His face was soft, yet rough with whiskers. Up close, his blue eyes stared at me or through me, I couldn’t tell, but here I was, with the electric razor humming softly.
What a mundane thing. My husband hates to do it. I think most men do. But shaving a face is an intensely personal thing. I realized this today when the opportunity came up to aid my dad in doing those things that he can no longer do for himself. He is in the last days of cancer. He is skin and bones. He is weak. And… He needed a shave. He could not lift his arms on his own but barely, and he wanted his face shaved. I know this because when my mom asked if it was time to shave off that scruffiness, he put his hand to his chin and jaw, rubbed it, and shook his head. That was when my mom decided he needed a shave anyway, and brushing of his teeth to boot, to make him feel better.
I didn’t know how these two things would be managed, but my mom always makes the unlikely… Possible. So she came back from the kitchen with all the essentials for teeth brushing, and by George, he held his toothbrush for a minute! I know it made him feel cleaner. Then it was time to shave, but the effort of brushing his teeth had worn him out. So mom started shaving him with the electric shaver. She wasn’t able to do it long, as she was missing spots and almost giving up. Odd that. So I asked if I could finish up. She said I could. I was nervous because I never have shaved anyone before.
so there I was, concentrating on his face and hoping fervently that I wouldn’t nick him. I had never noticed the look of patience that came over him until I had finished his chin. Then I looked, really looked, and saw that he had faith that I wouldn’t hurt him. I saw gratitude and patience on his face, and I realized also that I had tears streaming down my face. I love this man so much.
I finished up, but I couldn’t stop looking at his face. He smiled and so did I. And then the moment was over. But it had been enough. I will remember that experience for a lifetime.
He is almost gone, now, and cannot respond to us. He is on his journey to the next adventure. He struggles to breath, and I know it will be soon. But I know and remember how great he is, and I have a lot of memories with him, but will remember the rare ones of his time just with me. He has influenced my life and shaped it, and I thank him for this last gift.
i love you dad. Thank you.