The Strength Of A Child's Love

I'm sitting on the floor of my bedroom next to my dying husband's hospital bed. I have to type one-handed on my phone because I'm using the other to balance the foot he keeps trying to fling out of bed every time he bolts upright unable to breathe or in pain or scared or agitated or I don't know what because he lost the ability to communicate coherently sometime in the past twenty-four hours.

On the queen- sized bed we used to share, my friend who has selflesslessly spent weeks by my side is asleep for a few minutes before our next round of bedding changes, morphine doses, and the never-ending quest of trying to make Bob comfortable by guessing what he wants/needs.

There's also this stoic energy in the room that sits alongside the other side of Bob's hospital bed in her father's Lazyboy chair. It's just past midnight, but her eleven-year-old eyes show no signs of growing tired of wiping her dad's forehead or fetching his medicine.

And then, as the night wears on, our son takes his sister's place at his father's side. He lays his cool hand on Bob's sweat-soaked head. He tells him about the online game they used to play together, how he's teaching spells to our friend, and new games he's playing -- always keeping one hand on Bob's head.

My children, who've expressed their fear of having their father die at home, are sitting vigil at his bedside as he draws his final breaths. No one asked them to come into our room. In fact, until now, they've spent little time in here, especially our son. I wonder if they sense it -- this most simple part of being animals -- the end.

I don't know how long it will be, but I know it will be.