The words stuck in my throat. We don’t know, he replied. A day or two. I’m surprised your father is still with us; he has a strong heart.
I lived this scenario 22 years ago but it feels like yesterday. Dad had contacted pneumonia and lay virtually unconscious in his bed in the hospice. I had kept a vigil by his side day-in day-out for what seemed like forever, watching him take one laborious breath in, then one breath out, all the while I repeated I love you, Daddy. Part of me prayed for his recovery but another part of me prayed that he be spared from further suffering. Alzheimer’s disease had taken away his quality of life so what was the point? But daddy’s girl will always be daddy’s girl and the hardest thing is to say goodbye.
How close I came to lighting a candle by his bedside. What stopped me I do not know — Mom who had gone before him almost exactly one year before, or Bill who had passed on almost seven years exactly to the month, or my guides who are ever with me? In any event, had I done so, what with Dad being on oxygen, I would have set the whole home ablaze!
I thought Dad might leave on February 22nd to join Mom in heaven on their wedding anniversary, but he did not. On February 25th, a dear friend urged me to go home and rest. Light a candle, Marco said, and tell your father that it is OK to go; that his little girl will be alright on her own.
I did so, telling him I would be OK alone, that it was OK for him to go. In the middle of the night the phone rang. It was the nurse telling me I should come. I raced to the hospice but I knew it was too late. Daddy had chosen to pass on alone. I had to respect his choice and honour his decision, knowing full well he had done so out of the deepest love for me.
I bent down, kissed his forehead one last time and whispered softly Daddy, I love you immeasurably. You are in my heart and in my soul and in every breath I take.