For the first time, I understood.
Instead of thinking “Daddy, please don’t die. Don’t leave me,” I just wanted him not to suffer. The selfishness of a daughter evaporated.
The doctors had Dad sitting perfectly upright, a mask covering his entire face and forcing air into his lungs. He was sedated, given morphine for pain. When I spoke to him and stroked his hand, Dad opened his eyes and tried to reassure me.
“Rest, Dad. You need to rest. Don’t worry about me.”
And then I went out into the hospital corridor, nearly biting through my bottom lip as I tried to stifle my sobs.