While spending a few nights in Burlington, Vermont, this month, I picked up the local paper and found a touching "goodbye" story of sorts on the front page. Author Chris Bohjalian is a columnist for the Burlington Free Press; today he was remembering his dad, Aram "Bo" Bohjalian, who had just died, at 83, after a blood vessel burst in his brain. My dad went the same way, though he was about half of Bo's age.
In his piece, Chris recalls his father's last day and the time they spent together doing seemingly mundane things, like shoe shopping and dining out. Although frail and slow, the elder Bohjalian knew just what to say. When Chris jokingly asked, "Proud of me?" for not getting lost en route to the restaurant, his dad replied, "Son, I am always proud of you. Always."
What better gift can a parent give a child -- whether a toddler or grown-up -- than to express his love and pride with a few simple words? Although Chris didn't get to say "goodbye" directly to his father, his sense of loss surely has been softened by their last hours together -- what Chris calls "a weirdly perfect day."
You may read the column here.