I held my father’s hand as he was dying. My brother was on one side, I on the other, his sentinels. We lay beside him on the uncomfortable chairs they give you (at least they recline).
I held my father’s hand as he was dying. I held his hand in my hand. I spent all night studying his hand. Feeling his heartbeat, feeling his warmth. His hands were always warm. They were big, strong hands. Gentle hands. The hand that I held as a child that made me feel so safe. I held his hand until the last hour of his life, when I fell asleep (unintentionally) beside him for the first time that night. My brother left at 6 a.m., my father died at 7 a.m. We let go, he let go.
I held my father’s hand as he was dying. It seems strange to be grateful for something like this. I am though. I wanted to be there beside him. I cried tears, as I am at this moment, that feel like no other tears I have ever cried. They feel sharp. They hurt. My brother and I went through our father’s transition from this physical world into the ether with him. I said thank you Dad. I said I love you Dad. I said I’m here with you. I said be brave. But mostly I was just silent, quiet, with him. That whole night I knew that I didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world but right where I was. By his side.
I held my father’s hand as he was dying. I felt his heartbeat slow so slowly. I heard his breathing slow so slowly. The nurse came in every hour, moistening his mouth, talking to him in a normal conversation, repositioning him, giving him the medication that would ease his transition. Bless her. Her name is Rachel. Rachel was with us that night.
I held my father’s hand as he was dying. At one point I wondered how long it would be before he left, and then felt instantly selfish, feeling like I was robbing his experience of his own death because it was so painful for me. Then I fell back into it with him, and just was. We were together. My father, my brother, and me.
I held my father’s hand as he was dying, the hand so troubled by psoriasis for so many years, mysteriously clear and soft now. I know it was the prednisone, but the mystical me wants to believe that he was clearing the way for himself.
I held my father’s hand as he was dying. I wish he could tell me that he knew we were there, that he felt as safe and as comfortable as he has made us feel our entire lives.
I held my father’s hand as he was dying. I woke up with a bit of a start, I looked at him, I put my hand on his chest, I kissed his forehead, and went to get Rachel.
I held my father’s hand as he was dying. A piece of me died with him.