He lay in that hospital bed
all alone, occasionally turning
toward the window.
Was he looking
for some light?
As day's ending
approached, we were
of the finality of darkness
that was moving in closer
with each passing moment.
Did he sense his family's connected hands
encircling his increasingly weakened body?
Did he overhear the 'memory conversations'
that his children spilled from breaking hearts?
"Oh, Daddy, remember when--?"
Did he notice the tears and laughter intermixed
with retellings of each child's story?
Did he hear the faint singing--
a wife's whispered alto,
two sons' somber tones,
five daughters' frail voices?
Was he aware of our angelic harmonies
of his favorite hymns?
He heard no nurse,
"Mr. Tanner, what do you need this morning?"
There was no doctor's updated report,
"Today we have found--"
He was lying there
staring out the window,
looking for some light.
There was no fight
as his Maker quietly whispered,
"My child, come, the battle is over.
Come on home."
Within the family circle,
the fleeting moments were boldly embraced.
Like small children, we gathered around our father.
For an extended time, we continued to hold hands
and look at each other, adjusting to what was real.
It felt like one of those special, spirit-filled occasions
when Daddy would lead our family's prayer time.
But on this day, someone else was leading.
It was Daddy's time to follow, not lead.
We embraced unforgettable moments
with magnetic looks, hugs, and tears
as we had to let him go.
I wanted to touch him one more time.
I stood there all alone by that hospital bed,
and placed his cooling right hand on the cold sheet.
I stared out the window at 10:35 PM
looking for some light
and recalled a memory light--
his gentle whisper of yesterday,
"It'll be all right."