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81–Awake and waiting.
To die in bed – your own bed, or a loaner, but in your space – is a triumph. A shitty triumph, but a triumph nonetheless.
Everyone’s life — if you’re paying attention — is filled with personal symbols.
Repeating numbers. Places you return to. Significant objects that appear and reappear.
For some reason, with my father, one such symbol was his bed.
Where, as a little guy, I woke him with a single tap to the forehead every night so he’d pull out a futon for me to sleep the second half of the night on the ground next to him.
Where, as a teenager, I’d find him wide awake and waiting when I came home from an evening out, ready to ask from the pitch dark of his bedroom about what I did and who I saw and to ensure I was OK.
Where every morning around 4 or 4:30 am, he’d stir and then sit up, spend a few minutes staring into the darkness, and then rise to piss and shower, make tea and toast, and head out into his day.
No surprise, then, that when he got sick, much of his life centered around the bed: the one that sat upstairs in California, the one that was just a mattress on the floor in Beachwood, the plush new one in the center of the newly built addition on the farm, the enhanced hospital bed on loan from hospice that we put right beside it.
To die in bed – your own bed, or a loaner, but in your space – is a triumph.
A shitty triumph, but a triumph nonetheless.
The site of this poem is his bed. The one in Beachwood; the mattress on the floor. It was written right around the time his use of the bed – his need for it – shifted.