losing my daddy

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I am up in Virginia with my dad who has taken a severe turn for the worse. He is no longer able to get out of bed and is drinking water through a dropper, one teaspoon at a time. If we don’t time even that right he chokes on it. He’s not long for this world. He has a parade of guests coming every day, bringing food, wanting to pray over him or tell him what he’s meant to their life. I can go a long time without crying but when I see someone crying over him I start to cry. I’ve been here almost a week, and even in that week he’s taken a big drop in ability each day. Tuesday he ate a quarter of a cheese burger and three fries for dinner. He ate about four tablespoons of ice cream. He drank sweet tea with a straw. Wednesday he answered questions about his favorite day of his life and the day he was the bravest. (I have six more questions but it’s clear we won’t get them answered now, it’s too late.) Thursday he ate pudding and coffee. During a hallucination he gave me an invisible camera and told me he wanted me to take pictures of Michael Jordan. I said I would get a ticket and go do that. He said “here’s the ticket, it’s to Chicago. Go take pictures of Michael Jordan.” then he started to dribble an invisible basket ball and saying “watch, watch me now!” as he dribbled the ball. At that point he was still able to use the urinal and refused to use the “fancy pants” we had put on him. Friday my dad held Sam (my 10 year old) and thanked God for Sam and Sammy’s good hugs, but then started talking about Sam like he was an old friend from Germany. Thanking God that he came all this way from Colorado, to give him a hug and for all his ministry to dad. Then dad held Jack and thanked God, again, for Sam being such a good hugger. Saturday dad wasn’t even having the hallucinations anymore. He did still seem confused though. He would wake up and ask “where am I?” I would tell him “you’re at home dad, in your bed. Remember the liver cancer? It’s made you real sick.” His only pain now seems to be when he has to urinate. The nurse will get a sample of urine this afternoon and put him on a liquid brood spectrum anti-biotics.
Also up here with me are my sister, her husband, my husband, all my guys and occasionally, our two brothers. My parents had built a small one bedroom “apartment” for my maternal grandmother, who lived with them for a few years before moving into a nursing home last year. The boys and I are staying in that apartment. My sister Lauren called in “Camp Whitley”. Lauren’s in-laws live literally two blocks away so she’s been staying there. Once Scott and Nathan head out she may come back over to the apartment with me but trying to sleep with four noisy boys may prove to be too much.

Typically, according to google, the next step for dad will be to go into a coma. That would last maybe a week before he passes. At this point I’m planning to stay through until after the funeral and depending on how mom is doing, a few days more. This means missing a lot of beginning of school events, but that’s a non issue. This is the right place to be, right now.

We are so thankful for all the friends who are bringing meals and sitting with dad. Just sitting by him, rubbing his hand and talking or listening to his breathing, is worth a million bucks. Now is the time to sit and reflect and remember. Now is the time to soak him up while we still can. It is boring, it’s unrewarding, but it’s absolutely the right thing to be doing right now.
Thanks friends for your continued prayers and gifts of meals. You are a blessing to us all!!

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4 responses »

  1. Unrewarding?? Not a bit. Your post tells how you’re being (and will be) rewarded. Precious memories with your Dad. Being with him and helping him as he struggles and dies is actually the last place in the world you want to be, yet the only place in the world want to be. Where your soul demands you be. I’m glad to see you’re not shying away from the pain- or shielding your boys. Dying is part of living, as they say. A lot of people do most anything to avoid pain- even when confronting it head on is the best thing they can do to move forward. Glad you’re not one of them.

  2. Paige, thanks for this. My heart is so with you all these days. Your folks are never far from my mind and prayers. I find myself often in tears and sit wiping tears and stifling sobs as I type so that I don’t wake up my granddaughter sleeping beside me. My heart hurts for you all, and to be honest, for your mom even more than your dad since I know he is one step from heaven’s door and soon to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Now enter the joy of your Master!” (a moment I long for more and more as I age a bit!) Hate the suffering for him, but knowing of the certainty of coming joy for him comforts me. But for the rest of you, my heart just aches and though I know God knows best, my flesh hates this for you, dear. I’m glad you all can be there. I have done that watch on three of our four parents and know that pain. We hold you in prayer. Wish we could do more. Much love to you all, Pat

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