The expression on his face didn’t convey much. I knew he was tired of talking and more exhausted from living. My father, limp from the chemotherapy and radiation, laid on his hospital bed in the middle of my childhood room. At this point, his oncologist wanted to put a period on what he could do. In a quiet voice, he told us that measures needed to be taken to make his remaining days comfortable. As he said this, I wondered how we could give him comfort. His remaining lung provided a refuge for the cancer. The silver oxygen tank and the cannula were his only salve. The whoosh-whoosh sound provided a greeting to all that entered.
In the final weeks, my father spoke very little. The words were labored and scattered. It was sharp contrast from the way he lived before his life was interrupted by cancer. He loved to talk. Sometimes too much. Our household joked that he was the “professor” because at any givien opportunity he would burst out in a lecture. He enjoyed sharing his opinions about politics, economy and current events. Even if they were sometimes crazy. Like most of us, he wanted to be heard.
His friend of forty two years offered solace to him. On one Monday afternoon, I witnessed these two friends sitting together. He sat with him and held his hand. They had both immigrated to the United States with very little in their pocket leaving their respective wives behind in India. They shared an apartment together and secured jobs at local restaurant for a paycheck. After that initial job, both of them experienced some of the same joys and sadnesses. Birth of children. Change in jobs. Watching their children walk, grow, and graduate. Witnessing marriage of their children. And then experiencing their children have children. They both lost their parents and siblings. And now one was departing to a new plane, while the other just watched.
As they sat together,he held his hand. My father’s eyes opened up. He smiled.
No words were uttered between these two long-time friends.
The silence was enough.
This piece is part of Momalom’s Five for Five Series. This is my response to the prompt words.
Now you have me crying. How very special, true friendship. xoxo
Always nice to see your words in my space. xoxo
This is beautiful, Rudri. Often the silence between people IS the mark of friendship. How wonderful for both of them to have had such a cherished friendship.
I agree. I don’t think this kind of friendship is common. It speaks of hardships, good times, and acceptance. And in my opinion a rarity these days. Thanks so much, always, for your loyalty and generous spirit in my space.
Sometimes, the silence is indeed enough. And those moments are precious, precious, precious. This can’t have been easy to write. Hugs, friend.
Thanks Stacia. It wasn’t easy to write. The images are engraved in my mind. But I wanted to convey what I’ve learned about friendship through their interaction. Will gladly accept your virtual hug.
A beautiful tribute to your father and that last line got me. When we really know people and our hearts entwine, words aren’t needed are they? You told this so well in so few words. Nice to meet you through Just Write.
Thanks so much for your generous compliment. I appreciate it. The silence between two friends, I believe, is so very palpable.
Sometimes a touch is the best salve. Beautiful. And sad.
Rudri, this is a beautiful post on words, and how even when there are no words, what meaning there can be in silence.
Thanks so much for visiting. I agree. Sometimes the absence of words makes the most powerful statement.
This must have been very hard for you to write. I know it would’ve been for me. I am teary just reading it. So nice to meet you through Just Write and Five for Five!
Much of my writing on my father is difficult to write, but necessary for me to expunge my grief. Thanks so much for your generous compliment. Nice to meet you too.
a sad but beautiful post. i love that their friendship had moved beyond words. it shows a depth that can come only through time and love.
It is a deep friendship. As I witnessed it, sometimes I didn’t understand. But when my father smiled, I sensed a clarity that I don’t believe he knew was coming. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.
Would that I have friends like that when I come to the end of my life.
Rudri, a beautiful capture of a special moment between two friends. Sometimes a look is all we need . Your father would love this. xo.
Thanks Ayala. Always appreciate your words of encouragement.
I think you commented last night on my blog. I tried to click on your name and find your blog but it didn’t work – it just went to an info page but had no links to your site. I was tired and thought I would try harder today to find you.
I just finished the 5 for 5 and doing the links with that and Just Write, taking more time than I alloted or had really. But I wanted to read at least one of the links for words, and I saw the title – Silence – and clicked on it because I had a similar title, or so I thought. Funny that the first and only link I clicked was to your page…….
This is a beautiful piece of work. I love how in such a short piece, I feel like I know your father……
I am so glad you decided to click on my link. It’s funny how we intersect, isn’t it?
I am grateful the words that I wrote resonated with you. Thanks for reading and your generous compliment.
The stories about your Dad always make me weepy…and happy that you had such a wonderful man as your father.
For some reason your response led me to my own tears. Always a pleasure to see your comment in my space.
This is beautiful. I think touch is the most powerful sense and you conveyed that perfectly.
Welcome. And thank you for your words. I am glad that my post stirred such a response.
This is very beautiful Rudri, and so bittersweet. I envy you, that you had the opportunity to spend time with your dad before he passed, and share words or silence, and some means to say goodbye.
Your words remind us that for some bonds, including profound friendship, no words are required at all.
Thanks Wolf. Witnessing this between my father and his friend, has taught me lessons on my friendships. What it means to be friend? How friendships can be thrown into conflicts and still perservere? And how certain bonds are too strong even for words.
As always, Wolf, eloquent insights from you. Honor to have you in my space.
This is so beautiful. Reminds me of one of my daughter’s favorite books – The Quiet Book. The book talks about all different kinds of quiet. One of them is “Best friends don’t need to talk quiet.”
A powerful reminder that words, though mean a lot, are not everything.
I used to always tell my best friend to save her stories for our dinners/drinks out because I was afraid we’d run out of things to say. We laugh about it now, because we have never once run out of things to say in 18 years. Yet I love this idea that, at the end of our journey, we won’t need the words. The friendship and the years between them speak for themselves. Gorgeous, my friend.
This piece is so beautiful, Rudri. (I wish I had something more profound to say, but your words have left me without.)
Words are not all that are important, are they…
This made me cry…
Deep, meaningful friendships don’t need words.
May we all have the strength, endurance, and humility to maintain a friendship as long as your father and his friend. And what a gift that they had those moments together to just sit and remember.
What a gift that friendship was. To be able to exchange last words in silence. To hold on to a friendship for 42 years. May we all be that lucky. And Rudri, when you write about your father it is so very poignant. And brave.
There’s nothing like a friendship so close that it renders words unnecessary.
Lifetime friends. What a beautiful tribute to their relationship, amidst the profound sadness you all were feeling. Thank you for sharing.
That is powerful. Moving. Beautiful. Amazing.
What a great testament to your father (and you, as his daughter.)
Powerful stuff, very moving. sometimes words aren’t needed at all.
Friendship is such a treasure, one that increases with age. Such a poignant crossing. I know you miss your dad terribly, but I suppose we all make the crossing eventually—we can only hope to have such love and friendship to ease the way.
I am catching up on your posts right now and just when I think they can’t get any more powerful…
It’s quite something to have someone on such a life journey with you. I am glad your father had such a friend, as well as family. So much love in your family. What a beautiful piece, Rudri.