It was a tough week emotionally, with hardly any sleep, as my sister and I were with my dad/papa when he lost his battle with cancer on Friday afternoon. We were blessed to be holding his hand (my hand on his heart) as he drew his last breath. Although I am a very pragmatic person and spent some of the past week writing lists of things to be done or thinking of things to add to the list, overall my time was spent in quiet with him. Yes, I also did laundry as I mentioned last week it is my bit of normalcy. At times, I had his favorite music playing or the TV on in another room so I could have background noise. On Friday afternoon I actually put the TV on in his room and started watching his favorite westerns on TV and held his hand so if he heard it made him happy. To be honest, he did fairly well up until Thursday as he argued with us about getting up and using the bathroom. At one point, he tried to run me over with his walker as he tried to get to the bathroom. He was a very stoic, tough, private man. We finally convinced him to us the commode chair next to the bed by convincing him my eyes were closed and I was not looking. That was the last time he was out of bed.
I do not know if you have ever had the blessing of watching someone transition, but it is beautiful and scary at the same time. The transition is not scary, but the time leading up to it can be or at least it was for me. I was afraid he was in pain as he hardly took any pain or comfort medications until Thursday. I did not expect some of the noises he made which made me think he was in pain, but in my heart I knew he was not. I talked to him constantly (probably drove my sister crazy) and let him know I would take care of everything. As I would mention my mom/mema, my sister or the grandkids he would smile or squeeze my hand.
As I have thought back over the last couple of weeks, I can almost pinpoint the day he gave up. As I mentioned previously, he was told in July that there was no more treatment as the cancer had spread. That was not good news, but he was still going along. I honestly believe the turning point came the day he said to me, "your mom is getting to the point where she is not sure who I am." I said, "it could be, as we knew it might happen, but she knows she loves you or she would not let you hold her hand." He seemed ok with my response, but I honestly believe that's when his appetite changed and he started the slide. After 60 years of It would have hurt him too much to watch her forget him so I consider it a blessing in many ways. After 60 years of marriage, his family grown and blossomed in so many ways, he decided somewhere down deep that enough was enough. He told me he had no regrets and had a good life (all any one of us can ask for). Papa has one aunt still living (can not travel), but she sent him a video and we showed it to him. He loved it and I could tell it really touched his heart. On Wednesday we had Lady up on the bed with him and papa petted her for a good long while.
As I write some of this my eyes are leaking a little, but I have always been able to write thoughts and emotions better than I can actually demonstrate them some times. I had my energy stones and guardian angel tucked into my bra all week (close to my heart) to keep me grounded. I still have them there and will probably keep them there for the next week or so. Thank goodness I have been learning more about energy and spirituality.
I do have a funny "life with papa" story to end the week. Saturday morning it was 44 degrees here. I took a really hot shower and as I was getting ready one of the light bulbs blinked at me and I heard, "turn on the damn heat would ya!" I almost burst out laughing as that was the one thing papa and I argued about all the time was the heat. I know I responded, no way, its only September 2nd. He gave me my laugh when I needed it (by the way, I did not turn on the heat).
I did not read a lot this past week, but I did finish: "FINDING YOUR SPIRITUALITY" by Heather Keay. It's her personal journey of unlocking her spiritual gifts. I loved it. I think I'll keep this one as I want to read again as there is more to learn. What are you reading?
I must give a big THANK YOU to the hospice folks who were here when we needed them. Barbara, Kellie, Bill and Kayla (sp?) all took such great care of papa and made sure he was comfortable and guided us as well. When I called to tell the office of his passing, Barbara and Kellie were at the house within 20 minutes to handle the rest of what needed to be done. They told me I did not want to be there for a few minutes so I took Lady for a long walk.
I will say our family made the decision not to tell my mom/mema about my papa's passing. Yet, from what I was told about her wording and such on Friday night and her way when I saw her yesterday, I would say she knows. I do believe he reached out to her and is standing watch so to speak.
For those wondering about Lady, I have to say she is a little lost. She stayed pretty close to papa all week. She wanders room-to-room sometimes looking for him and as I have starting moving things back to normal she just looks at me. She is hanging close by and even got up on the couch to cuddle earlier. Yes, I will keep her and take good care of her.
I also want to say THANK YOU for the outpouring of love and support my family and I have received since I posted on FB and made phone calls about papa. I am comforted by your words and actions.
I am going to leave it here for today. I hope this post contained something that resonates with you. I'm going to do more laundry or clean something. I hope you have a blessed week. Chat soon. Marie
"I love you every day. And now I will miss you every day." Mitch Albom
"A father is one of God’s first gifts to our hearts and his love stays with us always." – Holley Gerth
"Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever." - Anonymous