Dad quietly stopped breathing this morning after a day and a half of gulping breaths with violent effort. I had just dipped a swabbing sponge in fresh water and put it to his lips. When I swabbed his mouth I talked to him because sometimes even through closed eyes people can hear. If he couldn’t hear my words over the sound of his breath he could certainly hear my love through the touch of my hands. I put the swab to his lips and he stopped for a moment. Then he took a gentler inhale as I rubbed the sponge around his mouth. And he didn’t take another breath. I waited, but he never took another breath.
So I laid my head on his arm and I cried. His pain was finished. I know that mine has barely begun.