Last night I had a dream. I was home with my family, my father was walking around with his cane and it all seemed perfectly normal. Then a few moments later during the same day, in the same dream, I don’t know how but I knew my father had died. I got scared. I kept on repeating, “Twenty-eight years… I’m not going to see him ever again…” and I truly felt helpless at the idea of such a sudden loss. Then I woke up and looking around I saw Kátur the dog sleeping by my side at the foot of the bed. And I remembered.
I remembered my father has been dead for over two years now. I wasn’t going to lose him anymore. What also came back to me at that point was a flashback of his last days: my vacation to Paris – first vacation in four years – interrupted by a call from my mother, the frantic search for a last-minute flight, the terror but at the same time the selfish hope of not making it in time. But I did make it in time. And when I made it to the hospital, my father was in a pharmacological coma, with tubes and machines attached to his body to keep him alive. He was obviously not responsive; he was a bit cold and one of his eyes was semi-opened: in its yellow dullness, that was indeed the eye of a dead person.
To this day whenever it happens to me to think about the image I keep among my memories of that yellow eye, I feel like I am being sucked into a void of uneasiness. I can’t even breath for a fraction of second. The last moments we spent together, I told my comatose father about Icelandic horses. I don’t know why I thought about such a subject at the time. We – Harry and I – had read a few articles about Icelandic horses before. We had seen pictures, too. I had a wallpaper on my desktop representing Icelandic horses in black and white. We were planning to move out of the country together, but my father’s prolonged illness and finally his death made it impossible. So that day of summer 2008 I was alone – if you except an old woman in another bed – with my father in the intensive care room, and I didn’t know what to talk about. It felt awkward to talk with him, in that situation, knowing we had never really gotten to know each other in spite of all things we had shared, but I knew that was the last chance I would be given. So I squeezed his hand and I told him stories about Icelandic horses. I told him how thick their fur is and how they spend their long winters; I described the images of Icelandic wilderness, even though at the time I hadn’t been in Iceland yet.
My father remained perfectly still, but the machines he was attached to emitted beeps whenever I was addressing to him in particular or whenever I said anything particularly cute or bizarre. “Everything is going to be alright,” were my parting words. My father died that night and, especially now that I am here, I like to think his last moments were populated by images of Icelandic horses.