He lit the cigarette with the automatic reflex he’d developed over the years, so I didn’t even notice it. I saw the sweep of his hand on the cigarette pack; but the extraction of the butt, the lighting of the stick, this was something I had seen thousands of times before, so I paid it no mind. Easter, 2001.

Then, a snap and a thud, and everything changed.

The lighter snapped shut, the cigarette pack plopped on the coffee table, and he goes, in response to no particular conversation: “so, here’s the deal, I have a tumor, and it’s malignant, and they’re gonna operate next week to remove it. The good news is, they’ve caught it early”.

Always the salesman, he was.

Three years of life have elapsed since the two year prediction I got three years ago. But all good things come to an end.

My dad died today.

He died peacefully, surrounded by people who love him. Other people who love him arrived later. Other people who love him called. I, for one, cracked a few jokes. It’s my way.

Good night, Dad. I love you. Rest easy.