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A modern ghost story

I told everyone that my father was dead. The ghost was easier to live with than the transience of the man

By David Rose   May 1999

I stand at the foot of my father’s bed watching him slip in and out of consciousness. His breathing is painful and erratic as saliva escapes from an opening at the bottom of his oxygen mask. I follow its path on to his neck and chest before it disappears under his pyjama jacket. The ward smells of sweat and shit and reconstituted mashed potato. I know this smell from my days as a hospital technician in Liverpool. It is the smell of the terminally ill.

The nurses move around quietly and easily because death is not something that should be…

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