Doug Bruns


In Death, Family, Memoir on April 16, 2010 at 9:41 pm

We were having friends over for dinner this evening. I am the cook and was getting dinner prepped. The doorbell rang. Mary, a neighbor, upset, motioned behind her. “Your dad fell.” She pointed. My father was leaning, slumped,  against the wall in the courtyard, covered in blood. It is now six hours later. He has a broken nose and lacerations, but is fine–other than looking like he just fought George Foreman (pre-grill days).

My father turned eighty-eight two weeks ago. He has not seen a doctor in fifteen years. And that time, fifteen years ago, was the first since induction into the service (WWII). He was a curiosity at the hospital tonight. “Mr. Bruns, you take no medicines, have no general practitioner and haven’t seen a doctor in a very long time.” He smiled, despite the blood stains, in confirmation. When they left the room, he asked me “How’d I do?” Great Dad, you did great.

Two years ago I was in New York when my phone rang first thing in the morning. It was my father. “I’m so glad I got you,” he said. “I have terrible news. Your mother died last night.” It was out of the blue. She was gone, just, like that. I told him I’d be home in about three hours, that Carole and Jeff would come to him and then asked how he was. This is what he told me: “Last night your mother and I didn’t even turn on the t.v. We just sat and talked, maybe three hours. Then we kissed good night and went to bed. She didn’t wake up.” The story of my mother and my father’s last night together gave me comfort in a way that I cannot convey. “Dad, I said. We all will close the chapter of our life some day and what better way than to sit and talk with the one person you love most and then kiss them goodbye.” He said he understood this and that it gave him great comfort. It was a truth for him. He knew they had parted in the best way possible.

Tonight I thought of this even as I watched him resting in the hospital bed. He has me, but his life partner has gone before him and he does not have her. He must be lonely and even afraid, I think–this man who made it through the Battle of the Bulge. He is here, in the bed before me, bloodied, and old and counting on something I cannot image to get him through. He is my father. I am his son.

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: