My daddy finally arrived after a month of meticulous planning. At ninety-five, bringing just the right personal belongings was paramount. There was the hospital bed, wheelchair, walker, cane, prescription drugs to keep him awake and to help him sleep the special diet, and a few clothes.

Later in the evening, after a five-hour nap, he woke hungry for my home cooking. I found this flattering but humorous. I’m a lousy cook. After my mother passed away eight years ago, it’s been my father and the Tongan princess in our family home. Now it was my turn to care for him.

After consuming his large plate of chicken and rice, along with a few bites of carrot cake from Safeway, a worried look comes over his face.

“Did you bring it?”

“Bring what?” I asked.

Just the day before, I was instructed to bring all the valuables from our home for safe keeping. In fifty-one years, those precious treasures filled two small boxes. Looking at my light load, I was humiliated thinking that my children would most likely need a moving van to collect the items I hold dear. Materialistic is my middle name.

“My rosary,” he said with earnest. “I need to say my prayers.”

Going to the box with the smaller items, I found a Mother of Pearl white rosary. I knew this wasn’t the one he used every night, but in his mind, a rosary is a rosary. They all do the same trick.

And with that, he smiles that sweet smile I have grown to melt over, gingerly fingered the worn beads in his only working hand, closed his eyes, and began to pray. How simple life has become for him. I can see now – I still have a lot to learn from him.