My father isn't the expressive, sentimental type.

He isn't the hugging, 'I love you' kind of a guy.

But I recall as a young boy, he showed his love to me the only way he knew best: He spent enormous time with me. We'd jog together every night, walk to a pizza joint on weekends, and simply talk. (Actually, I'd do the talking and he'd do the listening.)

My father was my best friend.

A few months ago, Dad was trying to fix a light bulb in our garage. Standing onto a chair for greater reach, he lost his balance and went crashing down. His head hit the concrete floor and immediately, blood spurted out like water from an open faucet.

Because of the impact, there was like a dripping faucet inside his brain as well. Blood clots started to appear in his X-rays, and he began to experience paralysis in his body. Even after brain surgery, he lost his language ability because of a new blood clot, found even deeper than the others -- too deep for another surgery to reach.

The gravest blow was severe pneumonia, an infection that developed after a few months of staying in the hospital. His lungs were now filled with fluid, and that was when the crisis hit.

He was hooked up to a respirator, and the long wait began: The doctors told us frankly that he could go anytime. At that point, he was only absorbing 20% of the oxygen they were pumping to him. Someone doesn't last too long in that state.

I looked at Dad's hands and face, and they were bluish in color. I whispered to his ear, "I love you, Dad."

That was when he regained consciousness for a few minutes. He looked at me with so much sadness in his eyes.

Then he did something that he never did in my entire life. He raised his hands towards my face, and clasped me on both cheeks. Then he brought me down towards him, and gave me a hug.

My father gave me a hug.

He was telling me that he loved me too.

He was also probably bidding farewell.

My emotions were running wild inside me.

I was both grieving and joyful.

Joyful because for the first time, my tough, unsentimental father gave me a hug. Grieving because he was going away. Grieving because it might be the last hug I'll ever get from him.

"Dad, we should have done this a long time ago," I muttered to myself.

Today, my father has recovered a little bit, narrowly escaping that ordeal.

I hug him more often now.

Hug someone today, while there's time.

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