Saying Goodbye

Amos clears his throat and tries to eulogize his father.  If it had been up to him, someone else would be standing in front of the hundreds who had shown up for the funeral. But it wasn’t up to him. As the eldest boy in the family it was his responsibility. God knows his mother couldn’t have been able to do it. She was too grief stricken. The challenge had been finding the right words to say.  Even as he read from the piece of paper in front of him, he felt like he was still not using the correct words.  His father had been so much more than the things he was reading.

He tries to conjure up an image of his father and all he can come up with was a man whose face was lined with worry.  Amos is convinced worry killed his father.  It’s hard for him to remember a time when his father wasn’t worried. It also seemed to Amos that worry had aged his father overnight, before it killed him. It’s as if he blinked and when he opened his eyes, his once strong, dark haired father, who had laughing eyes had changed. His hair had tuned white and his arms, which had been powerful, were now thin and didn’t seem to carry any strength in them. He saw worry every time he looked in his father’s eyes.

He had worried about his children not being able to go to school, worried about the land not yielding enough crops and whether his drunken big brother would ever get his act together. It seemed like he never ran out of things to worry about.

The evening before he left for college, Amos had seen his father walking the grounds and he had noticed that his walk had changed too. He had walked hunched over like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders with his thin arms crossed behind his back.

He felt a surge of resentment rise up his chest. He resented all these people who had come out for his funeral yet had not been there when his father had needed them. “Where were you when he needed help carrying his burdens?” He thought. Deep down however he knew his father would never have asked for help.

His mother had told him that his father had died in his sleep. That he had closed his eyes on the fateful night and simply hadn’t woken up. There was comfort in that for him and his family. Amos had received a call early in the morning, “You need to come home.” And he had just known that his father had died.

He clears his throat again and continues, “He never said he loved us. In fact any show of emotion made him very uncomfortable. But he worried over us all the time. He worried even about the smallest things. As long as it concerned his family, he worried. He worried so none of us ever had to worry. Worrying was his way of showing and saying he loved us.”

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