Two years ago this December, I came face to face with losing my one remaining parent. As I traveled to Arizona, I was not expecting him to die. Sadly, events unfolded differently. The decision to remove life support was beyond difficult. Watching hi
m slowly die over the next two days was almost unbearable. But reading to him, over the seven days I spent by his side, is a treasure I will never regret.

Unlike the families of Aurora and Sandy Hook, I was given the gift of time to say my goodbyes. I was given the gift of knowing he did not die alone and that he was taken care of as he started his final journey. Holding his hand and touching him was solace to my heart. Holding him as he passed away was bearable only because I told him to take my Mom’s hand and I would hold his until she held him again. After he passed I asked for wash cloths and towels. Cleaning his body was easy because it was an act of love for me.

For 56 years he loved my mother above all else. For my entire life he loved me even when I was wrong. He loved my partner and our son unconditionally. How could I not give this gift to him?

The last thing I read to Dad was from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. As his breath stopped for the final time… “And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”

And a mighty heart stopped. – Debra

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