We sing a lot to him. The nurses don't mind; not in this ward. We sing the old songs, the ones we grew up with. The ones we remember dancing to with him after Havdala every motzeh Shabbas. I say tehilim and daven slowly, carefully, because there is no rush. I have no where to go other than this room.
This time that I have with him is an unexpected treasure, one last gift from him. So I tell him everything. I tell him about my hopes for the future. I tell him about my plans for now. I tell him about my pitfalls,how my selfishness gets in the way of me being who I want to be and how I want to be more like him and my mother.
People come and go, speaking in hushed whispers. My family is loud and we laugh a lot. Some visitors do not know what to make of this, the laughing vigil, and honestly, I don't know what to make of it. It has been one of the strangest weeks of my life. His eyes look lifeless, but his soul is here, right? We are sad, but remember when...? ends in ringing laughter.
He is here. He is not here. I want him to live forever. I want him to go, it's just too much pain in a lifetime of pain. The vaccant eyes,so dry from being open for days at a time, the mouth a hole where his smile used to be, and the feeling that he hears every word I am saying...
I call my daughters, ask them about their day. They sound so mature on the phone. They ask for presents. I promise presents. I am 6,00 miles away from them promising gifts and love and then hanging up on my children while I am walking the streets of New York arm in arm with my sisters waiting for my father to die.