One night last October my father came home late from a meeting, talked with my mother for a few minutes in the living room, and went up to bed. She says he looked as beautiful as ever. When she came to bed an hour or so later, he was asleep. Somewhere around dawn, he died.
For years I’d tried to brace myself against my father’s death. He was nearly 40 when I was born—a generation older than the parents of most of my friends—so almost from the beginning, I thought of him as an old man. He smoked three packs a day; every morning his coughing rocked the house. During the last five or ten years, I found myself terrified whenever the phone rang at an unusual hour; and when I was with him I would treasure the moment as profoundly as I could, because I could never forget that he wouldn’t be with me forever. Sometimes, sitting with my...
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