Generations of his family came together to join the bedside vigil. Grandchildren who were out of town came home to see the beloved ol’ fella. His cheeky smile was still there to greet them all but with each day his energy levels decreased. He needed to sleep more. His appetite dropped off steadily.
They knew time was short. At the start of the admission, over a week ago, they had been told there might only be days left. Dad kept on proving them wrong. He would still rouse to their voices but had become too weak to talk.
The son came in every day and saw his father melting away. Intellectually he was prepared for the loss of a parent. The scenario had played out in his mind ever since the diagnosis was confirmed. The emotional organs always took much longer to catch up with the thoughts.
How much longer could he go on? He had always been strong, but nobody expected him to still be alive. The hospice staff were just as surprised.
“I’m not sure how long he’s got left. If it was anyone else they probably would’ve died last week. I’m not even going to try to guess. He is getting closer, his breathing is changing, and he has become more agitated. It could be hours to days, but that’s what I told you two days ago. He’s going to do things at his own pace, in his own way, just like he always has.”
The son was on the other side of town when the call came through. He raced back in his powerful car as fast as he could, but he was too late. A lifetime of memories washed over him as tears tracked down his cheeks. He had to put his grief on hold as his assigned role in the family took precedence. Someone had to find a funeral director, organize the memorial service and look after everyone else. Again. He took a deep breath in, sighed, and started making phone calls.