It was 3:20 in the morning three days ago. I stood before my dad’s sickbed in the cancer ward of the VA Hospital. My dad lay asleep next to my mom who snoozed uncomfortably in a recliner alongside his bed. I looked down at a man who a few months ago weighted 260 pounds, but now looked half that. His arms and legs have no visible muscle, his face is gaunt, almost skeletal, I can count each rib in his chest. I’ve never seen his ribs before. He’s in constant pain and dying slowly because he cannot eat. His cancer is everywhere. There is no hope. I know he will die soon.
I note the time in my journal with the annotation, 3:20 am: Is this where I pray? It was right after the words, 3:05 am: Dad does not know who I am. Asks for his son. I have no prayers in me. The thought makes me ill. Instead, tears flowed. There is little else I can do besides share the burden of attending his bedside with my family, and wait.
I took a picture. I will remember the moment the rest of my life.