Senior Moments: Saying Goodbye With Flowers


“You are so beautiful; you look like a bouquet of flowers,” Sara’s dad said when she walked into his hospital room. It had been a long time since me, my daughter and her dad, my first husband, had been together.

Soon family stories were flying.

“Do you know that I may be the first father ever to leave the hospital in a wheelchair with his new baby girl in his arms – and no mother in sight?” Sara’s dad asked.

“Where was Mom?” Sara asked, looking slightly askance at me.

I admitted that her claustrophobic mother, the one who had tried and failed at hypnotherapy while she was pregnant, in hope of riding the elevator up to the labor room, had walked down the stairs accompanied by an attendant.

Sara’s dad added that he had all the other women in the elevator laughing when he told them what an easy birth he had. Although seriously ill, he was still able to make us laugh.

“My turn for a story,” I announced.

The maternity ward of the hospital was on the fifth floor and I knew the elevator was not going to be an option for me. So I waited at the bottom of the stairs until a contraction passed. Then, knowing I had approximately a minute and 30 seconds until the next one, I raced up the five flights of stairs where my obstetrician was waiting for me.

“Didn’t you bring your husband?” he asked. I pointed down the stairs to a man huffing and puffing, holding a suitcase in one hand and a shopping bag in the other.

Although that happened a few decades ago, daddy Dennis never forgot the scary stairs episode.

When I called him before the visit to ask what hospital he was in, he responded: “You’re going to love this place; it’s all on one floor!”

When it was time to say goodbye he hugged his “beautiful bouquet of flowers” and made her laugh. This time with tears.

Ed. note: Sara’s dad, Dennis A. Fletcher, died peacefully on March 21, 2023

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