My father was complaining this afternoon that there’s a lot of blood in his mouth today. It’s been getting worse the last few days he mumbled, and today was particularly bad.
“What do you think this is Teddy? Do you think there is anything, anyone can do about it?”
I squirmed a little on the couch next to him…not sure of what to say…the truth?
“I don’t think there’s anything anyone can do at this point. I think it’s the tumor starting to break through.”
Quiet. Pause. My father nodded slowly.
He knew too.
I sat quietly as my father drifted in and out of sleeping, sometimes alert and checking his phone, other times completely unaware of anything going on around him.
A friend came by to visit, which made him happy, but then he continued to slip in and out of sleeping.
A sports news show talking about the hiring of the new Oakland Raiders coach hummed a quiet reminder of a future my father will never see.
My father woke up.
“I think the Raiders are going to be a better team this year. They might even go 6-10, maybe even a little better.”
My father nodded.
“I’m guessing Tennessee Titans will be the worst team in the league next season, though I don’t think they’ll be any totally shitty team like there’s been the past few seasons.”
Total shit teams are bad for my father’s Club. Too easy for people.
My father smiled, knowing none of it matters to him anyway. But thinking about next season made him happy for a brief moment, a reminder of a ritual he’s carried out many times over the last thirty years.
“I’m trying to make it to the Super Bowl.”
I never thought he would make it even this close. *None* of his doctors did either.
“I know you are Paw. I know you’re trying to make it to the Super Bowl. I hope you do, but I also know that’s perhaps selfish. I see how much pain you’re in. I know it’s excruciating pain. It’s okay if you want to let go Paw, it’s okay to let go.”
And with that, he closed his eyes again, resting, sleeping, (unconscious?).
Then he opened them. He made a firing a gun like motion to his brain.
“Teddy, I wish I had a gun.”
He fired his imaginary gun again.
“Paw, you don’t want to go out that way.”
“Would you do it? Would you do it for me?? Would you please do it for me??”
Okay. Now I was super super uncomfortable. I felt like he was asking me the most ridiculous question on the planet and there was absolutely no right way to answer this question.
Besides the obvious absurdity of the question–we’re in Canada, there are no guns–I’ve never even punched someone, *ever* in my life, even people who have wronged me very badly, so what now, at 39 years old, I would shoot the only close family member I have???
“Yes Paw, if you need me to, I will.”
He nodded. Satisfied. Good.
The last lie I’ll probably ever tell my father. The last lie I’ll ever tell.
And then he fell asleep again.