His cheeks are starting to hollow, and his wide eyes can’t seem to focus as they wander around his room. He’s so thin, like he’s made of matchsticks, and his feet are freezing. There’s a disturbing rattle to his cough that makes me wince when I hear it.

It won’t be long now.

There are so many things going wrong with his poor, frail body that it’s impossible to pin this on any one of them. It’s a collective effort, just as this is a collective effort between my mother, my sisters and me. We’ll see him through to the end.

His fingers got so skinny his wedding band fell off; my mother handed it to me a couple days ago. Too soon? Who’s to say? I don’t know the rules, even though it feels like we just did this with my father in-law, even though so many of my friends are going through it, or have gone through it, or are preparing to go through it.

It’s happening so fast. One week ago he got the bad news from his doctor. A couple days later his mind started slipping. We parked in the back of my cousin’s house on Christmas Day so he wouldn’t have to take the stairs; by Dec. 26 he couldn’t walk anymore — not with a cane, not with a walker. He had a good day yesterday, but the day before that he couldn’t talk, couldn’t swallow, couldn’t urinate. They got the catheter in just in time to save his bladder from rupturing.

It’s so hard to watch. So hard to be strong. So hard to make plans for… after… while he’s still laying there in his bed, gurgling through his last breaths.

I am strong. But this is breaking me down.

I wish I could take him to one more game, the way he used to do for me when I was a kid. I wish I could bring him to lunch one more time. I wish I could take him to the ocean for one final look.

But I can’t do anything for him anymore. Except wait.

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