It’s been six-and-a-half years since he passed away in the comfort of his own home, surrounded by his wife of over 50 years and three of his children. On hospice, we knew death was imminent and arrived in town with our five-month-old Aurora in tow, just days before.
It was the first time I’d seen him not awake or talking and thus, the first time he hadn’t said the words to me he’d always said right before we parted ways. With a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, as if he had a secret he’d been anxious to share with me, he’d call me over and whisper into my ear: “Take care of my boy.”
In the same way my father gave me away to Emmett on our wedding day, Emmett’s dad entrusted his son to me. For rich or for poor, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, until death parted us, as it did for him that May day.
So, before the nurses took him away for good, I held his hand, leaned over his face one last time and whispered, “Don’t worry, Bill. I’ll take care of your boy.”
I always will.