Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in that action. ~Mother Teresa
I just logged in to start my 2015 blogging and found this entry unpublished. I think it is worth publishing now for my own memory’s sake. Originally written in early October 2014:
My last post was all about waiting. And while we continued to sputter along for a bit, a Wednesday a few weeks ago I got a call from my mom. It was a call I’d been waiting for a long time where she said “dad isn’t going to make it.”
I wasn’t surprised. None of us is going to make it. And even though at this time last year my mom came out of nowhere, trying to take the lead from my dad in the race-to-the-top-of-the-most-unfortunate-health-in-the-history-of-mankind, some order was restored to the world when my dad stepped back into that role after he broke his hip.
So, on that Wednesday, we sprung into the kind of action that I’ve come to realize is that of a family that cares deeply for one another. I got the call in St. Louis at 1:00pm and by 5:30 I picked my brother up at the airport in Kansas City. We got to the hospital by 6:00 to find our dad in a morphine induced rest.
I put my phone to his ear so both of my kids could talk to him. They showed so much love to him that I was astounded. After that call, he woke up for a few minutes and seemed to know us. He was sweet to the nurse who was taking care of him. Then he noted some bats in the room. We corrected him saying it was just the Royals on TV. I’m now wondering if he was talking about baseball bats. And then he closed his eyes again.
We spent the next 29 hours with each other and by his side. We talked to each other and to him. We sobbed. We laughed. We played Qwirkle. We asked questions of the nurses, of each other, of ourselves. And we sobbed and sobbed. We told him we loved him and we held his hand and we told him we were so glad that his suffering was going to end soon. And it ended a little before 11:00pm on Thursday, Sep 18th.
To me, it was like a small flame flickered out that night. We had been losing him for a really long time to a body that couldn’t take any more. In some ways, his death was a gain for him and for all of us. He gained eternal life and we gained a renewed focus on what a great man he was, in place of the focus on suffering, confusion and uncertainty.
It was a beautiful and sacred process to be with him as he was dying. It opened a new chapter for all of us.
I’m now adding to this four months later. I still go to call my dad almost daily to hear his voice and to assure him that we will take care of him and my mom and Amy. I usually reach for my phone when I have one quick peaceful moment in my day; I never realized that feeling was what spurred my calls to him. I thought I was trying to ground him in the knowledge of my care for him. And I know now that he grounded me in my moment of peace – I needed to share that place where god lives in me with him. I miss sharing that so very deeply, while I am happy that peace is all his.