From the safety of his house, his room, his bed, his domain, that's where he did his best thinking, his inventing, his deciding.
We had his bed taken out to accommodate the hospital bed which made it easier. The hospice nurses said he was uncomfortable and that we should start administering morphine. It had to be a family member, so I volunteered, carefully measuring the dose each hour. The evening became more and more intimate. The hospice group dispersed. My sister-in-law left after lovingly clipping his nails. The care nurses changed shifts. I put on a pot of coffee. It was going to be a long night. But we knew it was time. We played the assortment of CDs he had in his car. Those were the ones he'd been listening to. My brother and I giggled and reminisced when the BeeGees greatest hits came on. He loved that CD. And we felt our morbid sense of humor kick in when "Stayin' Alive" came on. We knew he'd giggle too.
And in the early hours, his breathing slowed. And it slowed. We looked at each other in anticipation of the next breath, the next sign of life until it was a sign a death. Until it was no more. And we looked at the floor, hiding our sadness from each other, and saving it only for our most private thoughts. I was holding his hand and felt that surge of electricity in that moment. A transfer perhaps, a synapse. An event so quiet and intimate, yet so profound.
From the safety of his house, his room, his bed, his domain. This is where he breathed his last.