I wanted to go to breakfast in the assisted living dining room with Dad the morning after Mom passed so I could answer the question, "How's Harriet." I didn't want Dad to have to tell people. I had broken the news at dinner the night before, and it was clear they hadn't been updated about Mom's decline. "When she went to skilled nursing, we all thought she'd get better and come back to us," one of the residents said.
There would be people at breakfast who hadn't been at dinner, and I thought it would be easier for Dad if I was there. It didn't work out that way. I slept in, and woke when Dad came back from breakfast.
"How was it?" I asked. "It was great," he said, with a pleased look on his face. "The two Daves were there."
Dad and Mom had eaten breakfast with two fellows named Dave for a while. Clearly, Dad was happy to eat with his buddies.
I joined Dad and The Two Daves for breakfast for the rest of my stay. One Dave speaks in a low fast voice that is tough for Dad to understand. He has trouble understanding Dad's Icelandic accent. The other speaks clearly, but has some cognitive impairment. Conversation is limited. And yet they enjoy their mornings, breaking bread together in quiet communion.
Over the remainder of my stay, I got the two Daves talking more. I rephrased what they said so Dad could understand. It was sweet and fun to get to know them, and Dad was pleased to learn things about them that he didn't know.
It was nice while it lasted. I expect that when I left, the breakfast table got quieter. That's okay, There might be less conversation than there was while I was there, but there is every bit as much communion.