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Until he was cold

 

We had been at the hospital with him most of the day. He was angry because no one had shaved him. He was never one for letting himself go even for a weekend. In fact, I don't think I had ever seen him with so much as a day's growth in all my 66 years as his daughter.

 

He wanted to get back to the Assisted Living Facility he had finally come to accept as home. Unable to speak because of an oxygen mask, he scribbled on a torn-off piece of paper,"When to Bonaire?" (When can I go back home?)A reasonable question in as much as he had been in and out of the hospital a number of times lately. The last time he had been sent home with a special antibiotic regimen to combat pneumonia and seemed to be holding his own.I told him that he would probably be discharged soon ( My husband and I had made arrangements with Bonaire to upgrade the assistance he would require upon his return. )and then I asked him if he wanted to eat something. Eating now was equated with getting better in both our minds. I lifted the spoon to his lips and he clamped down on it with his teeth. We stared at each other...he the accusing one...and I the daughter unable to act on his behalf and get him the hell out of there.

 

That night ...the phone. We were to go to the hospital. Neither my husband or I said a word in the car. We approached the nurse's station and were taken to his room. The lighting was dim. There he was, shaved at last. I touched his arm. Still warm.

We sat with him until he was cold.

 

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