We sat on the edge of the bed, my father and I. He had suggested that we watch the clock turn to 5:55. Patterns in numbers have always interested him, be it a clock or an odometer. We still had a few minutes until the three red numerals became identical, and we talked about things as they once were, and about his father. We talked of life, and how he was proud of his children, and how my mom was recuperating from her own health challenges.
Minutes earlier I had lifted my father off the bathroom floor, his legs no longer able to hold him up as they had for the last eight decades. But now as the clock turned to 5:55, we both knew it was time. Time to let others help him with things that were once easy, once simple, and once done without effort.
I will treasure this moment with my father, our talk of happier times. And as the clock changed to 5:56 I helped him back under his covers, tucked him in, and gently kissed his cheek.