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Thursday, November 24, 2011

I wanted to sing for my father as he lay dying

I wanted to sing for my father as he lay dying. I tried to sing for him, but I could not. Someone's radio was on in the ward and a lovely song from a film musical was being sung. Knowing it was one of 'my' songs, my father asked me to sing it for him. I tried. But I could not manage it because of emotion and tears. I tried, but I could not. He understood. But how I wish I could have sung to him!

When someone is near to death I think we should do anything they ask us to, if it is possible, especially if it is something really important to them, something they feel the need to get done before they die, something for which they are using their last precious hours and breath. I loved my father very much but I was young and foolish, and when he wanted to talk to me about some things that he wanted to be done after his death I interrupted him, passionately saying that he mustn't talk about dying: he wasn't going to die. But he knew he was dying. I should have heard him out. There can surely be no more appropriate time to talk of dying than when death is near. - If not then, then when? What needs to be said remains unsaid.