Tuesday, May 08, 2012


“So that’s definitely him?” a nurse asks my brother-in-law, as if the hysterical sobs indicate otherwise.

We are handed a bag of “personal effects”.  The clothes he was wearing that day (shorts - it was a beautiful, warm, sunny day and his shoes, but they must have had to cut or rip open his shirt because it is not in the bag) as well as his glasses, wallet, keys and a ring.  Personal items that belong to a person who is no more.

We arrive at his apartment and although I know which apartment is his in the building I do not remember the number on the door.  I insert the key into the lock and can’t help but feel like I’m trespassing, invading his privacy.  It’s my Dad’s place, but my Dad is not with us and is not inside. 

The living room is neat and tidy.  The plants are healthy and watered, there are photos of us – his family – on his wall.  The dining table has some papers and scribbled notes in his very distinguished and neat handwriting.  A red light flashes on the phone indicating that there are messages that will never be retrieved.

The coffee pot is half full – left over from the last cup of coffee he would have had that morning.  He loved coffee.  Toast crumbs can be found on the counter under the toaster.

A towel hangs on the back of the bathroom door that he would have used for his last shower that morning and his toothbrush and toothpaste are on the counter.  A plethora of prescription bottles litter the counter. Drugs that were supposed to help keep him alive.  I suppose they did their job for awhile.

The comforter is thrown back on the bed he slept in the night before.  Dirty clothes are in a basket and clean clothes are hung neatly and perfectly pressed in his closet.  He won’t wear any of them again. 

His office is furnished with a new desk, filing cabinets and chest of drawers there to help him work at the new business he was so excited about and had just started.  His filing is meticulously organized with every folder labelled and seemingly nothing out of place. 

It feels strange, odd, surreal, wrong to be in his place without him and knowing he will never be back to sleep, eat, brush his teeth, have a cup of coffee or watch TV.

We leave to go home but the emptiness of the apartment travels with me in my heart.

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