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Remembering Dad: One Last Conversation Before COVID Took Him

This will be Lucie Frost's first Father's Day without her dad, who died in January, one of 600,000 taken by COVID. Here are the words that stay with her.

“Hey Daddy, congratulations on getting sprung from the hospital,” I said.

“On getting a sponge?” Dad asked.

“No sprung. I’m glad you got sprung,” I said.

“You are glad I got a sponge,” Dad said.

“That you got out of the hospital, Daddy. I’m glad you got out,” I said.

Dad had driven his motorized wheelchair off of the ramp, as he headed out to close the garage door. The chair tumped over on him (tump meaning “to tip over accidentally” in Texan), breaking Dad’s hip.

Dad was taken to the hospital, then a few days later got “sponged” to the rehabilitation facility–except that was an earlier sponging a few weeks back. This was his second sponging, after another hospital stay, this time for COVID-19.

Dad caught COVID while in the rehab facility for the hip. And his heart, which was already wonky and kept steady with a Pacemaker and an internal defibrillator, didn’t appreciate the virus’s intrusion. His heart rebelled, but the doctors and nurses ultimately made it behave. After a few weeks, Dad was sent back to the rehab facility.

“I got out of the hospital?” Dad asked.

“Yes, Daddy. They moved you from the Methodist over to a rehab facility,” I said.

“That’s not the Methodist you’re thinking of, Lucie,” Dad explained. He got professorial. “Though the Methodist does have an extensive rehab network. It’s the second largest business in all of Texas.”

“It is?” I asked. I had no idea.

“You’re thinking of the IRS.”

“The IRS?”

“Yes, the Internal Revenue Service.”

“Oh yes, the Internal Revenue Service,” I said.

Read More: When an Elderly Parent Refuses Medical Treatment: A Dad’s Enduring Example

The Stress and Sadness of COVID

There was no use trying to sort this out. Dad’s brain was addled from the stress of the COVID, the medications, and 80 years of living.

“Well, I’m glad you’re there anyway,” I said. “How are you feeling, Dad?”

“I’m just glad they brought me my camera,” Dad said.

“Oh good,” I said, knowing that surely the camera was a gift that his brain, and not any family member, had brought to him. But I went with it. “Are you taking a lot of pictures at the hospital?”

“No, I don’t expect that I am,” Dad said.

That was the last conversation that I had with Daddy. The next day, Dad’s heart decided it was done cooperating. And then Dad’s heart stormed out of the room.

Dad’s been sprung, for good this time. I didn’t get to see Dad before he died. None of us did. It’s hard to think about his being alone then. I hope Daddy’s “camera” kissed him goodbye for me.

Read More: Are You the Custodial Child? The Emotional Fallout of Being Your Parent’s Caretaker


Lucie Frost is a humor and satire writer, living in Central Texas.She recently retired from a lifetime as a human resources/employment lawyer. Since her retirement, Lucie has been busy writing for humor publications, writing a book about post-retirement life, and watching far too much trashy television.

By Lucie Frost


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