“Dad,” I said earnestly, “I traveled so much here. You didn’t get to see me all the time anyway. Washington is just another town. I will come and see you often. I’ll always be there for you.”
It didn’t work out that way. Six months into my new job and new city, a minor surgical procedure went wrong for my father and he died two days later. I was traveling and my brothers couldn’t even get in touch with me. I saw their cable when I returned to Washington, when he had already been buried.
I talked to my brothers when I visited India a year later. They had stood next to my father’s bed as he lay dying, and they saw his eyes scanning the room. Knowing he was looking for the missing son, they said apologetically, “He lives very far away, as you know. He couldn’t come.” My father, always the kind, thoughtful person, said, “I understand.”
I never saw my father again. His last words, indeed prophetic, rang in my ears for years, “I don’t know if I will see you again.”