You don't know what it is to meet the cold, dark whiteness of a hospital ICU room until you walk in one night, pleading in your heart for the impossible and finding the inevitable. "Your father didn't make it," the nurse tells you. You can become very cold and callous about accidents and obituaries until you are in the center of this horrible, bloody business of death. Then you lose control and you stand stunned and you want terribly to wake up from this unspeakable nightmare. But you can't wake up no matter how hard you try and white uniforms and mumbled concern and antiseptic smells blur in your mind. It can't be true that your father is dead and you pray desparately the whole thing is some ghastly joke and everything will be just fine. But he is dead and nothing will be just fine, ever again. It is all over between you and he, those many years of tears and laughter, heartache and joy. This is your father under that starched hospital sheet, covered up forever from the harsh glance of life. It is the man who gave you life. The eyes that are closed now, were the ones that stayed open each evening watching the History Channel, reading the newspaper from want ads to the marriage licenses, paying close attention to those he knew. They are the eyes, the blue beautiful eyes, that cried so piercingly when his own father died. This is the mouth that talked with you and kept all your secrets inside and told you once that you had always been a joy to him. It is the same mouth that kissed you the day before this nightmare and thanked you for helping him to make the Thanksgiving turkey. These are the hands that taught you how to write your name and tie your shoelaces and dress yourself. They are the hands with the thin gold wedding band, worn down after so many years of marriage. And these are the feet that sometimes walked to your grammar school to take you out for hot turkey lunch, something none of the other kids did. They are the feet that stood so many times by your sick bed and waited until you came back from surgery. These are the arms that encircled you when you cried over a dead turtle or a bruised knee or the horrible tragedy of a broken romance. They are the arms that washed and ironed your clothing and did a million things that you never bothered to thank him for. And here are the shoulders where you rested during your inconsolable sorrow when he told you that time would heal all wounds and joy would come again. It is hard to believe that now. It is hard to believe that these are the knees that cradled you as a child and gave you the safest haven in the world. His lap was the place where he taught you and your sister how to read by going through the comics every night and explaining all the words. This is the man who spent his life loving and living for his children and his friends. He is the one who occasionally lost his temper and never held a grudge or said an unkind word about anybody. He is the father who helped you and your brother and sister through every sorrow and laughed with you through every joy. Here is the man who succeeded in loving his children as individuals and showing favoritism to none. And now, in this cold darkness of a hospital ICU room, there is no one to console you anymore. There is only blinding lights and starched uniforms and antiseptic smells. Your father does not belong in this place like this, but he is bruised and broken and gone forever. You cry because you were not there to console him. And you never had a chance to thank him or to say good-bye.