Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Farewell, dear Bill


It's ironic that I just posted "The Diner" a few days ago because last night I had a dream about a wonderful soul that means a lot to that place. In my dream I saw him sitting at a table in the diner and he was struggling to get out of his chair to leave. I saw his hands, shaking like leaves as they gripped the chair for support. I saw his face, wrinkled with wisdom and I felt a sadness and pity in my heart. He got up from the table & said good bye as he walked towards the door. That was all I remembered when I woke up this morning.

On my way to class, while sipping an overpriced starbucks, I received a call from my father. With difficulty in his voice, my father advised me that Bill had passed away yesterday. I could hear him choking back tears. Bill was a very good friend of his. My dad continued to tell me that Bill's family (ailing wife, and aging children) all came in this morning to the diner to have breakfast together in honor of Bill. They normally do not go to the diner but they knew what it and the people in it meant to him, so they decided to celebrate the end of his suffering and the beginning of his new life beyond. My father, having been a close friend, was asked to be a pallbearer and accepted with tears blurring his eyes.

I cried...A lot. You see, Bill was one of those special men with a certain glowing light in his eyes. He sat next to my dad, in the same corner of the diner, day after day, for probably close to forty years, telling jokes, telling war-stories, and sharing memories. He was a retired elementary school teacher and principal and cared passionately about the children's lives he inspired. "My children," he called them all.

I can still remember coming into the diner with my dad on Saturday mornings locked & loaded with coloring book and crayons in hand. I can still feel his firm & loving hand patting me gently on my headful of pigtails. He would always lean over and critique my coloring & tell me what a good job I did even when I didn't stay in the lines.

I knew that Bill had been ailing recently, and it saddened me to see such a wonderful person suffering. He was a great friend of my fathers and a man that truly gave all he had for the ideals in which he believed. He is a man that will, forever, remain in my heart & in the hearts of many.

So, as I pulled into the parking lot this morning, I wiped the tears from my cheeks and smiling, said my farewells to Bill, thanking him for coming to visit me one last time in my dreams last night.

Farewell, dear Bill. May you rest in beautiful peace.

P.S. I still color outside of the lines, Bill.

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