Thursday, September 20, 2012

That day

I woke up, answered my phone to the generic hospital number. Not good! A doctor with a thick accent told me there was not much more that could be done and that they would like the next if kin to please come to the hospital.

That wasn't a huge surprise. For the two weeks preceding this phone call there were signs that my dad would not be going back home. It looked like now would be the time to jump in the car alone for the two and a half hour ride to be with my dad for the end.

I fought the wave of nausea as I headed down his hall and entered his room. I greeted him and kissed him. His eyes opened to tiny slits for a brief moment. He knew I had arrived.

For the next several hours I sat with him. Held his hand. Told him stories of the day and of the kids. One point in that he fluttered. An acknowledgement of awareness. The last I would ever receive. And it was about his grandbabies. A perfect gift.

The clock dragged around and around the circles. Doctors, nurses, hospital chaplains and grief counselors all came in to talk to me.

Nothing more we can do. Won't be going home. Does he have a dnr? What would he want done ?

My mind was swimming. My head still bald from my own chemotherapy treatments. I guess he would want to be comfortable at this point. We never talked about that. With men of that generation there was a lot you didn't talk about.

I decided on palliative care. Basically in hospital hospice. I've never had a longer walk than the one behind his stretcher, holding his meager bag of belongings; headed to a room that would be his last stop on earth.

The new nurse oriented me to the new floor. The floor people go to die. She got him an oxygen mask to keep him from struggling to get air. She showed me the pull out bed and the shower room and the remote for the tv. And then she left.

I sat for a good hour telling my dad all kinds of stuff. Stories. Memories. Fears. Bible verses. I held his hand. Stroked his hair.

My aunt called from the car. She and my uncle were on their way. I needed to talk to her. Cry. Be afraid. It was scary being alone in that room. What would death look like? What if he needed something I couldn't do for him? How could he leave me?

As I hung up the phone with her and took his hand I realized his breathing was different. I took a moment to kiss him. To tell him to run to Jesus and that he was waiting for him. I assured him I would be ok. I hit the nurse call button and realized it was just the oxygen machine working, not my dad.

There I stood totally alone for the next two minutes until the nurse joined me. I know God was there and within minutes God would provide my sweet friend Sarah to hug me and sit for the next hour until I was ready to leave that death room.


It's been a long hard year. I miss my
Mom and dad. There is so much I want to catch them up on. I still have bad dreams about that day at the hospital. September 20,2011.

Jesus has been gracious over and over again. But today I'm sad. And wishing I still could hug my mommy and daddy!


betseykerr said...

Oh, E. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish I could hug you right now. Hugs and lots of prayers to you today and everyday. I has been a very long and difficult couple of years for you. You are always in my thoughts. love u. Betsey

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Praying for you and your family.

Michele Braceros

The Halters said...

I'm with you, girl. My dad moved to heaven 9/19/2010. We were with him as his body diminished from that Wed. to Sun. bittersweet. Hard day and probably always will be. We just hold on to the promise of meeting again. Love to you.

ktc said...

beautiful... and so hard.... it's really been a hard couple years, my friend!! love you!

Lauren K said...

Just breaks my heart, thanks for sharing such an honest and treasured memory of those final few moments with your dad.

Sadee said...

So beautiful. So, so sad you can't hug them.
Praying for you and your family this morning!

Christine said...

Elizabeth, I found your blog a while ago while looking for a way to contact you after I learned of your dad's death. I talked to him a few months or so before he died. He told me about your cancer but seemed to be doing okay. Of course, he missed your mom but was hopeful you would have a full recovery. We wanted to stop to see him on our next trip up to Ohio, but that never happened.

I want you to know that someone in your dad's family remembers you and prays for you and your family. Please just know we care. Your folks were so good to my mom and my mom loved you all. I remember our lunch with you and your mom after your first baby was born. I have a couple of pix. Let me know if I can send them to you and to where. Please feel free to contact me any time I'll gladly give you my phone number when you do.
I wish you the best, peace and love.