Death came much to soon, as it
ravaged his body little by little, day by day.
They said it would be a year, but that was a total
miscalculation or a lie I am not clear which and it isn’t the time to decide.
It started slow, not eating or caring to eat but
trying to get through day by day was a chore for him.
I saw the man, I knew the face but it wasn’t the
same as I remembered him from a few months earlier at Christmas.
He was different, very pale and not quite as tall
or as strong, but still my father.
But he had the same voice, the same laugh, the same
smile, but the eyes were dull with no spark. The skin was translucent.
He said he was tired all the time, tired of being alone
He said he preferred to rest in bed all afternoon to pass the time.
He liked the evening news with Brian Williams and Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.
That’s what he waited for all day to see those favorite shows.
Those were the shows he watched with my mother but her chair had been empty for a few years as now his is also empty. He felt better when he watched those shows thinking back to happier days.
One day he could walk and the next day not, the strength was gone,
Or was it the desire to move that was gone?
Food became non-important to him though he told me he ate,
I knew he was lying. From 750 miles away I could tell he was lying.
Then one day his legs would not carry him and he was put in total care.
A nice place, a calm place with no wires or machines or beeps and blinks.
A place to spend a few remaining days,
A place where they are familiar with saying goodbye,
A place kind to the soul, body and mind.
A place where another bump in the road shortened his time.
A stroke, blindness and who can enjoy Wheel of Fortune in that condition?
Sedated and confused, not really sure who was who, no sense of real or imagined. Not aware of time or circumstance.
Finally, it was over. Strange that cancer was not the cause of death nor had it caused the end to come so soon. But he was prepared, I wasn’t.
Because he knew death was knocking in a few months he organized.
His files were in order; he gave things away and said goodbye to some of his possessions.
The last time I saw him was standing in his doorway as I kissed him goodbye.
I have not cried until now and the tears are flowing and don’t want to stop.
No matter what the situation, rhyme or reason, he was, he is and he always will be my father in spirit rather then in body.
He was buried today but he lives in me. I look like him, I talk like him and I have his disposition. My mother always said, ‘You are just like your father.” I am glad I am.
I have him in my heart and no one can take that from me.
But death still came much too soon.