Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Waiting for death...
He is truly the picture of health, happiness, and life.
He is a provider and he is a protector.
He is the one who gave his name to me, a scrawny hell-on-wheels 3-year-old, more than 44 years ago.
He disciplined me (some years more than others).
He taught me the lessons that a daughter is supposed to learn from her dad. (But it should be noted that he NEVER made me change my own tires because he thought that was his job to do those kinds of things FOR us!)
He encouraged me and he supported me in every crazy idea I had over the years, without question and without judgment.
He was there for me as the ONE CONSTANT MAN in my life for the last 44 years. Husbands and significant others may come and go throughout life, but a daughter's daddy? Well, that is something so real, so lasting, that only death can take it away...
But the man lying in front of me, moaning as he gasps for breath every 30 seconds or so, is not this man that I have described above.
You see, my dad already told all of us goodbye.
He held each of our hands, he looked in each of our eyes, and he made sure that he knew that each of us was going to be ok once he was gone.
He was at peace.
But that was last Thursday.
Those were the last words he spoke to any of us.
On Friday he slipped into a coma-like state so that now the only way we know he is still physically there is through the sound of his constant gasps and rattles as he grabs at those precious vapors of oxygen.
His eyes are fixed.
He doesn't see us anymore.
His body is contorted in what looks like pain, but we are learning from our Hospice support team that it's his body's way of finding physical comfort.
I massage his hands.
I rub his feet
I touch his forehead and I clean his matted eyes.
I continually tell him that I love him and that it's ok for him to go to mom now... I encourage him to stop fighting this... I actually plead with him to find rest. But here we are, 6 days later, and he is still lying in that bed, doing his best to cross over from this life to the next.
I. Am. Helpless.
I stay busy.
I sort through old photographs and organize details for the service we know is coming soon.
I answer messages and phone calls to give the same update each time on his condition.
I organize paperwork that we will need once he is actually gone from us.
I just stay busy.
And I do my best to keep this picture of him in front of my mind... because this is what my DAD looks like. I just have to keep reminding myself of that each time I walk in to sit by his side...