Perhaps there will come a moment when you will look back on how you handled things with your father--and see it all differently.
A body that was broken and full of disease...essentially a pain-filled prison of suffering holding what was vital captive. WHY do humans so adamantly see maintaining THAT as "living"? I see a massive heart attack...a major stroke as the body in the act of loosening the bonds. If other humans, thinking to "save a life" did not interfere, that which is vital in the body would be free--which, perhaps, is what happened during the night when you were not available to stop it.
I am reminded of a line in "Ole man river" from the broadway musical "Showboat". It's, "I'm tired of living and scared of dying."
These are valid points to consider, guys. Which I did, because I knew my Dad. He did have a "No Heroic Acts" written provision, that I didn't violate.
But that was intended if he had gone into a vegetative or comatose state, and/or had to be kept on life support. He was fully conscious with each of his heart attacks, apparently even his 6th & final, when the evidence suggests he tried to make it to my bedroom for help, before he collapsed and died on the floor, about 4 AM, unheard by me.
No, Dad wanted to live. And he wasn't in a lot of pain. And **I** wanted him to live. Those last 6 weeks I had with him were our best ever, for both of us. We had never been so close together. Cooked for him, contracted with a private meal delivery service, went to restaurants with him that he always loved, right up until the day he died. Also took him to bars, especially the club the local American Legion Post ran, where he usually had a beer with his WWII buddies and swapped old stories or discussed the news.
But I never drank in front of him once in my entire life, nor my Mother for that matter, who'd already died 4 years earlier. I'd have Cokes. Funny, right? I was always a kid again with them. And he'd introduce me all around the Legion hall, as "my son the Colonel".
That would be difficult for me, to hold back my tears in front of his friends, because he had never expressed any real pride in me my whole life. Except, nearly 30 years earlier, when he'd dropped me off at the Army induction center after I enlisted as a Private. He stood on the sidewalk before I went inside and shook my hand, wished me luck. First time he'd ever done that in my life. And then he hardly ever discussed my military career with me again.
But my Dad wasn't like the photos here of Zsa Zsa. Weakened and thinner, yes, but not in pain, despite the cancer. His only real pain was when he had the heart attacks, which were slow and actually hard to diagnose as something less serious, no more than indigestion.
Only once did he start to fade away on me, and I could see his panic. And during those other times I wanted to relieve his pain & distress, and called 911. Each time he thanked me afterwards. And said once after returning from the hospital: "Bob, I overheard you on the phone with 911. Thank you very much. You were so calm and professional, not panicked, and knew exactly what to say. Where did you learn to do that?"
"Well, Dad, I was in the Army for 25 years and a Colonel, after all. You sorta pick that stuff up." Another one of our moments when I had to make an excuse to step away briefly and cry quietly in the hallway outside his room. Yeah, some brave Colonel I was.
I'm glad I handled his final days as I did, and I truly believe he was glad, too. We had good times and memories together those last weeks, things he would have been denied if he'd died sooner while I just stayed retired back in Seattle. I loved my Father, and this was my last gift to him.