As I Lay Dying

PPB asked about “Old Man’s Hand.” This was for Bill, who I wrote about recently.

On Friday I went to see #1 Son in his play at college, a wonderful adaptation of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. The Wesleyan Senior who wrote and directed it had some powerful ideas. My boy played the youngest son, Vardaman; it’s hard to watch your son playing a little boy grieving for his mother! In my hurry to get on the road, I decided to postpone some hospital calls to Saturday afternoon.

Soon after getting home, I went up to the hospital to see Bill and happened to arrive just as the family was having a meeting with the doctor. After hearing about his diagnosis and prognosis, they decided to remove the ventilator that has been aiding his breathing for the past five days and “let nature take its course,” as the doctor put it.

Bess said her goodbye, and her sons took her home. No one in the family felt they could stay.

After getting my little family squared away, I went back to be with him when the vent was removed and stayed for a couple of hours, sitting beside the bed and holding his hand. There was some chance that the end would come quickly, but when that didn’t seem to be the case, I came home around 8:30.

The nurse called, as I had asked, when he died just after 11:30 p.m.

Bless you, Bill. I hope there are Jumbles to do in heaven.