His lungs like exhausted fishermen drew in their glittering catch of oxygen and his heart called to the receding tides of the blood. His bony fingers curled around mine. I read from Mary Oliver how the soul may be hard, necessary, yet almost nothing, how we all know the sand is golden under the cold waves though our hands can never touch it. The hearing goes last, the doctor said. If you’re fortunate this happens only twice, as we have two parents, and although a measured number are called to bear the sorrow of a child passing, and although one spouse outlasts the other, all come in the end to this day that is broken in the middle, never to finish. My heart glowed like a well of clear water. There are no words for this communion, this hope that his eyes, turned from the sunny branches outside, could summon a vision of his loved ones, his wife of fifty years, his sister dead in childbirth before my time, souls knowing already this passage and awaiting him in whatever form of glory we the living can conjure for them: my brothers, me, our children, all the others still casting the nets of our breath, still sifting the golden sands. One time in his search for love after my mother died he told me it never ends. But it does. On a broken day the breath stops and the cells gently fall asleep and the soul, perhaps puzzled by this coming to rest of all the body’s small purposes, rises and looks on the silence and the dear souls drawn close and the great hovering angels. I sat alone with him until two heavy men in white shirt sleeves brought a collapsible cart and carried him down the dusty stairwell into the light, his face still wearing the mask of exhausted surprise. He left us a sweet generosity of spirit, to magnify the golden light we all carry inside, and the complications between parent and child, one person and another, the lost nerve-endings, the thoughts never finished, were carried away and composed and dressed neatly for our friends and neighbors to say goodbye to and rendered in the fire of the crematory to a small box of ashes to lie until the world is made anew next to my mother’s remains where the spring wind blows the catkins and pollen across the gray stones and ants build their tiny cities of dust.