Do you think you can manage?
I have to.
How long this will go on for?
Some said days, others weeks.
My dad lay in his bed,
Pneumonia adding to his suffering
His breathing laboured
Oxygen his saviour.
Each day I came.
Held his hand, talked the news
The world, sport, who won, who lost
The latest scandal, who died.
In reaching for my hand
Roles reversed, he needs me,
To stay and comfort him.
Hour after hour, his discomfort palpable
He slips in the bed, lift, slide, struggle
Feed him his breakfast, lunch and tea
Slowly he eats what he can.
Home each evening, rest up,
Resolve to be back for breakfast
Another day, breath gasping
Fear in his eyes, he knows his end is near.
Day five, I fear what I’ll find
The strain is taking its toll
No one should suffer like this
But I know he needs me, I go.
He is showered, dressed, shaved
He looks his best all week,
I feed him breakfast,
He eats hungrily, as if expecting.
We sit; I hold his hand, our standard routine
He nods to having a bet on Saturday
A man arrives brings communion
Is he ready now?
My resolve is being tested
Trying to be brave, strong, supportive
He looks at me, struggles another breath
Grips my hand, I see a change.
My dad faded suddenly away
With grace he stopped living.
I hung in there with him.