The nurse escorted a tired, anxious young men to the bedside of an
elderly man. "Your son is here," she whispered to the patient. She
had to repeat the words several times before the patient's eyes
opened. He was heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart
attack and he dimly saw the young man standing outside the oxygen tent.
He reached out his hand and the man tightly wrapped his fingers around
it, squeezing in a message of encouragement. The nurse brought a chair
next to the bedside. All through the night the young man sat holding
the old man's hand and offering gentle words of hope. The dying man
said nothing as he held tightly to his son.
As dawn approached, the patient died. The young man placed on the bed
the lifeless hand he had been holding, then he went to notify the nurse.
While the nurse did what was necessary, the young men waited. When she
had finished her task, the nurse began to offer words of sympathy to
the young man. But he interrupted her.
"Who was that man?" He asked.
The startled nurse replied, "I thought he was your father."
"No, he was not my father," he answered. "I never saw him before in my life."
"Then why didn't you say something when I took you to him?" Asked the nurse.
He replied, "I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn't
here. When I realized he was too sick to tell whether or not I was
his son, I knew how much he needed me."