My father passed away in his sleep in the early hours of the morning.
My parents had a long-running joke about becoming two old folks with nothing better to do then sit in their recliners every night watching Jeopardy. Each time we visited my mom in the hospital, my dad would say, "You keep getting better like this and you'll be back in your chair in no time," and my mom would respond, "Just make sure that you're in your chair when I get back, my love."
Once my dad and I arrived home from the hospital on Wednesday, it was obvious that he had once again summoned every bit of strength left in his body to convince the doctors to release him before it was really wise to do so. (He'd done this before.) His breathing was labored, standing was difficult, and walking next to impossible. But he would not be denied.
And so it was that, when my mom returned home from her hospital on Thursday, there was my father, sitting in his chair as promised, awaiting her return.
"I'm home, my love."
"I missed you. I saved you a chair. Here, sit in your chair and enjoy the fire. I'm glad you're home."
"So am I, my love. So am I."
"For you, too, my love."
Their 56th anniversary is next week. Their loved affair lasted over 58 years.