. I had him for a lot of years but it never seemsto be enough. Thanks for the read!


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

And how many times did our dads cry though we never knew? I wonder about my dad, he wasn't one to talk about himself, and I wish I knew more about his feelings.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

WOW! You really hit on it all, there. My own dad passed in 1976; my mom in 1998. After all these years, the wounds to my heart and soul are still there; still gaping holes that will never be filled....


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

This is another beautifully written and emotionally captivating story. Overwhelming feelings of love or sadness could freeze the mind and body until the moment of the liberating tears. Showing your adult vulnerability as opposed to the “bullet-proof” teenage thinking was moving and powerful.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

Having experience much of those emotions and thought myself it was both easy and difficult to write. Hearing your comments certainly made the endurment worthwhile. Thanks, Petra. WB


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you, DML, I think those of us who have lost one parent or both can identify with some of these emotions in one way or another. It was a bit of a release of my own. Thank you for your encouragement. WB


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

There comes a time when we as men are confronted with the loss of a loved one, in this case your Dad. We sum up in our mind, as we go that last mile to be beside our dying father. All the things he meant to us as a daddy, we try to be strong but we finally realize it doesn't matter, we are losing our dad, a man who we tried to measure up against through out our life, a man we respected, a man we wanted to emulate and become or possibly a man we detested. I am happy to read about a man you respected, loved and emulated in character. You shed those tears of loss and were able to. You made it to his bedside to say farewell and hopefully held his hand as he feebly breathed his last, you said your goodbye and felt comfortable that he now was in the hands of his Savior and you left for the long ride home with a heavy heart, but with a peace that only you can understand. I will write one day of my dad, but unfortunately for my dad I was not able to shed a tear, I was not able to bring a tear to my eye and my heart was not gripped with sadness, but rather my heart felt hardened with to many unanswered questions I needed him to share, but he didn't. Thank you for opening your heart here Wayne, I know it's tough, but you showed your vulnerability as a man should and I truly commend you sir. Thanks for the share, this did bring a tear to my eyes, as it should. Peace


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you for the kind words, Ken. They were right on target. There is a song by Guy Clark that I think you would find some solace in. You can find several versions on YouTube. It's called "Randall Knife". He speaks of his father and the time for shedding tears in it. Check it out!


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Wayne thank you for directing me to this very poignant ballad by Guy Clark, I have never followed the man, because I did not know of him till now, but I will listen to him again. I to did not take any of my father's things offered to me like his watch or ring after he passed. I felt no assimilation to them at all nor did I care. All I wanted was for him to have told me he was sorry for leaving me at 10 yrs old and going to prison for 20 yrs. He left me to struggle as a teen, when I needed a father so much at that tender age. thank you again for sharing Guy's song, it did bring a tear to my eye.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Your last paragraph took me back to the death of my father when I was 8 years old. How beautifully you've put this grieving thought process, Wayne. Although I did not know my father well, I've had many years to imagine a full and wonderful relationship.

Lovely.


rose56 profile image

rose56 6 years ago

It also took me back to my dad when he pass. thanks for the hub i really enjoyed it.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

Great hub and so heartfelt and yes it took me back to the time that my father passed away as well. I miss him. Cheers.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks LadyJane...I drew on my father's death for some of the emotion in this one. One thing I learned from his death was that the time to cry will always come but it will come at the right time for each person. Thanks for the read! WB


AEvans profile image

AEvans 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

What a touching story it made me cry as I think about my mom and what she is going through right now. I cried today because I know that the time will come and God will bring her home. But I also know that it is not now, God told me it is not time I pray that mom is here until next year, but right now it is all up to her. My heart says this was about you and the love you truly have and had for your father he would be proud if he could read what you have written, it was so touching but I could not expect any less of you. :)


valeriebelew profile image

valeriebelew 6 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

HI Wayne, I was looking for your country music sites and found this one instead. It hit close to home, as I lost my Dad a few years back and was with him, along with my brother, when he passed. He was on my mind today, and I was singing a song he used to sing. Great hub, about a subject close to my own heart. (:v


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

Hi, Valerie...been out of town. Yes, I wrote this one on the memory of losing my dad. I also wrote a couple of other hubs about him: "Purple Heart" and "The Smarter One". Glad you like this one...it's a tender side for me. WB


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

This brought back the memories of when my dad died and then nine years later, my mom finally joined him. She missed him terribly. I miss them both. Very touching.


ThomasBaker profile image

ThomasBaker 4 years ago from Florida

A thoughtful and caring Hub.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas Author

@Becky Katz...I lost my dad in the fall of 2007. This was my inspiration as it follows in many ways my journey back home to see it through...I was the last to arrive as well living eight hours away. This was a bit of a release for me from those moments. WB

@ThomasBaker...It mirrors the loss of my own father closely. Thanks, Tom. WB


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 4 years ago

WB - This is a beautiful hub. So glad I followed others here. So interesting about the tears -- and when we are ready to give them up. Wish there was a rule book about what you do and when . . . but we all have to live and experience it for ourselves. Thanks for sharing.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas Author

@Truckstop Sally...I am surprised that you would have not found this one already. There is movement on to share my stuff so it is bringing alot of my older stuff to the forefront. Becky Katz has been terrific in doing that. We all share this experience at one time or other. Thanks much, Amy! WB

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working