My friend Brad Willis lost his grandfather a few days ago, which prompted me to write this…
I’ve got a cousin who’s old and in failing health. If you know me, then you probably know of this cousin – I talk about him a lot. If you don’t know me, well, my cousin would probably just as soon that I didn’t share his name and details.
You see, he so dislikes the state that he’s in that he doesn’t want anybody to come visit him. He doesn’t want to see anybody except immediate family. Friends of a half century or more are turned away, as are many family members. His wife explains what she can, and apologizes profusely, but the message is clear: don’t come over.
This is one of those magic pictures that I look at from different sides and I see completely a completely different scene.
Speaking as one of the family members being turned away, it’s breaking my heart. I owe this man a great deal, and I’d like to see him before he dies, just to tell him I love him and thank him for his time and generosity. I’m sure many of my kin feel the same.
But if I put myself into his green recliner, do I not have the right to decide who I see as I slip away into the night? What if he wants to be remembered as the hale and tack-sharp professional who worked daily well into his 70′s? Would my visit be for him, or for me?
When I look at the picture that way, my heartbreak is easily trumped by his right to privacy. So I tell his wife that I think of them often and send good thoughts their way all the time.
That will simply have to do.