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on music, melissa and final breaths

I arrived late in the evening.  His hospital bed was proudly on display in the middle of the living room.  You wanted to stay with us.

You chose the soothing scent of melissa while I played music.  He had not eaten in two weeks and had not had anything to drink in one.  He has been in this bed for seven months, now actively dying while you work to actively live.

As you sat by in silence I could feel the depth of your sorrow so broke it by asking about your marriage.  He is ninety-eight and you are sixty-three.  You have been married for thirty-three years and you had one daughter, now twenty-eight.

You have the softest presence I have ever experienced in my entire life.  It is a mixture of shy, humble, innocent, sweet, dark and sad.  I am awed by it but am not sure why.

You moved the conversation to your daughter to describe her harsh manner of speaking. You speak your pain so softly that it takes me a moment to recognize that it is the distance of your relationship with her that is the pain you are trying to articulate.

I watched him as he continued his struggle to take a breath.  I then understood why he was still here…



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