I got the telephone call at approximately 8:15PM.

My father had passed away.

I had just seen him earlier in the day, in his assisted living residence, on hospice care. He had a full time care aide with him, and his facility had their folks coming in to see him frequently - more frequently than they were obliged to, he was (as I was told by more than one of them) popular with the staff.

I had left him around noon. My brother had brought his wife and youngest son over to say goodbye the day before. His partner had been with him from seven PM to around 7:45; it's pretty clear he had been waiting to see her before letting go. He hadn't been able to communicate well, due to pneumonia complications and general debilitation, but his eyes when he looked at us were clear and his hand squeezes strong in response to questions or affection.

The last great gift my father gave me was the decision. I have been looking after him and his affairs for a few years, and his doctors had gently begun asking about hospice care. The issue had been that he didn't have immediately terminal ailments, he was mostly just wasting and uncomfortable; I had been concerned about our ability to maintain the 24hr care he needed for very long due to resource constraints, and most of all, the Jewish guilt - filial guilt - over deciding on the death of a parent.

I had finally steeled myself to bring the matter up when I went to see him in the hospital during his final stay there. Before I could say anything, though, Dad turned to me and said 'Well, son, I think it's time to say goodbye.'

I asked him, to be certain, if he wanted me to arrange for his care to switch to emphasize his comfort only. He nodded firmly.

I didn't have to make the decision. Dad knew, and he mustered up full function and awareness - something that had become increasingly difficult - to specifically tell me his wishes. I will be forever grateful to him for that.

After that, it was all logistics. I can do those.

He's gone now, from this place. I hope he's with my mom, even though I don't believe. But either way, he's not in pain or discomfort any more.

Update: Thank you to all who have reached out with support and thoughts, E2 remains my home village.

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