Three weeks before he passed away, three weeks before Tuesday 31 December 2013, we all knew where Dad was heading. We didn't speak of it but we all knew. We kept it to ourselves. Not out of fear; not because voicing it made it any more real. But I do think I was protecting my Mum. She was almost certainly shielding me from that particular truth.
One week before, I asked Mum directly: just how serious WAS this? I felt it was time. From her reply, it was clear that she wasn't expecting him home. Infected, his chest was just one ailment tugging at his already tired body.
Recognising the inevitable, the imminent, was a good thing.
When I last saw my Dad, on Sunday 15 December, he was as frail as I'd ever seen him. He was suffering, he felt rotten, he was groaning and miserable. I fed him a little breakfast and then I just sat with him, holding his hand.
This was an unprecedented act of intimacy between Dad and I. And then, sensing he wanted me to, I prayed with him.
That was the closest we have ever been, the last time we were together. I don't say that to leave a cloud of sadness in the air (although that is perhaps, unavoidable). Far from it. I see that moment as a blessing; the memory of it brings only comfort. And a smile.
It's his funeral today. RIP Dad.