laid my father down into eternity as gently as i knew how. same home as my mom. book collection best thing he left me. now all i have is all of you
grilled saturday at eleven. no friends, no phone calls, no photos. we shared a meal in larry's garden. a dignified old age
grilled sunday at eleven, he spoke briefly with liz, with rosemarie, did not touch his food
cancelled sunday evening plans. upstairs for a shower, downstairs for a cigarette but changed his mind in the foyer and we struggled back up to bed
described symptoms to dr. sherman at noon. emergency room for eight hours of tests, i pressed silence every 120 seconds, could we solve that one?
thanked the icu nurse at nine, she said she was happy to have met me. drive back from sibley hospital, too quickly over speed bumps. my father made like might vomit, i pulled into the church of the little flower parking lot, held a shopping bag in his lap until the dry heaves subsided
walked with him ten feet from the car to the table. he sat in the chair exhausted, i scratched four legs across the kitchen and dining room floor, transferred into his comfortable
green chair, then the fold out bed. already mentally planning for this weakness to be the new normal
woke monday-tuesday midnight to the toilet flush, flew downstairs to check he had made it safely back to the living room bed. tucked him in, adjusted the lights so he had enough to see but not enough to prevent sleep. failed to fall asleep next to him, coaxed him by one a.m. to let me half carry him up the stairs. he caught his breath, then rested as the sun rose. i will not ask the funeral home whether they removed that patch
found him before noon, unresponsive on his bed. shouted, dialed, followed directions. tom and jeff waited for the medical examiner with me
told him as much in life, seems to have held. i will be distraught by your suffering, not by your death. here on in, my family of my own creation
buried both parents before knowing either for half of their lives. (parent's age at your birth) > (your
age at parent's death)
dad? can i tell you something?
can i turn on the light?
are the best father that i know of. it's nonsensical to say that
you're the best dad i've ever had, because of course you're the only dad
i've ever had.
but this is my thirty seventh year on
earth, and i've seen other fathers and sons interact, i've watched
stories of fatherhood exemplars. and never once have i thought that i
would trade you for someone else's father.
thank you for that.
i love you, okay?
are you going back to sleep?
yes i am.