We were not ready. How could we be.
Ready for seven hours at his side – wondering every moment if this would be his last breath. Does he have a pulse? Yes. No. Yes. “Is that normal?” Mom asks, as he takes a long groan. “Is it pain? Are you sure he’s comfortable?”
It was an hour after that last breath. About 11 PM. We were ready to do what’s next. There is no checklist – no owner’s manual. I called the hospice, and the answering service lady took my contact information, dad’s time of death and our address and told me that the on-call nurse would call me back soon. “Have a great day” she said as we hung up. We laughed at that for a few minutes. The things people say. Dad would have enjoyed the humor in her comment too.
He had been getting increasingly confused in the hours before he died. I shared this observation with him, and he disagreed. He was indeed “all there” he insisted: “Ask me who is in Grant’s tomb … ” he challenged me. I complied. “Grant!” he responded, with that silly grin of his. He had that grin. It said: “we share something.”