I’ve spent the better part of the last year trying to deal with the fact that my father is dying. Now that I’m finally starting to come to terms with that reality, I realize that he is not so much dying as just… fading.

Every time I see him, he’s a little less real, a little less in touch with this world (and that’s saying a lot, because even for a professor of religion, he was always pretty out there.) He’s eating less, remembering less, reading less… he’s just, well, less. Every day.

And then, perhaps someday soon, he will fade away completely.

This makes me want to curl up in a little ball on my couch right now and not move for a very long time. But I’ve fought that urge so far, and I can continue to do so now. Short of that, what else is there to do? I guess continue to do as I did today – sit next to him, content to just be in his presence, and every so often, reach out a hand to make sure that yes, he’s still really there. Repeat again in about five minutes’ time. And again.

One day, I will reach out my hand and there will be nothing there. But that day is not today.