Write it Down

It was September 23rd, and I entered the room of the frail German man…

He was declining quickly, not eating or drinking, this man who only weeks before was caring for his wife with Alzheimer’s, and who, now, would not allow himself any care in return.

I ask him if there is anything I can do for him…

“No. No!”

Then he asks: “What day is it?” and I tell him it’s September 23rd. He says: “Can you write it down for me? It is my father’s death date. It’s very important.”

His father was taken during the German occupation and brutally murdered. His body wasn’t found for two years, and then, in a ditch, so no one ever knew his true date of death.

In the field, this is what we call a “sign,” when the threshold between here and there is thin, and the dead speak to the living.

I said: “Oh! What was his name?”

A beautiful smile appears, and in that strong, German accent, with emphasis, he says: “Otto!”

I say: “Oh, my fiancé’s father was German also, and he has passed on as well.”

“Wvhat vus his name?”

Trying to imitate his strong German accent, with emphasis, I say: “Osmar!”

“Write it down!”

“You want me to write down Osmar’s name?”

“Yes! Write it down.”

I write “Osmar” under “September 23.”

“Whven I see him, I tell him, you guhd girl!”

Today he will be so happy to see Otto!

And I am one hundred percent certain he will put in a good word for me to Osmar.

Some goodbyes are tougher than others.

When I share the date with his family after he has crossed over the rainbow, they tell me the story of Otto, and how they have never known the date of his passing. They tell me this is very important information and they mark it on the gentleman’s calendar.

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