Monday, March 19, 2012

Watching Him Die



My father lost his battle today.  When I drove here yesterday, I knew that he would not ever be cured of his illness, but I did expect we would recover enough to go home.  Over the less than 24 hours I was here with him, my mother and my sister, it became clear he was not going to get better and he was declining fast. 


It was time to let him go.  He had been sick for a long time.  His body was so battered and tired.   He had lost the will to go on.


My dad was no wussy.  When I say he has been sick for a long time I am talking about decades.  A string of problem over the years that alone would not have been so bad, but he either had them at the same time or in rapid succession.  Yet, he found the strength to work a 50 hour work week.  He was constantly fixing things around the house.  Working on the cars.  Taking care of this and that.  All of it with a cloud of sickness hanging over his head.


He never complained.  He never stopped.  He just did what he had to do to give my mom, my sister and me a good life.


Now he was done.  He simply could not fight on anymore.  He was ready to die.  We let him go. 


We told he doctors.  They agreed and made some final preparations.  When they were done, they led us into his room.  He was sort of sitting up.  He was not aware of our presence since he was sedated.  He was breathing on his own but it was irregular.  The doctors assured us he was comfortable and would not be feeling any pain.  


His breathing stopped.  Then started again.  It was like watching someone with sleep apnea, when they stop breathing briefly as they sleep.  


Then he took his last breath.


I watched the color drain from his face.  I had never seen someone die before.  I hope I never see it again.


My dad was gone.  He was not in pain anymore.  He was free.


I will miss my dad.  He was a really smart guy and we had lots of good conversations.  I was not very close to him as a kid, but the relationship improved a lot once I became an adult.  Before he got very sick, he made an effort to be a good grandfather to my kids, and my sister's kids.  He would get on the floor and play trains or cars with them.  My kids will miss their Papa.


When I came out, he accepted me right away.  He met T the next day and commented to me privately that he thought T was a, "nice young man".  (At the time T was 41)


This coming Saturday would have been his 68th birthday.


Godspeed Dad.  We love you.

8 comments:

Buddy Bear said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Nenne said...

This is hard and you have my deepest sympathy.

JFBreak said...

I am very sorry for your loss and appreciate the words you have written about the end of the road for your father.

Be well.

Anonymous said...

Please accept my condolences. The death of a parent can be one of life's hardest experiences. It's a milestone of sorts. I'm glad you were with him. Take comfort in having known his love
Donna

Anonymous said...

You touch a lot of people with your blog, I'm sure most don't comment or let you know they read what you write.
This post moved me to tears, as we all have to deal with loss at some point in our lives. I am sorry you lost your dad too soon and wish you peace and comfort in the coming days.
-Iris

Anonymous said...

Prayers and blessings for you and your father and mother. I truly believe in the Blessed Realm. Ron

Biki said...

Im ever so sorry for you loss. It sounds like you and your dad had a good and strong relationship. How wonderful that he accepted you and T with out any heart burn.

hugs for you gentle friend

TwoLives said...

Jim,

I'm so sorry about your dad.

It's sometimes difficult to know what to do to help at a time like this. Perhaps the best thing you can do is to be certain your mom has a strong support system. Losing your dad is going to be a huge adjustment. I'm sure she'll miss him terribly and she'll need the family's support over the coming weeks and months.