I’ve been at a couple of deathbeds over the years, visiting family, attempting to comfort or joining in small talk to provide an emotional and mental break. But I’d never been present at the moment of death. This changed on February 21, 2019. Early that evening my wife and I watched my mother take her last breath. We watched as she slipped away—her life, her color––gone within moments.

This week I found myself working on an early draft of the first death scene I’ve written since. This fictional scene is the death of a patriarch, his wife and children all gathered around the bed. The eldest child, a son, arrives last. Conversation, the last words, the last moment.

Yet again, difficult life experience proves valuable when writing fiction.