I just had one of the most vivid memories of my Dad. I was looking through some DVD’s – putting a few away. Of course, my videos are in alphabetical order because I’m anal that way. So, you really have to look at the titles as you put things back. And, right in front of me was The Count of Monte Cristo. That’s under “C”, I might add.
I like the movie. It was good. Not great. But, very good. It wasn’t one that would stand out as a classic, but it was worth watching. I’ve watched it a few times over the years and each time have enjoyed it. One of those, I can watch again kinda movies when I don’t want to think, but I do want to be entertained.
And, then the vision hit me…
At the end of his life, my Dad was always in the hospital or some sort of medical chair somewhere. He died slowly and it was rough. The positive side of him hanging on through all of that was that I went pretty often and took care of him. My parents lived in Las Vegas and my Mom worked full time while taking care of a very sick husband – I’ll add a political statement here that the only reason she worked was for full healthcare. And, it was impossible for her doing double duty.
So, one of those many, many times I spent one of those weeks hanging with him and seeing to his needs, we watched The Count of Monte Cristo. He was sitting in a hospital bed with me at his side. I have no idea what hospital and for what illness. It’s all a blur of that… But, he was in the hospital bed and I was hanging with him.
Now, I’m a talker, but he never was…
My Dad was a weird man. Don’t get me wrong. I loved him and he loved me. But, he was an oddball. He was a technical genius. Big companies hired him to solve things… He taught Mathematics and Science, worked in a Think Tank… I can honestly say, “A genius that couldn’t tell if he was wearing different colored socks”. He had little social skills. Just a good man who worked hard – for his family, his employers, … everyone. So, as a kid, he was hard to talk too. Not because he didn’t want to, but because he had trouble relating. His thought process was not on the level of a kid. I have to emphatically say, it wasn’t for a want of trying. He tried. Just couldn’t think that way.
So, it wasn’t until he was really sick and I was an adult that he could talk to me. His dying time was our time to chat. He wasn’t talkative, but I am. And, we talked. Week after week. Illness after illness… Driving to one doctor visit or another. It’s actually was what was best about the whole time.
This occasion was different though. We were sitting in another hospital and we had little to say. It was near the end of his life. This is my last good memory of him. It’s odd to think that way. But, it is my last really good memory.
I took out my laptop and asked him if he wanted to watch a movie. And, the movie was The Count of Monte Cristo… I remember a single instant. I had seen the movie, so I looked over to him and he had a huge smile on his face.
He died very soon after that. I’ve had trouble reconciling how I feel about the whole experience. I wasn’t sad when he died. I was a bit relieved and don’t want to feel guilty about that. After years of suffering, it was time. It wasn’t an easy end for him.
But, I just remembered that smile. Somehow that changes everything…!