Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chapter 7 continued

     Keep the lines of communications open with the whole family.  This is often hard to do when brothers and sisters ignore their duties to their parents, as the following story from Anne demonstrates.
     My husband is a lot of support most of the time.
     Right now, he’s getting a little tired of sleeping on the sofa bed in the living room so my mom can have our room.  For the first four months we slept on a futon mattress on the floor; the couch is actually a  step up.
     My brother and sisters are unfathomable to me.  My parents were always there for them and me.  How they could turn their backs when my mom needs them is a mystery.
     I believe the season they don’t call is because then they just don’t even think about it and they hope it will eventually a go away.
     The thing that most depresses my husband and me is that this cycle will never end for us.  We know that Mom will never be able to live on her own again.  She will be with us for the rest of our lives.  What worries us most is what will happen when we are no longer here for her.  We don’t want our daughter to feel that she will be responsible for her.
     But the bottom line with all of this is love.  When you love someone, as I do my mother, it’s not what you say that matters in the long run, it’s what you do.
     Daddy had been feeling ill for some time, but he refused to see a doctor.  He kept saying that he was just getting old and lazy.  Daddy was always that way.  He never wanted to cause anyone any trouble  He was getting on in age, so we didn’t think too much about it.  One night my mother called and said that Dad needed to go to the hospital.  I immediately thought that his heart had given out.  He had many heart attacks during hsi last years, but luckily he sprang back eah time.  When we first arrived at the hospital, no one knew what the problem was.  We admitted him and the staff began to run the ormal test, which showed that he had an aortic aneurysm.  They transferred him to St. Vincent’s hospital in Portland to perform surgery.  This was my first long visit to St. Vincent’s Hospital.
      After more tests, the surgeon talked with me.  He wondered why Dad’s liver was showing problems.  when I told him that I didn’t know, but that daddy was treated for colon cancer sixteen years earlier, he started looking deeper.  Ufortunately, when they opened him up he was riddled with cancer.  The prognosis was terminal.  He had only one to six months to live.  As it turned out, he didn’t even have a month.
     My father was a kind man.  even when he was ill, he didn’t want to bother anhyone with his pain.  he just waited until he could no longer tolerate it and then it was too late.
     We brought him home to care for him.  Of course, we could have placed his wishes.  Besides, we wanted him close to us during his last days.  We installed a hospital bed at my parent’s house and proceeded to take care of him ourselves.
     Hospice was a big help in his care.  As his condition worsened, nurses administered pain medication and we had a list of caregivers that could assist us at night.  Mom was getting worn out taking care of Dad day and night.  I helped her as much as I could.  Fortunately my parents lived right next door to us, so when Mom needed me, I could respond immediately.
     Naturally it is hard to watch someone you love die a little each.  We cried a little at first.  It was such a shock to know that our father was going to die in a short time.  But daddy said that everyone dies when it is their time.  “God will take me when he is ready for me,” he said.
     Every day he would sink a little deeper.  My father was determined that he would live until their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary and his birthday, which were both on the same day.  He didn’t want Mom to remember their anniversary as the day he died.  When September 20 came, he gave Mom a diamond ring that she had wanted.  Then he asked me if I would take care of Mom and I promised I would.  He lapsed into a coma, and never awoke.
     Our family came up from California, but he was already in the coma.  I think that he knew they were there, but he couldn’t respond.  He died on September 26, six days after his anniversary and his birthday, quietly, as he had lived.  With no fuss, no trouble to anyone, he just drifted into that eternal deep, content in the knowledge that I would take good care of his wife.
     That is all my dad ever wanted, to take good care of everyone.  He started young when he quit school in the tenth grade to earn money to help the family.  He sold papers on the street corner, he was so young people thought he was cute and bought his papers, and he always sold out.
     Dad love people and it showed.  he never had an enemy and he would give you anything he had, if you needed it.  He took care of his father and two brothers after his mother died.  In addition he raised four children of his own, while working two jobs and building a big house for everyone to live in.
     My journal entry for September 26, 1992
     Daddy is dead.  He went peacefully at 8:35 A,M.    I didn’t really think it would be so quick.  God was good to him, taking him without a long illness and a lot of pain.  I guess he has been going for the last year or so; we’ve all known it was coming but it speeded up when they tried to do surgery on him.  He might have lasted longer if they hadn’t opened him up.
     I wonder if his spirit was watching us cry for him as we stared at his lifeless body.  He was so still, with hands laying on his stomach.  You would have thought he was sleeping, if he hadn’t been so yellow.
     I really believe there is a crossing-over time, that the spirit is suspended on Earth for a time and can watch the transition of the family.  At least, I hope so!  Goodbye, Daddy.
     After Dad died our family sat around and talked about all the good times we had in our lives together.  We laughed at the dumb things we did, and reminisced about building our house in Michigan.  It was a time for reflection, a time to remember the good times...there were so many.
     When your loved one passes on, you still have memories, memories of better days when you were young and sometimes foolish.  These precious memories are locked in a special place in your heart, waiting to be brought out when you want to be close to him again.
                                           THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
                        The purpose of life is to serve and to show compassion
                        and the will to help others.  Only then have we ourselves
                                        become true human beings.
                                                                                   Albert Schweitzer

1 comment:

  1. Check out the next chapter of What to do When Mom Moves In

    Betty Kuhn