Dad’s campfires

photo-6-e1421890809329IV dripping stillness filled the room whose half closed curtains shadowed a family silently sitting around a five thousand dollar hospital bed. Each chair filled with love, sadness and the reality that life is as brief as the intervals between the flashing of the blue neon lights on the bed. The tension in the room was thick as churned butter and most conversations were ending in tears. Only when a blanket slid off to the side of the bed did they come out of their grief to readjust it. After retaking their chairs the youngest son broke the silence,” It is almost like Dad is the campfire.” His two sisters looked up with swollen eyes and wiped away tears giving their brother a very how can you be so disrespectful look. “Seriously,” he fired back. “ It is like we are all sitting around one of the campfires back at the old house.” The Mother pulled from her thoughts turned to her son while furling up her brow and said, “So you think dad is a campfire?” “Yeah; remember us all sitting around the campfires he built? I can just hear him calling Jimmy to find the croquet set and to get everyone out of the house to play. By now he would have had the fire five feet high and you and the girls would be bringing out bowls of potato salad and hot dogs!” The oldest sister laughed saying, “Yeah, Dad really liked those campfires! The younger sister chimed in, “ I really miss them.” Without saying another word it was apparent to all that they never seemed as all one family as when sitting around one of Dad’s campfires. Beneath his respirator unaware of the room or the conversation, Dad stoked the campfire, one last time.