The Best Last Words

My 94 year old father's greatest gift to me was his last two words.  He hadn't spoken at all in weeks.  He lay still in his retirement home bed, seemingly unaware of his surroundings, sometimes groaning softly. With eyes closed day and night, he was hanging on- maybe too tightly, to life.  My kids and I stood at his bedside, saying our goodbyes during what we knew would probably be our last time to see him alive. I sat down beside him, held his thin, life-weathered hand, and said, "Daddy, the kids' school year starts tomorrow, so we have to go back home.  We love you."  

Lying in his bed, with no evidence of awareness of his surroundings and with eyes still closed, my dad- in the full, friendly voice he'd had when middle aged, said in a lilting tone, "Bye bye." Those were his last words, ever.  He passed away just a few days later.

Leon Nash, on his 94th birthday