Earlier this week, I discovered that the brick oval is an old water reservoir, and the grass on the roof was intentionally planted. During WWII - the war in which my father earned a purple heart - the waterworks employees dug up the grass and planted a victory garden in its stead. They should plant plumbago, my mother says. With all that sun, it would be really beautiful. It would be nice, I think, to look out the window of the room where my father lies dying and see something beautiful. As it is, the grass reminds me how tenacious life is.
Inside the room, there isn't much to see. The walls are a soft bare green. Or maybe they aren't bare, and I just can't remember. Most of the time, I am looking at the bed, at the oxygen tank next to it, at the rolling table with the fan that blows air across my father's face to help him feel like he can breathe.
I keep expecting to walk into the room and see a stranger, someone so changed by approaching death as to be unrecognizable. But he is still there. Underneath the weakness and the thinness and the hallucinations from the morphine he receives every four hours, he's still there. He's ready to go. He's ready for us to go on without him. He's impatient with his body, I think. Before, for getting sick, and now, for hanging on. It's odd how death is coming, at the same time too soon and too slowly.
Most of the time, I am also ready. Or I tell myself that I am. But the loss of him surges over me unexpectedly and at the most ordinary moments. I'll be getting in the car, or waiting for an elevator, or watering the plant on my desk, and suddenly the emptiness inside me is too big for my body to hold. And I'm not ready. I will never be ready, and it will always be too soon.