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?