The Night My Father Died – Continued

After Bill and Shantel had gone home from the hospice center where dad laid dying following his massive stroke, I dimmed the lights in dad’s room, turned the TV on low to animal planted because that was one of dad’s favorite shows,  arranged a recliner chair next to his bed, and held dad’s hand just as I had promised my mother I would do. My father always said the rosary everyday and so do I so I took my rosary out of my purse and began to pray while keeping constant skin to skin contact with my father’s arm or hand.

At around 9:oo p.m. my brother, Stephen’s, son Stephen Jr and his wife came from out-of-town to see my dad. They sat with me in dad’s room for over an hour. We talked about lots of things including how difficult it is to lose a parent or grandparent. Stephen Jr loved my dad, his grandfather, very much. He told me how much he always admired dad and what a great grandfather he had been to Stephen Jr. As I listened to Stephen Jr speak about my father, I was thinking about how dad was many different things to many different people and how everyone that knew dad thought very highly of him and loved him. Dad was always smiling, he always tipped his hat to ladies, picked up neighbors news papers and laid them on their front door steps and even took neighbor’s trash cans back into their yards after they were empty. Mom and dad lived on a street where many woman had already lost their husbands and they appreciated these little things dad would do for them.

When Stephen Jr and his wife left, I sat looking at my father and I remember trying to figure out where it all went so wrong for dad and I. I kept thinking I forgave him for the hurt he caused me and my family, but I just couldn’t get past the constant ache in my heart that I thought should go away if forgiveness had really taken place. I wanted to know why dad did the things he did and why he never said he was sorry. But, now, I knew I would never know the answers. All through my life, my father would tell me he loved me from time to time and I believed he did somewhere deep inside. But, I never felt that he, or my mother, were proud of me. I wanted to know that they were proud of me, I needed to know that, but I don’t know why I felt that need so strongly.

The hospice nurses came in every few hours to check dad and to see if I needed anything. Dad was getting morphine every four hours. One of the nurses gave me a sponge on a stick that looked like a lollipop and told me I could dip the sponge in water and wipe the inside of dad’s mouth with it thirty minutes after they gave him the morphine. Dad’s breathing was still very, very labored. His chest would rise and fall, rise and fall very hard with each breath he took.

At 12:30 a.m. dad took a huge breath in and didn’t exhale for almost 10 minutes. I thought he passed. I went out and got the nurses and told them I thought my father passed. Two nurses came in to check dad. They turned the lights up and as they were checking dad, he took a huge breath that scared the hell out of me. I had never been in the room with anyone who was dying and I really thought he was dead. The nurses told me sometimes people will do this and it might appear like they have passed. They said dad still had very strong vital signs and it would most likely be several days before he passed. They gave dad his morphine, asked me if I needed anything, I said no, and they left the room. I sat back in the recliner and continued to  pray for my father. When thirty minutes passed, I wiped the inside of dad’s mouth with the sponge and prayed over him.

At about 2:00 a.m I stood beside my father and began talking to him. I told dad I knew he was a marine and had fought in many wars but this was one battle he couldn’t win. I told dad he needed to stop fighting and just let go. I promised him I would make sure mom, and their dog, Beau would be taken care of so he didn’t have to worry about them. I held his hand, cried,  told him I loved him, I forgive him, and that I was sorry things were so strained between us. I called upon the Blessed Mother and told her dad believed in her and prayed to her everyday and now he needed her to come and take him home. I called upon my brother, Tommy, who had passed of cancer, and asked him to pray with me to help dad let go. Then, I asked Jesus himself to please come and take my father so he wouldn’t suffer and so my mother and brother’s  wouldn’t have to see dad like this.  As I prayed, I looked at my father’s face and one tear rolled out of his right eye and down his cheek. Then he took in one long, deep breath, and as he did, I whispered in his ear, let go dad, just let go and go to Jesus. At that moment, I knew my father was gone. I remember thinking, he took his last breath in front of me and his next breath in front of Jesus and how honored I was to have witnessed that happening.

I waited thirty minutes this time before I went out to get the nurses. They came in, turned up the lights and when they looked at dad they turned to me and said, your right, he’s gone. They said they have never seen anyone with such strong vital signs pass that quickly. I thought to myself, well, you must not know the power of prayer.

Next: Calling The Family

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gotham Girl
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 20:57:24

    Tears are a rolling my dear….xoxo

    Reply

    • beyondcinderella
      Feb 28, 2012 @ 00:26:07

      As difficult as this is to share, my only hope, is that someone, somewhere, is being helped from some of my life experiences. Thank-you for leaving your comments and for your continued support. I love you Frissy!

      Reply

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