Celestial Real Estate Sale

Aug 15, 2022 | 1 comment

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Final Bedtime Conversation

The last time I saw and talked to my father was thirty-eight years ago today. September 7, 1984. A Friday evening. He was in hospice care after a two-year battle with prostate cancer. My mother, two brothers and I had him moved from the hospital on Wednesday to be at the home to which they had moved into three months earlier. It was the first home they had owned in their forty-five years of marriage.

My wife, Gina, and I entered the house with our two sons. Mom greeted us. A hospice nurse prepared iced tea in the kitchen. She said hello as we walked past and into the bedroom where dad was propped up with pillows against the headboard of the double bed. He turned toward us as we entered and welcomed us with a smile.

“Lay the boys here next to me. One on each side.”

Two-year-old Nick looked with curiosity at the grandpa he recognized. Four-month-old Mark was resting peacefully from the drive we had just completed. I laid Nick on Dad’s left. Gina made sure Mark was secure on Dad’s right side.

“I am so glad you are here. I can feel the boys next to me. Such a joy.”

He spoke in measured, whispered tones that defined his weakened condition. In a prior visit to the hospital on Monday, Nick helped me to push Dad in a wheel chair in the hallway. Tonight’s visit may have been the first time Dad had seen Mark in a week or more. We had not taken Mark on hospital visits.

Dad looked at me directly. “Kevin, how is it going with the sale of your condo?”

“We changed realtors this week. You know in the year that the place has been on the market, we have not had one person who showed interest. Friends of ours had been very happy with their realtor, Cindy. We signed a contract with her yesterday.”

“Let’s see what happens. The condo is nice place, but not for two babies and you. I want you all to have a bigger place. A yard. What has Cindy told you about what she thinks she can do?”

“She is going to put a listing together. She has talked to other realtors in her office.”

“I hope she can get some action on it.”

He fell asleep suddenly. Nick and Mark maintained their positions. It was not an appropriate time to take a picture. Then again, in 1984, I didn’t have the readiness of a phone with a camera. Did I have the vocabulary of “cellphone” at that time? No. I have carried a picture in my memory. Those recollections are more valuable than a picture kept in a scrapbook or viewed on a scroll through a phone or computer.

Hoping that he would wake up again, we stayed in the room for ten more minutes, The nurse adjusted his positioning and lowered the pillows. He was more than ready to sleep. Our limited conversation exhausted him. He verbalized a muffled “Good night” through his closed eyes. We carried the boys to the living room. We visited with mom for just a bit. Mom gave each of the boys a hug and kiss. We said our good-byes and drove home.

I talked to mom numerous times on Saturday. She said Dad’s condition had not changed. She stayed in the room with him. He slept most of the day. She appreciated that the nurse was taking care of whatever he needed. She had decided she would not attend the wedding of my cousin’s son that evening. She wanted to stay with Dad. Gina and I had arranged for a sitter. We went to the reception.

When we arrived home, I called mom. She wanted to know about the reception. We talked until she was satisfied with the details I provided. She said she was falling asleep in the chair next to Dad’s bed.

Sunday morning I was awakened by the ring of the phone on the table next to my bedside. As soon as I said hello, the nurse spoke quickly, “Get here as soon as can. It’s time.”

I dressed quickly and drove as calmly as I could during the thirty minute drive. As I walked into the house and the bedroom, my brothers and mom told me dad had died just prior to my arrival. We gathered around him. My brother had called the undertaker who arrived shortly after me. We moved ourselves to the living room as he prepared dad and placed him in the body bag. I could hear the sound of the bag’s zipper as it closed over dad’s face. The funeral director wheeled Dad out the front door to the waiting hearse.

We arranged for a Tuesday wake and Wednesday funeral. While at the wake, Cindy came to me and said she thought she had someone interested in the condo.

“Cindy, how did you find somebody? Nobody has looked at the place in a year.”

“I was telling other agents in town about your place. One of them said they heard of a single guy who was looking for a condo like yours.”

“Cindy, the last conversation I had with my dad on Friday he talked about how important it was to him that we sell the condo.”

“Maybe your dad is working some real estate magic.”

The next day we were involved with the funeral home service, the drive to church for Mass, the cemetery burial, and lunch at one of Dad’s favorite restaurants. Cindy let me know that she was showing the condo to the prospective buyer later that afternoon. The family and many friends spent the rest of the day and evening at Mom’s house. Our large group did what we did at other funeral occasions. We ate, drank, talked and sang for hours next to the piano that Dad had so skillfully played for most of his life. Music was key in our family.

On Thursday afternoon, Cindy called to let us know an offer had been made on the condo. We accepted the offer over the phone. We met with her on Friday to sign the paperwork.

To this day, I believe that as Dad fell asleep on the prior Friday evening, through the hours that followed, and his transition on Sunday morning, he made it his mission to sell the condo. He celestially raised himself to some intermediate place between our conversation and the sale of the condo. From there he directed and supervised. He took an interest in the buyer. He encouraged him and led him to people that could help in his search. Dad was with Cindy as she showed him the condo. He guided the process of making an offer and having us accept it.

He crossed fully through heaven’s gate when the sales paperwork had been signed. He got his commission. Thirty-eight years and five house sales later, I feel Dad’s presence in each real estate transaction I’ve made.

Kevin O'Connor

Kevin O’Connor

Kevin O’Connor enjoys chronicling the stories of families and friends through tracing genealogical histories, writing and picture collections. His prior writing includes personal letters, articles in professional publications, dissertation, anthologies and presentations delivered at conferences, seminars and webinars.

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