“You’re pretty fast on your feet, kid,” says Dad when I get back from calling the nurse.
“Almost as fast as your father on the way to the beer parlour for 10 cents a glass,” he says.
It’s our second night together in Palliative Care. I walk the halls in pajamas and bare feet.
“I was having a sweet dream,” he says to the nurse as she takes away his troubles and I climb back into bed.
“Is that my daughter over there?” he asks pointing at me in the low light.
“I’m going nuts,” he says before I get up again and reassure him it’s me.
“Are you okay now Dad?” I ask before the nurse leaves the room.
“As soon as I see these beautiful women I feel better,” he says.
I kiss him goodnight.
“You get more and more beautiful,” he says to my eyes.
“Pain,” yells Dad. I’m up and off again for a nurse.
Waiting for her to bring him more meds, I lay down and sing for him, ‘Lord I’m coming home.’
Distracted, Dad joins me in song and then goes quiet.
We look at each other from where we lay. He waves at me. I wave back.
“What am I going to do without you, Katie?” he asks.
“I’m right here,” I reply.
“You look like my daughter,” says Dad the third time I call for the nurse in the night, “Is that you Katie?”
“What are you doing here with an old man like me?” he asks as the nurse comes into the room.
“Would you like me to move you into a more comfortable position?” asks the nurse.
“I’m comfortable looking at my beautiful daughter,” he says.
She slides him into place and tucks him in.
“Just so I can see my daughter,” he says, “That’s all I need.”
Later that day, my nieces and nephew join Mum and me in Dad’s room while he sleeps.
They bring a Dutch Bakery Vanilla Slice Cake with my name on it.
Happy birthday to me.
I love and I am loved.
It is a gift.