My father, Jack Henderson, Sr., passed away early this morning at the age of 86.
In the course of a long, cruel illness, it seems like there would be time to prepare completely for the inevitable loss that comes at the end. After years of a gradual slipping away, the last day shouldn’t be so different from the days before it, but I find that’s not the case.
I sat with him last night, and read to him, and held his shoulder with my hand, and I’m almost certain he wasn’t conscious I was there. But it’s that shoulder that was here yesterday and gone forever today, that I was lifted up high onto, 45 years ago, so his boy could see the 4th of July parade. It was always there through the years when I needed its strength, and always waiting patiently, even through decades, when I thought I’d long since outgrown the need of it. I find now that I haven’t, but it isn’t here today.
Sorry if this seems out of place, here among all these other things that fill up my head as I work, but I’m not going to worry about that tonight. Jack Henderson was a great guy, a fine father, a loving husband and a trusted friend, and I wanted you to meet him in some small way, and know that he’d come and gone.