Ten Years Ago, Age 58 Part IV

Me & My Dad

Between caring for my Father, I worked. Kevin and I saw friends on occasions, like to watch the Oscars that year but our main focus was my Dad. Around the beginning of first week of April, we became homebodies. The Hospice Nurses who came to check on him saw his rapid decline and thought he would go shortly.

We called Jerry and Stephen in California and they arranged to come. Jerry would arrive first. His relationship had improved with my Mother since my Father’s return to Mansfield. It think he saw that he was projecting his feelings about his marriage at her. Needless to say they both helped my Father through his final days together.

For me, I just kept moving. I did anything I could to make things easier on him, to encourage him and put his anxiety to rest. Often he would become confused about things that he thought he had already done, like when I would bring a bowl of soup in to feed him and he would tell me he already ate. We would then go 10 rounds of Who’s on First? about soup. Then there was feeding him. Anyone who knows me knows I can throw-up at a drop of a hat. I can bend over and poof, I’ve thrown up. Feeding my Father was difficult at best, but something I had to do at time. With his mouth so dry, his lips chapped and dry mouth I would sometimes find myself nauseous while feeding him. I felt terrible about this. I would feed him a spoonful of soup, wipe his mouth and excuse myself for a moment. I practically knocked Jerry over one evening trying to get out of the room to the bathroom. After throwing up I walked back and continued to feed my Dad.

No matter how weak he got, he would not hear that he was dying. I remember the morning Jerry was due to arrive, I was in the kitchen doing something for him

Me & my Dad

while Sean was in the bedroom with our Dad. At this point he had been bedridden for more than a week and half I think. I was listening on the baby monitor, since in the past week he had become easily agitated. Sean said something to him, might have been about dying. Next thing I know I heard my Father, who hadn’t spoken above a whisper in a week yell Sean’s name. I ran in and asked what was going on. Sean looked like a deer in headlights. My Dad said Sean said he was dying and that he wasn’t. I said I knew. He then explained to me that he had to get out of bed and go take a test. I simply and calmly asked what test? With the doctor he said. “Oh, that test! You went yesterday, don’t you remember and the Doctor said it was fine there was no reason for you to go back for another week.” He kept insisting he had to get up. I turned at that point to Sean, who had been sitting in the wheelchair behind me and said get up. I push the wheelchair towards the bed and said okay, lets go. My Father looked from me to the chair and started to calm down. “If you want to get up, lets go.” I repeated. He looked at me again and said, “if you are sure they said the test was okay?” I confirmed it and he settled down. I turned as I walked out and told Sean to sit there and not to upset him.

The week my Father died my Mother sat with him at night a lot. She would talk to him, telling him that it was okay if he had to leave that we would be okay. She knew he was worried about leaving us behind. She kept reassuring him it was okay to rest. He wasn’t ready yet. With the arrival of Jerry, he was waiting for one more person. My cousin Stephen, my Father’s oldest nephew was flying out from California. I can’t remember exactly, but I believe he arrived on that final Sunday.

On Sunday, April 8th, Palm Sunday, my Father was surrounded by his family. We had spent the day together, visiting with my Aunt Betty, my Father’s oldest sister the Mother of Stephen and Sharon. Sharon and her mother had picked Stephen up from the airport and drove down to the house. Jerry, my Mom, Sean, Kevin and I were all there. In the evening when the others were getting ready to leave, I had planned to go to my boyfriends. I was getting ready when I passed the room my Father was in. My Mom and Jerry were sitting very close to him and he was very still. Stephen, Betty and Sharon had come in say their good-byes and it would seem that it was actually time for our final good-byes. I remember Sean, Kevin and I crowding around the bed, each touching his hand telling him it was okay. I promised I would keep an eye on my younger siblings, he could go. We were all going to be okay. I think he told my Mother that he could see his Mother and my Uncle Pat, my Mother’s Brother who had died on Easter Sunday in 1996. She urged him to go with them. I remember everyone trying not to cry. My own lump in my throat was gagging me. His breathing was slowing, he closed his eyes. My Mom and Jerry ushered everyone from the room and for the next few minutes my Father would stop breathing and then start again holding on to them as long as he could. I remember hearing Jerry telling him to go, “It’s okay Jack.” His whole family called him that, he was only John to my Mother and Dad to us.

Me & My Dad

On his passing a quiet and relief fell over the house. The house where he hung the wallpaper and paneling the walls, where he painted ceilings with left over white paint fr0m other rooms. The house he planted tulips in the front yard. Where I learned to ride my bike and Sean and Kevin learned to walk was quiet and mourning my Father as we were. For 26 years of my life he had been there and now he was gone, but not lost.

I see him in my Brothers. Both Sean and Kevin are very much my Father’s sons. He worried so much about them and looking at them now he would be so proud. I recognized him in myself from time to time, it sneaks up on me when I least expect it. I see it in both my children Lex and Loki though they never knew him.

It’ll be 10 years  a week from today (I am writing this Friday, April 1st, though I don’t know when I will post this.) I know friends who have recently lost parents in the last 2 years, who are currently dealing with the fact that they pick up the phone to call them and then remember they’re gone. I don’t do that, but I do find myself listening to a specific lyric of a song or see Lex do something that makes me think of him and makes me cry. I think it will always be that way. I know when I see that little bit of mischievous me in Loki’s eyes, my Father is smiling somewhere or maybe even urging her on.

I miss him. I love him and no matter how much I grow up, I will always want him with me.

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~ by Cute Fan Girl on April 1, 2011.

2 Responses to “Ten Years Ago, Age 58 Part IV”

  1. I have the biggest hole in my heart and I can’t stop crying. Through this all I am yelling at him… he could have been here if he had taken better care of himself..he should have been here to see how great his kids are and his grandkids…..

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