She walks into the room, unsure what she will find. He lays quietly in the bed, at first she is unsure that he is awake, but as she slowly moves further in she sees he is watching TV, unable to focus enough to read anymore, she clears her throat to announce her arrival, but instead of the usual beaming smile to welcome her she catches his eye and sees a glassiness, she becomes aware how much the situation has changed in just a few days.
She thinks back to the father of her childhood. From the beginning beyond their dark features there was no doubt that she was her fathers daughter. You could see it in the way they both rested their head in their hands the same way, both clicked their toes unthinkingly as they watched television, both were openly affectionate, and they both knew the feeling of kissing someone hello only to realise that the recipient was not comfortable with the kiss. As people often say, the things you find annoying in others are often things you don't like much in yourself, so they had also had their fair share of father daughter disputes, but they had happily survived and grown and found a new admiration for each other as adults. They were able to talk for hours, about things that both of them knew no body else would understand, at least not in the way they understood each other, and although their lives kept them from seeing each other often, they always thought that there would be time after her children grew and his work subsided that they would once again be able to sit together and ponder the universe. But life has a way of making you slow down ... Even when you think there isn't enough time.
Bad news always seemed to come to her in a phone call, that job she didn't get, the boy that broke her heart, it was her father than had called her all those years ago to tell her her mother had died, and then there was the phone call from him years later to tell her that they had found a mass, so small that you would barely think it could cause so much trouble, but it was inoperable and they told him he probably only had a few months to live.
They were wrong, it had been three years, since that tiny lump in his brain was discovered, and in that time she had decided that time was the one thing that they could no longer take for granted. So she shared his journey, as much as one can when the path is leading someone towards the end of life. She amazed over the peace he acquired and the strength that he showed everyone one around him, she cried often after their talks wondering which one would be their last, who would understand her once he was gone? She came to see him often and watched as the conversations slowly got more muddled and he became the shadow of his former self, she helped him eat when he was unable, took him to the toilet, helped him brush his teeth, but even this pale version of him, could still laugh with her, rant with her and worry for her, because within it all he was still her father.
She looked at him again lying on the bed, his knees curled up, looking older and more fragile than she had ever seen him before, the nurses told her that he was fading but she was still surprised. She walked over smiling, sat on the bed and wrapped her arms around him knees.
"Hey sweetheart, how are you?" she asked, he looked at her and some of the glassiness lifted .... There he was, faded as he may be, in his eyes there was the father she knew. He told her he wasn't feeling well and when she asked "what's going on" he said faintly, "honey, I don't think I have long left" she let out a wretched sob, "I know" she said softly and saw tears welling up in his eyes, she stumbled over her words, but managed to say "are you scared?" and was relieved when his answer was no.
And so she held his knees tightly and they talked about what was to come, for her and for him, it was a quiet, intensely sad conversation and one that she will remember for the rest of her life, after all it was the last they ever had.