raystrobel47: (Tx bluebonnets)
[personal profile] raystrobel47
My dad is in hospice care. He had been transferred to the new, closer alzheimer's facility/home last Friday the 11th, and everything went fine. My mom had his room all set up with personal items, furniture, and the facility provided excellent care and treatment for all the residents. On Tuesday I get a call from my mom saying that Pop had aspirated part of his breakfast that morning, and the following details I totally forget, but the result was that he had trouble breathing and was in a lot of pain. He was also exhibiting end-of-life symptoms. Mom had the option of admitting him to the hospital or putting him into hospice care. Since Mom knew that if this could happen once it probably would happen again, the decision was made to make him as comfortable as possible.

Fortunately, he is now stable, breathing freely and in no pain. Mom is by his side, and the staff at Autumn Grove are making everything as simple and easy as it can be at this difficult time. Pop is not expected to live to Father's Day. Mom has been an emotional stalwart, and has held up tremendously throughout all of this. After Pop does die, his organs and body will be donated to science, and will be cremated once returned. There will be no funeral. Mom is planning a memorial service later in the summer which will be held at her house, the house I grew up in, the house we moved into in 1974. Some of y'all have been there. :-)

Mom is at peace with this. She's ready to let go, she has been by his side, has cared for him and loved him, and knows that the time will come soon. Her faith has strengthened mightily through all of this. I am simply thankful that, despite the obvious sadness and grief that we're all experiencing, there has been so much positive that Mom has experienced, from all the first-rate medical care given to Pop, to how well Mom's handled all of this, to my brother David being able to help so crucially at times. I can honestly say there is nothing 'tragic' about this.

I'm holding up ok. I am really thankful I was able to visit last Thanksgiving. I knew there was the chance it'd be the last time I'd see him, and I got in a lot of hugs, smiles, and just being there. I have pictures on my cell and a Flip video I made. I have memories for the rest of my life. The thing is, once Dad dies, the body has simply stopped. I really haven't 'had' my Dad since this whole dementia thing started to take hold for the last couple of years. I've been mentally trying to grapple with the fact that he wouldn't be around much longer, that he wasn't invincible, and imagining what that might feel like. I'll tell you what it feels like to me- it feels like there's a physical hole, like a well, where I expect my dad to be. That will remain, but eventually I'll find my ways around it, over it, maybe even in and out of it, and it will be less scary and painful. I'm not going to be done crying for a while, but it never has been uncontrollable. This, in short, sucks. Grief is weird, and this experience is sort of surreal since I'm so bloody far away.

The outpouring of support from friends has been astounding, and I appreciate everything that those of you who've known have done or offered to do. I cannot express my gratitude in just the two words 'thank you', but that's the only tool I know right now. It has been so comforting knowing that you all are out there, from Texas to Philadelphia, from California to Buffalo. It blows me away, and comforts me. What can you do? Hugs work. Praying for my mom works too. Really, I don't need that much. I don't regret what has happened, or feel "I need by dad back", not that I wouldn't take that in a heartbeat, but I've tried to accept this as it is and keep moving on. We are mortal, we will all die. Now is my dad's time. And it makes me very sad. But as I explained to a friend, "If it didn't happen, there'd get to be a time where I'd be like, 'Ok, he's 108, this is almost ridiculous'." I'll miss my dad, but the man who truly and fully was my dad hasn't been himself for six years.

Thank you for reading, thank you for caring. It'll be ok.

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raystrobel47

January 2011

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