NICK HENNEN: Now I See — Moments To Cherish

So, over the weekend, my brother, Chris, was visiting mom and set up a call for me. This seems to be the best way to reach her these days. I wish I could articulate just how much this change affects me, but I can’t seem to find the words.

A lot of tears lately. A lot of just missing her, craving that soft hand, warm voice, and loving smile.

After I picked up my new wheels Friday, I put the top down and pulled away the happiest man alive (again and again I seem to have these highlights lately) and I only managed to get a few miles away. Just before the freeway exit, I had to pull over.

Heaving sobs as I turned off the engine and shot out of the car to try to catch my breath, take in some fresh air and find out exactly what was happening.

Me and Dad.
Me and Dad.

As I slipped back into the soft bucket seat, I found Dad. That is, I could just feel his presence. He was with me, somehow, someway … and it made me quite literally trembly.

I could feel his energy, so unyielding, I could even smell him.

His sweat-stained Twins ballcap, worn with wear, sat in the seat next to me. ( I had been wearing it. ) I let my fingers slip across the fabric over and over.

This haunting force field was palpable and the strangest yet strongest mix of happy and sad I’ve ever experienced.

I had to hit the road in an attempt to avoid drive time (I didn’t), so I decided I would be OK. But for miles and miles, I cried and cried and cried, and I could swear at one point I felt his hand touch my shoulder.

It was the moment I was crossing the Bay bridge. The traffic was thick so we were all going slow. I happened to notice just how beautiful the sunlight looked as it streamed across the brilliant Pacific ocean, surrounding us on either side, the wind in my hair, the beautiful car body I was seated in. It all hit me like a ton of bricks just how damn lucky I was to be here. To be alive. To be enjoying a life he surely must be proud of.

Me and Mom.
Me and Mom.

I made it home and was hoping to talk to Mom. I had tried to call but didn’t get through.

So, the next day, when Chris asked if I wanted to talk her, I jumped at the opportunity.

It is utterly mind-blowing the way in which such lucidity can slip through the cracks, blooming like a fresh flower from a seed dropped onto what was thought to be barren land.

We sang, we prayed, we laughed and sometimes we just sat in silence. It was wonderful.

Toward the end, after we said goodbye, I just listened to the static making up the space in miles between us. I clung to it, actually — until the nurse came in and hung up her phone.

The connection stays after the line goes dead.

This I know.

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