We lost our dad last night around 6:45pm, and even though it was hard, it went in one of the most peaceful ways I could have imagined it going.
The night before, around 12:30 am, he had had an “episode” where he got worked up, his heart rate spiked, he was sweating and freaking out. He cried. I called my sister and brothers, and we all were here clear up until he passed last night, along with the nieces and nephews and grandbabies. We sort of kept a vigil over him, making sure he wasn’t in any pain or anxiety, and my mom noticed his heart rate was dropping pretty rapidly. We all gathered around his bed, and as my sister-in-law finished The Lord’s Prayer, he passed away. And the sun came out from behind the clouds, the first time all day. It was surreal. It was something that you might not believe unless you had been here.
There was something bigger than us here last night.
He is at peace. He is in no more pain. And he made it to June, just like he said he would.
I love you Dad. May you rest in peace.
June is going to be a rough month; I already know that. With so many things going on, it is going to be a time for many tears and smiles and laughs and hugs. I have to face the fact that my dad is not going to make it to July. And if he does, by some odd miracle, it is going to be the most exhausting and emotionally draining thing we have ever been through. It already is. He is in pain. Horrible pain that makes me even want to cry. He was always the strong one among us, never admitting when something hurts or aches. And now he moans because he is in constant pain. Every breath, every movement. The cancer has reduced this larger-than-life man to a weak and tired man, who just wants it to be over. It’s the most awful thing I have ever seen. More than once he has has said “Please just let me die.”
And there is aboslutely nothing we can do about it. We can’t make it go faster to save him from the suffering. We can’t hurry the cancer along or force it to make him stop breathing. We can only try to make it comfortable and as painless as possible, which is not an easy thing to do. The harder it gets, the faster I wish it would come. That sounds awful, but truly, he is suffering. I know that. He knows that. My mom and brothers and sister know that. If there was a way for him to just go to sleep tonight, forever, peacefully, I think we all would hold a small bit of relief in our hearts knowing that he is not in any more pain.
It will be sad. It will be hard. And people deal with this every day. They lose loved ones and somehow power on through the pain. So that is what we will do.
That is what Dad wants us to do.
You are my muse.
Please be gentle
with your scorching
+ running on 3 or so hours of sleep. Last night was just a restless one.
+ designing stamps for summer.
+ hoping the house stuff gets moving faster.
+ drinking water like a fish.
+ not concentrating any better.
+ thankful that I cut my hair. So easy. Even though I want a ponytail today.
+ craving a Snickers Blizzard. Weird.
+ daydreaming constantly about house plans and decor.
+ trying not to let small aggravations turn into big ones.
+ hating that stress has made my face break out.
+ intrigued by Amanda Bynes. Terrible, I know. But I can’t not be curious.
That sinking feeling that there is no fixing this,
no going back.
I imagine that this is what drowning feels like,
the suffocation of fighting
against such strong forces
that will ultimately win.
We know it will get us,
but we fight anyway.
We hang on until our fingers bleed,
and our hearts cry.
We didn’t get good news at the doctor appointment on Thursday like we had hoped. The doctor told us that not only had the chemo not worked, the tumors have grown significantly. The cancer is now in his bones, and it is weakening and breaking his ribs, which is causing so much of the horrible pain he has. His pain patches were increased, as well as his morphine intake, to help control the pain. There is no sense in suffering more than he already is.
We have decided to go with hospice care to help support us until it is his time to go. Nurses will come in periodically and are available 24 hours if we should need.
I am scared, like I said before. I am scared, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is ready. That is the only comforting part. He does not seem to be scared, just more ready to be done with the pain. Two different priests came, two of his favorites. I think he is at peace with dying, and both priests, Father Tim and Father Peter, helped him in a way that maybe I don’t understand.
So yes, we are on a different course now, one we knew we would have to take eventually but not this soon. Please keep my dad in your thoughts and hope for the least amount of pain possible for him.
I am sure most of us have a list of things that, if we could, we would change or do differently the second time around, or appreciate a little bit more. They say hindsight is 20/20, right? I have been trying to be better at soaking in the good moments and taking every single chance to make every minute a good one.
I don’t let my injury/paralysis stop me from doing what I want most of the time. I’ve been swimming. I rode a rollercoaster (probably never do that again, but hey I can say I tried). I ride in the Arctic Cat. We’re talking maybe about skiing next year (I’m not so sure snow will ever, ever, ever be my thing). But the thing I miss most about moving my legs is running. So simple, I know, but man, it was my way of relaxing. I miss that jelly-filled muscle ache of finishing a good long run. Of all things, I miss that most.
Things I miss:
+ running (duh)
+ the simple freedom of high school. It was so easy.
+ a valid reason to buy office supplies (now I just justify it as art?)
+ summers that didn’t seem to want us to overheat
+ not having bills (this adult thing is lame sometimes)
+ Rusty – best dog ever
+ my invincible attitude. I feel so high-strung sometimes now.
+ college. It’s where I really grew up.
+ riding bikes.
+ that silly feeling that comes in your chest when swinging too high at a playground.
Makinna is one of the prissiest, prettiest, sweetest little tomboys I know. She is witty and stubborn and super sensitive at times. She’s the girl with tap shoes on one day, and muddy cowgirl boots the next.
She turns six at the end of this week, but since her mom is working crazy overnight hours and weekend at the hospital, we celebrated early. And her princess party went off without any problems. The kids had tons of fun playing and being dressed up. They ate cake and ice cream and gorged themselves on candy and pink lemonade. So fun.
The bright tulle dresses were made by Ashley, and they are so cute! Itchy, I’m sure, but cute anyway. Pinterest FTW!
She was so embarrassed when everyone started singing.
This quote has become one of my favorites lately. It fits. It’s simple. It just about sums up things that brew inside of me perfectly. Especially the things that gather in my head at night when I am lying awake in the dark, hoping that I can fall deep enough into a sleep to ensure that the next day won’t be a complete drag at work.
Cancer is unforgiving. I never understood that before. I have known people with it. Known people who died from it. Known people who have been in remission for years. But I have never seen someone so close to me change so dramatically from it. I watch Dad change, feel good then bad, be confused and weak. I hear him quietly moan sometimes when he is in pain and refuses to admit it. And I will be honest about one thing: I am angry. Like turn-the-music-up-loud-and-SCREAM type of angry. Not that anybody deserves something so horrible, but especially not my dad. And I am scared. This is one of those things that I already know is going to break me. But on top of it all, I am hopeful. Things won’t ever really get better for Dad (maybe more comfortable but never better), but we can make them as good as they can be for the moment.
That’s all we can do.
I’m bad at this project. Really bad, especially in the sense that I haven’t even opened up my OLW binder since Dad’s cancer diagnosis.
There just doesn’t seem to be much wishing that can be done to fix cancer. I suppose I wish I had chosen the word hope because I find myself clinging to it much more these days. Hope is the same kind of uplifting word, but it fits my situation much better right now. It gives me a bit more comfort and calm.
One Little Word is done for me right now. I can’t concentrate on it. I can’t focus. And frankly, I don’t have the time or energy to worry about it. Maybe I will go through and print all the handouts and get back to it later, but for now, the wishing is halted.
Thank you for all the good thoughts and prayers that have come in also. My family appreciates them very much.