Well, I'm online so late that it actually happened yesterday. May 7, 2007 my father died. I was lucky enough to be with him for the last day. I spent the morning alone with him so my step mom could go to church. She had been missing it since Dad was too ill to go, and I told her I'd come down to stay with Dad. I'm so glad I did. My step sister called to tell me how worried she was, and asked if I could stay and help a little more. I visited Dad a few days before and knew how bad he was getting. The hospice told us it would be about three weeks, and it was about one. Dad wasn't responding to us at all on Sunday. On Sunday night, a friend who is a nurse came by and helped us roll him over, and she got a nod when she asked if he was in pain. We had stopped giving him his medication, and he was taking some pretty heavy pain meds. We gave him some morphine and he nodded when we asked if he felt better. We rolled him back and settled him in for the night. My step mom wanted to sleep in the bed with him as she had for over thirty years. She kissed him goodnight and he kissed her back. The only real response we got from him at all. I tucked him in and told him not to steal all her covers. He gave a little nod. I told him that I loved him and would see him in the morning. He tried to say something, but it was just too much for him.
In the morning he was gone. He was still warm. The hospice nurse came, and then the funeral home. when they took him away they left a red rose on the pillow. That started us crying all over again, not that we had really stopped. We spent the day cleaning. We just wanted to stay busy. Once we got going, the rug got shampooed, the whole house dusted and vacuumed, the bathrooms cleaned and the floors mopped. We were exhausted, but the day went by quickly. My step sister drove from about 6 hours away and got here just as the work was about done. She's a bit of a weeper too, so we all started up again.
They've gone to bed hours ago, and I'm supposed to be studying for a final in a couple days. Some things can't be put off, and Dad was very proud of me working on my masters degree. He finished high school at about 30 at night school, and I'm the first to go post grad in the family. He came to my graduation from college and was just as proud as could be. I was hoping he would see me get my MA, but another year was just too much for him.
Dad was something special. he married my mom at 16. They had four kids and divorced after 21 years. Then he married my step mom, who raised me through the hell of the teen years. I miss my Dad so much, but I also feel like I'm going to be losing a mom. She's going out west to live with her youngest daughter, and where she and dad lived for so many years. I understand why she's not staying here, but I know I'll probably never see her again once she sells the house and moves. She'll be halfway across the country. They've been close enough to share holidays with for the last few years, and I've tried to drive over at lease once a month just for a visit. Dad was a bit jealous because we get along so well, a lot like mother and daughter, and we share many of the same hobbies.
These next few days are going to be very hard, but I can get through. What am I going to do- NOT get through? My brothers are pretty far apart, and my sister is fairly close geographically, but distant emotionally. This could be the end of the family. We only ever got together to see Dad. We were together last weekend just for that purpose for the first time in about 10 years.
I'm feeling massive self pity- I miss Dad. I'm going to miss having a family around. All this weeping won't make Dad feel better, and it doesn't really make me feel better either. Dad was very devout, and there's been a load of praying lately. Most of my family is as well. I'm an atheist. Dad knew it, but was kind enough to not bring it up. He never pushed me to be anything, but I think he would have killed the fatted calf if I would have been "saved." Well, I can see why people turn to religion. It's easy to say all the bad things and bad choices you make in your life are part of "God's plan" and that those soothing "He's with God" saying are easier than finding something non-cliched to say. Dad smoked for the best part of 60 years. He died of lung cancer that spread into his bones and emphysema. If he would have quit smoking or never started, he would be alive today. Simple. No "God's will" in that. Why would it be any one's will to have Dad suffer the way he did? He was only 72, and his father lived past 80. He was healthy otherwise when he found out he had cancer. He could have had 10-15 more years. Good years. Am I angry at him? Not really. I'm not really angry with anyone. I'm just sorry that he was taken too soon by an illness that he could have avoided.
I think I'll try to study some more. Maybe another 1/2 an hour, then off to bed. The family will be descending tomorrow. First my brother, then another step sister flying in. Then another brother coming later. Then we are going to go see Dad one last time before the cremation. I might go home Tuesday night to see DH and DS. I miss them right now. Then I have a test to take and come back for the memorial on thursday. Then back home and I think I'll take friday off too. I have a second final to take before Sunday.
OK- enough rambling. Dad would kick my butt if I was slacking off.