I only knew him for eight months, and yet it felt like a lifetime. He lived across the hall from Mom. He and Mom immediately took a liking to each other. When I arrived to visit, they would be sitting in the living room area, cuddled close, holding hands. The first few visits, I wasn’t sure whether to simply leave, and not disturb them (they seemed so happy together), or engage with both of them. 

I would sit with both of them until Mom said she was ready to leave, and we would traipse on our adventure. Sometimes she expected him to come with us, and I would gently explain that he would stay at the facility, and we would head out. I looked forward to seeing him each time I arrived. I asked him how he was doing, and what a highlight of the day was. When I arrived during meal times, it warmed my heart to walk in on he and Mom holding hands at the dinner table. 

I arrived today and his door was closed. 

As I walked towards Mom’s room, a staff member let me know he passed earlier this morning. Tears sprang to my eyes, a lump settled in my throat, and I felt heavy all over. I shouldn’t have been surprised. This is the next step at these facilities. And, yet. 

Mom and I went to the park. We walked, we sat on benches. We didn’t speak. As we sat, we held hands, and we each cried. I asked Mom if she was sad, and as tears rans down her face, she said, “No.” I squeezed her hand and even though I didn’t voice it, I acknowledged I was sad. So very, very sad. Sad for the loss of the person who I had looked forward to visiting as much as Mom. Sad for his daughters, knowing what it feels like to lose a father. Sad for Mom, who even if she can’t verbalize it, will miss sitting with him and holding hands. And sad for me, knowing that a similar loss is in my future. 

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