Today I spoke to Brian and Marg Smith here at Parkridge, where Mum and Dad have their Nanaimo Condo, and they asked to pass on a message to Mike from Ray Lawrence. Ray lives in the complex as well, and he is now in his late eighties. Some years back he was a student in Mike’s English class at VIU. Though I haven’t met Ray, I recognized his name because Mike had mentioned several times to me that he’d had a “wonderful” older student who was a pleasure to have in the classroom. Mike said Ray was a pleasure to have in the classroom, always so attentive and, as well as having his own intelligent comments, was so interested in what other younger students had to say.
Ray’s message, upon learning of Mike’s situation, was “I love that man.” He acknowledged that it is not the fashion now for a heterosexual man to profess love for another heterosexual man, although in Shakespeare’s time it was different. “But, he said, “I do love that man.”
It is such a comfort to know that my father’s students (and friends and family) love him so dearly. And at this time, though my father’s decline continues at a shocking pace, I witness too the mighty and profound love between my parents. Mike was dozing off holding Carol’s hand, and I started click-clicking again on the electronic thingy. After a while, I looked up to see my father asleep in the hospital bed and my mother half asleep in the chair, still holding hands. A very awkward position for my mother, and I suggested we could head out since he was settled. “As long as he’s holding my hand, I’m not letting go,” she told me.
May we all have such fierce shepherds to keep watch over us.