It was early. I wanted to get settled in. I had some homework that I would be able to do after tending to him a bit – some talk, comb hair, check the log, make sure he was comfortable. It was going to be my third day on vigil. He was a tough individual. Hanging on. Sometimes people can hang on for quite awhile after the decision is made to not give water or food.
I had met the daughter. A hard-working federal employee, Prius-driving, commuting, middle-career, mother of teenagers and wife to another hard-charging government employee. Despite their busy schedules, they had all made much time to care for her father. It was gratifying to see their love and concern for someone who wasn’t able to give back any longer. She told me stories and showed me some pictures and, basically, had spent about two hours venting and talking one evening. She hadn’t been home yet, was still dressed from work, and really needed to get dinner ready for the boys. That was a day or two ago.
She wanted light, ambient music to be playing in the background so her music player was on his bed stand with the CD in replay mode. It was playing low each time I visited. It was soothing. A few pictures were hanging on the wall. One was of him in his very young days as a pilot – brash, handsome, wavy hair, piercing eyes.
I arrived early but the bed was empty.