It is impossible now to recapture, let alone recount, the thoughts and emotions that washed over and through me as I sat on the edge of that old bed with my father's cold hand in mine. Sorrow that he had died alone. Relief that he had died in his own bed, in relatively good health. Sadness that there were so many unsaid things. Joy that we had always been close and had grown even closer in the years since Mom's death. Shock at realizing that, at the most fundamental level, I was now alone. the two people who had always been the constants in my existence now both departed. Despair at thinking that there were so many other things, so many more things I should have done. I should have known. I should have been there.
And yet it is as it is.
And my father was an intensely proud, independent, and private man. If he had been given a choice, this would have been it: In his own home, in his own bed, quietly.
Still. As I would say to my brother when I called him a few minutes later, I wasn't ready for this.
A year later I'm still not.