He'd beaten it once four years earlier, only to watch it come back in a different place.
He died on a Friday night in a big hospital bed with me and two of my siblings racing to get there on time. We didn't.
There is a debate as old as time about which is more difficult and which is preferred: To lose a loved one suddenly, in instantaneous ways like car accidents, plane crashes, or in some other suddenly-your-life-is-very-different sort of moment. Sadly you don't have a chance to say goodbye or I'm sorry or I'll see you soon.
Or is it easier in the long-steps way, where you watch your loved one slowly fade from this life to the next, often in pain, sometimes great pain, sometimes straddling the veil? Yes, sometimes it's a painful goodbye. But it is, if nothing else, a chance to say goodbye.