...When the Leaves Come Out

Ralph Seland



This week, I walked into a hospital room to see an 87 year old friend who was dying. 

Wilf, you look so peaceful...dare I disturb your slumber?
Almost four years ago I stood by the coffin of your son,... a son who was closer to me than a brother. Doug and I worked together and he often told me stories about you. He had an inward strength that you had....until a couple weeks ago.
Doug had taken his plane for a spin on a spring evening. He tipped his wings, saluting friends that were watching him as he came over their house. As he went low over a grove of trees, his plane, instead of making the right turn, plunged into the ground, killing him instantly.

Wilf, even if you had lost a son, you still were able to be a strength to the rest of us.
But with that loss, I had gained another friend, for I told Wilf that from then on, I would be the "son" who would phone him on a Friday nights as Doug had done. 
Dad, those calls probably meant as much to me as they did to you. I'll miss that call this Friday....
I walked over to the bed where Wilf was lying peacefully with his head tilted slightly away from me. 
Dad, just this week I was in your home and I held your firm, strong hand as we talked and prayed.
I leaned over the bed...I put my hand on his forehead and whispered into his ear. No one else heard, "Wilf, I love you. I'll be seeing you again." 
Wilf, you said that when the leaves came out, you would die. The leaves came out yesterday and it is a glorious springtime. But Wilf the next time you hear a voice, it will not be a whisper, but a shout, "AWAKE....."
And Someone will show you the beauties of another tree, for the leaves are for the healing of the nations.
Wilf, I'll be seeing you again....maybe by that tree ...when the leaves come out in that eternal spring.
I turned from the bed and stumbled away through the mist. I turned for one last look and then went on my way. 
I'll be seeing you again.... 

...when the leaves come out.


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