Reflecting back to one year ago today 3-7-11
my handsome dad long before illness
Exactly one year ago today, my father died. He had been sick for several years. He suffered from many issues. He had brain damage, seizure disorder, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, you name it. He progressively got worse over the years. Walking became difficult and he began falling a lot. He was basically house bound, unable to drive any longer. My mother stopped working on Fridays and would take him to his dr appts etc. One Friday last January at one of his appointments, he took a nasty fall and ended up breaking some ribs and puncturing his lung on the edge of a sofa in the waiting area. He went into the hospital that night and never came home again. He spent several weeks in the hospital which were always challenging for our family. He never wanted to be in the hospital any of the tons of times he was in… he would become belligerent and very unpleasant. He and I even got into a big argument and I didn’t go see him for several days. I thank God everyday that I put it aside and went back to keep visiting him.
He was finally moved to a rehab center and in the beginning he seemed to be improving. Much discussion was going on at that time between the three of us about a nursing home. I think in his heart, he knew he was probably never going to come home again. He was extremely proud and I think all the years of the illness and doctors and hospitals finally got to him. As quickly as he seemed to be improving, he started failing. My last visit to him at the rehab was 2 days before he passed. I remember all the emotions I was feeling like it was yesterday. They had to use this machine contraption just to get him out of bed as he had lost so much weight and strength. I could see the fear on his face as he was raised up out of the bed and into the wheel chair. I had to feed him his lunch; and although I had done this many times before somehow that day it felt different. He didn’t say much; nor do I think he could. He just looked defeated. He ate very little and then asked to be put back into bed. Before they set up the contraption thing to put him back into bed I had to leave as I knew I couldn’t watch it again. I told him I was going to get going and he looked at me and clear as a bell said “you know how much I love you, right?”
Those were the last words he ever spoke to me… I did not go to the rehab the next day. My mom visited him that day. On Monday morning around 4 AM I got a call from my mother. The rehab had called to say he was being transferred to the hospital because he was gasping for air and was unresponsive. I sped over to get my mom and we went to the hospital. We had to wait to see him at first as they were running a ct scan. When we were finally led into the ER, we turned the corner and there were 2 doctors standing at the door to his room and I knew at that moment that this was going to be it.
I walked into the room and there was my Daddy with an oxygen mask on gasping for air, staring straight ahead unable to blink or to respond to even us. They explained that his blood pressure was extremely low and that only medication was keeping it high enough for survival and that basically without it his chances of survival were very minimal. We knew it was time; my sister arrived and the three of us agreed and spoke to the doctors about stopping the medication and asked that they just keep him as comfortable as possible. We sat with him and talked to him and cried and told him it was ok to go. I told him his Mom and Dad were there waiting for him and our dog Mitzi who he adored. I told him there would be no more suffering or worrying about medications or falling or what would happen next.
My mom and sister spoke to him too. They left us all alone in the room and before long the monitor began to beep as his heart rate began dropping and the before we knew it, we all watched him take his very last breath and the lines on the monitor went completely flat. It was the single most difficult moment of my entire life. I knew then and know now that it was the right thing to do but the sight of him lying there knowing he was gone is something I see in my mind every single day.
I am so grateful that we could all be with him when he made his transition and his soul left his broken body to go on and live the life in Heaven that he was unable to live on Earth for so many of the last years of his life. I truly believe he knew we were there and it made it easier for him to let go.
Does it get easier? Some days it’s easier but the majority of the time it still feels like it was just a bad dream and he’s going to be sitting in his chair at my parent’s house when I walk into the living room. Losing my dad has felt like I lost an arm. That part of my heart where I held him so dearly is just empty now. I’m sad a lot and believe my heart will always be broken in a way. However I am grateful and feel lucky to have had him for the time that I did. His love was always unconditional and I know he will always love me and I truly believe that he is my angel watching out for me every day. He was not perfect, but he was mine and I will miss him every single day for the rest of my life… until we meet again Daddy. I will love you until the end of time… RIP Daddy 3-7-11