So now it's over. Last night, surrounded by his family, Dad passed away. It was the oddest experience I've ever had. I've known death before, but I've never watched a person actually die. But that's what we did - just watched him cling to life, all the while telling him it was okay to let it go.
There were tears. Of course there were tears! The seven of us huddled around Dad's bed just kind of watching him, holding his hand, murmuring sadness. Soon his breathing slowed and we suspected the end might be near (the will of the body is impressive).
There were a few laughs, too. Dad's wife made a teary jest about 'the Energizer Bunny' that lie before us. I shared a secret dread that we might be living a sitcom moment - fast-forward an hour or two where Dad is still hanging on while our collective deathwatch succumbs to tired legs and hidden boredom.
At 7:10pm Dad's breathing stopped. He winced once, twice - his lungs drowning, giving up. And with JediBoy holding Dad's hand, he was committed to oblivion.
Not knowing what one does in these situations, we stood around the lifeless body and we told each other funny stories about Dad. The weight had lifted and a few of us dared to admit we felt better, somehow, someway.
We packed up Dad's things and the detritus of several days worth of living in a hospital room. We hugged the nurses - the amazing nurses. Then we drifted into the night without looking back. Dee, JediBoy, BandGeek and I - having not eaten since lunch - made our way to one of those interchangeable roadhouse joints and ate ourselves silly. There was little talk of Dad - just the happy-chatter of a family together.
The funeral arrangements are pretty much taken care of, so I now just await word on the when-and-where. Today I will write a eulogy. And it will be a happy one, I think.