Newspaper on the front step. Not a good sign.
I use my key to enter the locked garage, and knock on the back door. I use my key on the backdoor, calling out as I enter the kitchen.
The beep of the answering machine in the back room, my old room. And the obnoxious hiss of Dad's CPAP machine, in my brother's old room. Otherwise silence.
Two more bad signs.
I move back to my parents' room. Shades are drawn and the light is cold and dim. I come upon the best of the worst-case scenarios: Dad in bed, looking for all the world like he is merely sleeping, his Rosary in hand. It was his practice to pray the Rosary at bedtime. One might think that he would suddenly awaken, but of course he does not. He is gone. He is cold.
That, perhaps, is the most striking thing as I take his hand in mine: His hand is cold. My father's hands were always warm.
I sit with him awhile now. There is no longer any hurry.