In my father’s last days, his hunger vanished.
As he shrunk like a hollowed out husk, his spirit being gathered by the very hand of God, his appetites died within him. The hospice nurse handed me a pamphlet about the stages of death and closed her palm gently over the back of my hand.
“Fluid and food decrease. Your loved one may want little or no food or fluid. The body will naturally conserve energy required for the task ahead. Food is no longer needed. As the end-of-life physical changes occur, your loved one is completing important work on another level. Emotional and spiritual changes may be manifested. An IV can be used for your loved ones comfort if oral intake is not possible. Loss of appetite is one of the final stages of death.”
Skilled hands slipped on latex gloves and threaded an IV into his veins to keep him hydrated and to limit pain but his lips had already spoken their last words and eaten their last bites. His eyes never opened again.
He slipped easily from consciousness into a hushed body I no longer recognized as my dad.
I didn’t know my dad without his appetite for life.