Thursday, August 30, 2012

Saying Goodbye

When and how to say goodbye, or giving permission to let go, is a personal decision, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Some families have difficulty starting the conversation but find that once begun, it can be a gift....

Some families begin these conversations with:

  • What I love most about you....
  • What's will always remember....
  • What I will miss most about you...
  • What I learned from you...
  • What I will cherish...

(excerpted from "When Death is Near a Caregiver's Guide" published by Quality of Life Publishing Co. Www.QoLpublishing.com)

In my last post, I was wondering how much time we had left with dad. Today I think we are a little closer to the answer. I don't think he will be coming home from the hospice center. I am here with him now. Night shift. He's resting now, but it's touch and go. Once he's up, he's quickly agitated. His body twitches, jerks. He wants up. Wants out. Doesn't want anything touching his body. Obviously a naked dad wandering the halls in a weakened state is nothing that anyone wants.

I have always winced at the phrase "battling cancer" but this time I feel like I am watching exactly that. Right in front of my eyes.

I could tell my brother was bothered by the morphine pump. But he hasn't seen him in action. Hasn't seen how it takes four nurses to calm him. He doesn't know that he almost hauled off and hit mom a few days ago at home. He's angry, dammit. And he's never been terribly good at directing that accurately.

It's hard to watch him here, as physically weak as I've ever seen him. Completely dependent. And be ok with how annoyed I have been with him. Lately. Always. But I don't know what to say. I've been trying to fill out the sentences above and I don't have the answers yet.

For all of his weaknesses, for all of my frustration, I do know this: he loves me as much as he is capable of loving. For all of his grumbles and crankiness, there is nothing more sacred to him than his family, meaning, me, my bro, my mom. M has been elevated to that level as well. Because he loves me.

He is so fucking stubborn. And I can't decide if that is something I admire or drives me crazy. I think both. I am also fairly certain M has said the same of me.

He's sleeping now. If recent history can be trusted, I'm thinking maybe I should try too while I have a chance. The Nationals are on. I don't know if he can hear the tv, but it's soothing to me.

Boom. There it is. That good memory. That perfect moment I've been searching for all day. Why is the drone of the baseball announcers and his snoring so calming to me? Because those were the sounds of almost every night one summer. Pre high school, but old enough to sneak out of bed and not get in trouble. Me. Dad. The old pleather couch. Bag of sour cream and onion chips (don't tell mom) Baseball until we both fell asleep. Tv on. Crumbs everywhere. That. That was great.

I knew I needed to be here tonight.

I know more memories will come.

I love my dad. I know he loves me. That's all there is to it, no?

18 comments:

Danielle said...

In the end, that may be all there is to anything. I am so sorry- I know how very complicated and painful this is. Breathe, love, repeat. We are here with you.

JP said...

As you and your family are go through this incredibly difficult time, I hope you can find those moments of peace and happiness in remembering your dad at his best.

Heather said...

I like your memory.
Thinking of you.

Lavender Luz said...

I guess when you're at either end of life, it is that simple.

It's the in-between that is complex.

Abiding with you, m. XOXOXO

Hope's Mama said...

Sending love. xo

Sue said...

That's a lovely memory. I hope you have many more in the remaining time you have with your father.

still life angie said...

Abiding death remains one of those sacred, complicated, painful things, but I do think it simplifies everything. There is just love.

I love what Danielle said...breathe, love, repeat.

Sending you love and grounding and a good heaping teaspoon of the stubbornness to keep on keeping on.

xo

ceecee867 said...

That is an awesome memory. You're right... there will be more, and they will give you more comfort than you can imagine right now.

TracyOC said...

Oh, man. It is so hard watching someone fight it, isn't it? I'm thinking of you and sending you peace and strength. And hoping you maybe get a window of lucidity in there to go over some of those memories together.

Carla said...

Oh man, I am blinking to keep the tears from coming out. Way back when I was a social worker, I sat with a man overnight, and he died 30 minutes after I left. Your description brought back many memories of that evening. So glad you have these moments with him. Thinking of you..

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. Thinking of you a lot nowadays.

xxoo BIB

Mo and Will said...

Thinking of you. So glad you are with your Dad at this time.

Mo

luna said...

sending so much love and light. wishing you all some peace. xo

Anonymous said...

I always tell my sister that she has to stop being angry at our dad for not being the dad she wants him to be. He loves us the best he can, and it's not fair to expect him to give more than he is capable of giving. I don't know your situation, but it sounds similar to ours. Hoping for peace for your father.

dana said...

Thinking of you. Sending love.

xo

Smiling said...

yup.. he loves you, and you him.. its that simple, but dang simple truths can bring on strong emotions. Thinking of you... sending love... and amazed at your ability to write this post.

Paz said...

It is especially hard when complex relationships get put under pressure. All the flaws get concentrated. And when relationships were solidly good, it is no easier, just hard in a different way. I think you'll probably move through this with a regal-like grace, still won't make it any easier though.
Sorry.

Nicole said...

Huge hugs. I do believe in the end that love is all there is. Thinking of you and your family. Take care.

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