Saturday, 6 June 2009


I was with my Dad when he died - just the two of us, at his place. He'd had prostate cancer and had been getting treatment. After a spell in hospital, he'd been allowed home and seemed much improved. So it sort of stole up on us.

That night I'd called in about 7 in the evening and found him dozing on the settee with the T.V. on as usual. On checking, I found he'd not taken his tablets so I mildly ticked him off and got them for him. Then I found he'd not eaten. I cooked him a meal and had to wake him again to eat it. I realised that it was his sleepiness that had messed up his routine and said so. 'Yes! If I could just shake off this tiredness' he said with an air of determination. These were to be his last words.

I left him to eat his supper and popped back home. I was back an hour or so later and found him dozing again with his meal hardly touched. I took the plate away and sat and watched him. He was in a deep sleep and snoring a little. Only now did I realise that this was no ordinary sleepiness. Somehow I knew this was the end. As I watched, the love in me for this dear man became overwhelming. I just sat transfixed watching him. It was moving like music, awesome like Nature can be. I just felt full of a sort of reverential wonder.

Then as I watched, he gave out three big, loud sighs. It was the 'death rattle'. Then stillness and silence. Now came the tears. I went over and knelt by his side holding his arm, talking to him and kissing his hand as I wept deeply.

After a few minutes I sat back and looked at him. I realised that he could have had no better ending. He was in his own home, sat in his normal place, television on and a half-completed crossword at his side. I felt hugely sad but hugely grateful. Grateful for the manner of his death but also for the privilege of being there with him.


  1. Tony,
    When did your Dad pass away?
    And yes, there is a lot to be grateful because you were with him, and he was in the comfort of his own home.
    I wish I could say that about the deaths of of own Dad, and of my twin brother.

  2. I know what you mean. My mother passed 5 years ago. My father and I were with her. (and the nurse from Hospice) It was a privilege and an honor to be there with her. I am still grateful that I had the opportunity. And I miss her more everyday.

  3. I was with my dad when he passed away (lung cancer in his case) Your post sure brought back memories Thank you

  4. We spent 10 days in hosp with our father after he had a major stroke two years ago (he was only 67 and in fantastic health). He never regained consciousness, but we always wondered what he might have been aware of during those days... it breaks your heart to wonder if they are in any pain, if they are trapped in a prison wherein they cannot communicate to anyone... he passed quietly early on a Saturday morning.

    Thank you for sharing your memories, I think it brought back memories for all of us.

  5. Tony

    This is a very moving scene for someone who knew your father well.

    Ros in Oz