Now back to regularly scheduled hotness:
Now back to regularly scheduled hotness:
My father passed away around 2:30am yesterday. In the end it was a blessing.
Dad had been doing about the same for a couple weeks– weak but still getting around a little. Sleeping a lot. Not eating. But pretty coherent overall (with bouts of confusion). So I went back home for a couple days to check in at work, check my car, etc.
When I got back to his place last Saturday, he went sharply downhill. I truly believe he was just waiting for me to return before letting go. All day Saturday he grew more and more confused. His speech was garbled and nonsensical. He couldn’t stand up without assistance.
Luckily I got him to bed. This was the only time when I was thankful he had a catheter and colostomy. Everything was being collected appropriately and Since his output was negligible, I didn’t have to worry about those functions.
I called Hospice on Sunday and they said it sounded like he was transitioning now. They told me to up his meds and to keep him comfortable.
So Sunday was him in bed all day, vacillating between sleep and babbling. I sat with him all day and we watched the tv he liked. Thst night I prayed he would go peacefully.
Monday he was still hanging on and it was more of the same, only more sleep and almost no consciousness. Labored breathing. The hospice nurse visited and confirmed everything. I played his “Summertime” playlist. It was his favorite song, and he has like 40 versions of it by different artists.
Tuesday was hard. Very labored, very rattly breathing and no conscious behavior. Nurse came by and we tried to position him better but he was filling with fluid and not able to clear it.
Tuesday night I checked on him frequently. I kept a tv in in his room, just for some noise and distraction. I really couldn’t stand to hear his breathing. Each inhale just cut right into me because there was nothing I could do but wait.
I dozed fitfully off and on between check ins and droppered liquid medicine into his mouth. I did try to speak softly to him. I told him it was ok. I was here. And that he was loved. I don’t know if he heard.
At 2:30 I started awake from where I was on the couch. All I heard was the soft tv in his bedroom. No agonizing breathing. So I held my breath and kept listening. I listened for maybe 30 minutes, and I knew it was over.
It was in the wee hours of the morning and I didn’t want to be disruptive, so I turned off his tv and lay back down on the couch. My mind whirled until about 6:15 am when I decided that it was time to inform hospice of his passing.
I made coffee and got the paper (much as I had been doing every day) and waited for hospice to arrive.
I will say, my dad was a planner and hospice knew how to handle things expeditiously. The mortuary services were already paid for and all that went smoothly, too. By 9 am they were gone and I was alone in the house.
I spent the day cleaning. I got rid of all the evidence that he had ever been sick. His colostomy supplies. His catheters. His medicines and creams and prescriptions. His sick clothes. His bed pillow. The remaining bedding I washed, so his bed would be fresh.
Today it feels like he’s been gone a month– and also only a minute.
My dad was not a religious person, so there will be no formal ceremony. No viewing or visitation. No “funeral” per se. He’s being cremated and later we’ll have a “celebration of life” for friends and family at his house.
I will say this, though. While he wasn’t religious, he was spiritual. He used music for that. One of his favorite “worship” things was to listen to Jesus Christ Superstar around Easter. (He really was kind of a hippie). Listening to that musical with him as a kid, I learned more about the story of Jesus than I ever learned in church. Which is how I know about the seven last words of Jesus.
Which is where I got the title of this post.
It seemed fitting.
After a brief visit to the twin cities last week, I am back here in Iowa with my father. My return appears to be good timing, as he has taken a pretty severe turn in the past 24 hours.
This whole process has been much more difficult than I was anticipating. It’s sad and frustrating and both physically and mentally exhausting. And hospice has not been as present as I thought they would be.
I feel guilty for wishing it would just end. I think I’m at my threshold of what I can bear, and it pains me to see him like this.
I’ve never felt more alone.
Ah, sometimes I miss the 80’s. Bold colors. Graphic prints. Big hair. Terrible fashion choices. Whimsy.
Mostly I miss Swatches.
I loved Swatches- the “disposable” Swiss watch. Fun designs. Cool colors. Water resistant. Replaceable/interchangeable bands. And a very loud “tick” which would seem to echo in my bedroom at night.
And they were only like 30 bucks!
My first Swatch was one I bought IN SWITZERLAND when I was in high school. I still have it to this day.
I probably had 5 or 6 Swatches total– you know, to match my different, funky, Chess King wardrobe. Sometimes I even strapped three Swatches together and coiled them around one wrist.
I. Was. So. Bloody. Hip!
Anyway, during this time, there was always one thing I wanted– a Swatch wall clock. Remember them?They had them in the Swatch stores and they were giant, wall sized versions of the watches– band and all. Man I wanted one!
So, imagine the squeal I emitted when I found this on eBay. It’s even the version of my favorite Swatch that I ever owned– the Nautilus. I think my mom bought this one for me for Valentine’s Day. I so loved the colors and the ocean vibe and the beach vacation feel.
It was my most prized possession. I wore it until the case cracked and broke where the bands attach.
And now I own the wall version of it. My own little slice of 1987 pop art heaven.
I can’t wait until it arrives and I hang it.
While being here with my dad, some things I’ve been exposed to are televised sports. Lots of sports. (And news).
The NCAA wrestling championships were on last week, which gave me the opportunity to look at a LOT of fit college boys in spandex. I’m. Or mad about it.
Lots of bulges too.
Which then prompted a google search of “wrestlers with boners”. Cuz it happens.
I need more distraction.
Loose knobs drive me crazy.
Door knobs. Cabinet knobs. Drawer pulls. Dresser knobs. Whatever. When you grab it, it shouldn’t be loose in your hand. It should be solid- like it’s part of the door or drawer. If it’s loose it just feels janky and slipshod. And that bothers me.
Chalk it up to minor OCD, I guess.
So, I find myself going around my dad’s house and tightening all his knobs. And he has a LOT of them. His house is full of built-in wood cabinetry (very shaker/mission).
The knob tightening also gives me something to do.
I’m still at my fathers place. And my father is still alive. Even though the cancer has made him skeletal, he’s still here- albeit pretty befuddled most of the time. I can’t really leave him alone much more than for a grocery run, so I’ve been trying to make myself useful.
Polishing floors and furniture. Dusting. Vacuuming. Cleaning spots from the carpets. Doing laundry and dishes. Sweeping the garage. Picking up the yard. Washing his car. Washing MY car.
Now I’m down to tightening knobs.
In the back of my mind, I know this is all a preemptive strike for getting his house ready to sell. If I thought I could get away with it, I’d bring in a small dumpster and start purging now. There is quite a bit of crap that has accumulated, and it would allow me to keep occupied in the spaces where he’s sleeping.
Not that my father is a hoarder– far from it (unlike my mother). But one does tend to accumulate things in 75 years. Like 3 sets of golf clubs. Or multiple comforter/pillow sets. Or shelves and shelves of books. Or random office supplies. Or various hardware and house supply bits and bobs.
But tossing things out now seems a bit insensitive, and I’m sure my father would lose his mind if I started tossing things willy-nilly. So I watch. And wait.
And have to be content tightening knobs.
How about some olde timey love today?
And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.
I’ve been walking my dad’s dog a lot the past few days. At least most of the snow is gone. This gives me a chance to look around his neighborhood.
I’m not a fan of most of the architecture.
He lives in a ritzier part of town, and his little subdivision is small. Lots of cul de sacs. Backs up to woods.
But you can tell everyone sort of put up McMansions. Some better than others. I snapped some quick pics on the walk yesterday.
Most homes look like a variant on this one above. Blocky, tall pitch roof, combo of siding and brick, columns, arched windows, etc.
This house was worse. I think it was all siding before and then they put stone on the outside. Looks more country French now.
This is up the street from my dad’s place. Corner lot, but further away from the woods. It’s my favorite ugly home in the neighborhood. There is really nothing about it that I like.
And then here’s my dad’s place:
I’m glad that of the houses in his neighborhood, his is prairie school and different from all the others. I like the low roof pitch and hipped roof design. And the clerestory. He also kept some strategic trees on the front of the lot and the back is all wooded.
The back is two stories tall (sits on a hill) and is a lot of glass. It overlooks the woods and a small creek.