My father’s last decision

On Christmas morning, he told us: he was considering suicide.

I thread my arms through the sleeves of his black Geneva robe at our Christmas Eve candlelight service and remember the last time I saw him alive.

If he were here with me now, we’d watch the worshipers—believers and backsliders, the venerated and the vagabonds—find their way to their pews. We’d smile as the Bannister sisters, age seven and five, make a splash with their matching red bows on blond heads. We’d look to the rear of the sanctuary and see Ted, who lives in a truck, guide his two Chihuahuas into the pew, dressed in identical red-and-green doggie sweaters.

Without words we would sense each other’s thoughts: Tonight, everyone is hungry for God.