Preface: The writing prompt came from Go Dog Go Cafe. It said write about the last time you saw your father. For Father’s Day. I read some posts that responded. Heartfelt, warm remembrances of a man that meant the world to the authors. I loved my father but my last memory of him is not warm. It is not happy.
It was the day he died.
February 21, 1994
I don’t remember how long he had been in the hospital. He had wanted to die at his home but that became impossible.
He was no longer conscious. The advancing lung cancer had made breathing labored and difficult. He was drowning in his own tissues. The morphine was given to reduce the pain and the panic. Where it had made him sleep, now it took all ability to open his eyes, to recognize, to touch.
He lay under a white sheet. His rib cage displayed in relief. His emaciated body still alive from a heart that would not quit. As I viewed him in that bed, I only saw the Striking Viking. Tall, blonde, blue-eyes smiling, a song on his lips.
My brothers and I took turns at the vigil. We sat next to him, the cavalry of family, waiting. We knew the end was very, very near.
I don’t remember if it was a a few days, a week or two weeks. I don’t know.
His death, when it came, was a relief. A painful, hollow relief.
For the last twenty-four years, I have hoped that he his last thoughts were of singing.