Wednesday, February 23, 2011
i've been putting this off for a while now...
tomorrow will be 4 months since my dad has joined the angels in Heaven. for months i have wanted to capture my last moments with him in written word, so that i never forget what that time felt like, but i just could not sit down and really think about it. i've come a long way and had some very difficult moments, but i find joy in my family and know how happy my father was to see and spend time with bret and to know about the baby that will be joining us in june.
my dad passed away on sunday evening, october 24, 2010. we got the call on friday morning that he was in the end stages of life and that we should come home. our flight left early saturday morning and we got to see him saturday afternoon. it was so painful to see him laying in the bed, knowing that he was in so much pain. i found myself praying for God to take him and relinquish him of all his suffering. i know that my dad knew i was there. although he could barely open his eyes and speak, he squeezed my hand. i told him i loved him and he muttered something that was unrecognizable, but i know he was saying he loved me too. i also kissed his cheek and his turned his head slightly as he tried to kiss me back. i'm so thankful to have had those interactions with him.
we left for the night, not knowing if we would ever see him alive again...and gasping for breath every time the phone would ring. i had went home with my mother and kirk went to his mothers to be with bret. my mother and i returned to the hospice on sunday morning. he looked more at peace due to the pain medication, but we were told he was much worse and he was no responding to any of us. we decided to grab lunch and kirk was going to bring bret to see my mom for the afternoon. i was hesitant because i wanted to be with my father so badly when the time came for him to leave this world. my mom, husband, son, and i had an enjoyable afternoon, given the circumstance. bret loved playing on the playground. as it was getting later, kirk decided to was time to head back to pittsburgh for the night. i told my mom that we needed to go back to the hospice. we got to my dad around 645 sunday evening and i had seen the most amazing sunset i had ever seen.
he looked the same. he was experiencing apnea, where one stops breathing for amounts of time. he was also experiencing a 103 temperature. the nurses explained that the body knew something was wrong and the fever was to try to kill off what was attacking it. my mom stepped out for a moment so that i could have some time with dad. i held his hand and could not take my eyes off of him. i told him i loved him, that he was a great father, and that it was okay for him to let go and be with God. i assured him that we would all be okay and that he didn't have to fight anymore. for anyone who knew my dad, they knew he was a fighter - he had beat cancer 6 previous times and never gave up. my mother returned and we just sat with him. his breathing became less frequent and the way his head had been angled i could see his pulse in his neck lessen. he took a deep breath and stopped. my mom thought he had passed, but i showed her his pulse. i also knew though, that it would not be much longer before his last breath. within minutes, he took another deep breath that had jolted his body and his eyes opened wide and then peacefully closed, and as this happened his pulse in his neck pulsated one last time. i knew he was gone...
as sad as i was, i was also at peace. i knew my father, who had battled cancer for 26 years of his life, was now free of this horrible monster that had consumed his body for so long. i thanked God for freeing my dad and welcoming my dad Home. on the drive back to my mom's house, i thought about how my dad was now in Heaven and how absolutely amazing that was. i tried to imagine all the wonderous things he was now seeing, all the loved ones he had lost in his life that he was now reunited with (parents, siblings, friends), and most of all - meeting Jesus!! i found great comfort knowing this and on the drive home, i saw the most amazing full moon. it was so bright and so large.
i never actually thought i would be around someone as they died, but i am so thankful that God gave me that opportunity. it was sad yet so unbelievably peaceful.