For as long as I can remember my dad has worn a watch - Timex, analog, with date and an expansion band. Over the years they have looked different but always had that same profile.
As long as he was allowed his watch, he wore it on his left arm. He has always been time conscious - almost obsessively. If someone said they would be there at 11:00, he would check his watch or whatever clock he could see and monitor the time at least 15 minutes ahead of time. This became more pronounced when he was in the hospital. "They said lunch is at 12:15. Lunch isn't here. Call the nurse."
Even after his stroke, when the neurologist asked him what time it was, he answered it old-school. Looked at his watch and said "23 minutes before 11." The neurologist and her two students had to look at their watches and confirm that he was indeed correct. I laughed at them. Out loud. The looks on their faces was THAT funny.
He always wore his watch - until today.
As I sat next to him this afternoon, he had gotten fidgety and keep fooling with his bedspread, his shirt buttons, and his watch. He was trying to get the watch off and pinched his skin. "Ouch." He rubbed the pinched skin and I asked if he wanted me to hold his watch. He nodded and kept rubbing the skin. When I asked if he wanted me to help put it back on, he said, "No. Keep it."
He had been compulsively looking at his watch the last several week. I would ask him what time it was and he would drop his arm and not answer. I knew he had lost the ability to tell time.
He has been singing and talking and talking to people I can't see. I heard him say tonight, "But I don't want to wait." A few minutes later I had his watch on my arm. I talked with him about singing and being in choir and asked if he wanted to go to choir. He brightened up. "I like to sing." He joined my mother's choir many years ago to get her to agree to date him. I suggested to him that maybe Mama has a choir in Heaven he could join. "I like to sing," he said again.
I thought maybe this watch was a sign that it's time. Time for him to sing again. Time for him to meet Jesus face face. So tonight, before I left his side, instead of telling him I'd see him tomorrow, I told him goodbye. I don't know he if knew the difference, but I do know he's ready to say hello to his forever.
Soon, Daddy. It will be time soon.