(I posted this one earlier but for some reason it disappeared. Here it is again.)
About 30 minutes before midnight, my nephew peaks his head into his dad's room. He wants to say goodnight to his 'dad-o' but my brother is already sawing logs. His mom tries to coax him in but he starts to back out. Now at this moment, I could as a writer ascribe all sorts of emotions and thoughts to my nephew. Some may be accurate, some not. The only tools with which I have at my disposal are my imagination and my intuition, not an absolute record of hard facts. So instead of me writing what I think, ask yourself, what would you feel if you were a 14-year old boy wanting to be close to your ailing dad? The conflicting emotions of wanting to be close but the apprehension of how to do it. Is your dad in pain? Would his heart be lifted at seeing your concern? Would it hurt to touch him? Would he be angry if you were to wake him up? Use your imagination.
As my nephew starts to shift away, I call his name using my deep quarterback voice. He stops and comes back and I look him in the eye. "How do you want to say goodnight to your dad?"
He shrugs his shoulders sheepishly. His Grammy (my mom) demonstrates by gently touching her son's foot.
"Go in and grab your dad's hand." He does and the moment he touches his dad, time stops. All those questions I raised before exist simultaneously within the space of the smallish room.......My brother opens his eyes, recognizes his firstborn and only son, and gives him their special handshake. My nephew then leans in for a hug and my brother receives him openly with a gentle but impassioned embrace.