I know more than I did less than 60 days ago.
I know that if you ignore high blood pressure, it does not go away.
I learned that I am not a good candidate for MRIs. Those machines are small.
I learned that I can pee on a bedside potty, without dying of embarrassment.
I learned that I can take 5 meds a day, even if I have to put them in a little old lady pill box that is labeled for S-M-T-W-Th-F-S.
I learned that Ativan will really calm you down; I could become addicted to that drug easy.
I learned that God allows second chances and wake up calls.
I learned that I can live without reading, as long as I have Netflix.
I learned that when your parent is sick for a long time, and then dies “suddenly”, you still grieve.
I learned what it’s like to watch someone take their last breath….on this earth.
I have learned about the love of a grandson for his Papaw, when he wouldn’t let go of his Papaw’s hand throughout his visit.
I have learned that the people who take care of your loved one, love them almost as much as you do, and treat them with dignity and respect, and cry with you as you lose them.
I learned that laughter is easily intermingled with tears, and both are good for the soul.
I say all that to say this….
It has been a rough 55 days. But I have learned that life goes on, we still wake up, your kids still have to go to school and do the annoying dress up thing for whatever fundraiser thing of the week, you still have to work, your life doesn’t stop just because your dad’s life did.
I have blogged a lot about my dad. I have blogged a little about my health journey with my weight. Both of these have been huge players the last few weeks.
My dad couldn’t say my name since November. He would smile and say, “there you are!” when I came in his room, but he stopped being able to say much more. The last 3 days of his life, he said nothing. His breaths were hard won, and his eyes were closed most of the time.
I told my dad good bye Saturday night, February 11, at 6 pm. He didn’t die until Monday night at 5:45. I told my dad, through tears and sobs, that I loved him and wanted him to go, that it was time for him to go, that God had prepared a place for him, and it was ready and his life had been full and joyful and productive.
I told my dad of each individual grand child, from the oldest to the youngest, and how much they loved him and wanted him to be free from this world. I thanked him for adopting me, for being the one constant in my life that kept me going, that was always in my corner, the person who loved me more than anyone else. I told my dad that he was my world, so he could go to the world beyond.
The last 30 minutes of his life were hard to watch. I stepped out to get a Diet Coke and ended up on the phone, and the Hubs came to get me because something had changed with Dad, and later my younger brother told me, “If you had missed his last breath because of a Diet Coke…” See? Laughter and tears.
My Dad, opened his eyes and looked straight ahead the last 5 minutes of his life. I know that he did not see us; he was seeing what was next. We had sung to him, prayed with him, laughed around him. I had laughed so hard at one point (we pretty much had a small party in his room during this time, and the younger brother had tripped and fell on his wife, and it made me laugh hysterically) I laughed so hard Dad opened his eyes and looked around. But not for long.
I have often wondered which is worse…to lose a loved one suddenly or watch them be sick and die a long death. I know that we have had it better this way, in a way. I started grieving for my dad 3 years ago. I cried all day the day my mom told me that he didn’t know whether he charged $2.50 or $250 for his first adjustment, and that was in October of 2012. My tears have show up at inconvenient times the last few years, and my whole family has been mourning the loss of my dad, pretty much since he went into assisted living on May 23, 2014.
Still…I have learned that no matter how long you have to prepare, it’s still not enough. I have a deep ache in my chest, and those 3 days we spent at my dad’s bedside, I sobbed and grieved until my jaws hurt. I do not grieve like someone without hope, either. I know where my dad is. I just am sad he is not here. My world has been shaken off its axis, and a quote I heard recently sums it up: “I don’t know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn’t.” But I’ve been learning for the last 3 years…
Since my stroke on January 8, life has seemed much more precious and the small stuff has seemed very small indeed. Now…everything seems pretty inconsequential. Except for the people I love, my family, church family and friends.
I have learned that relationships with your loved ones are the only things that really matter in this life. And that’s been the most important lesson of all.