Saturday, April 1, 2017

Last Words

I love Lent.  I'm serious.  What a great season to really touch on what is important.  I love the music.  I love the message.  I love remembering.  I love the tears turned into joy.  I love the whole thing.

My pastor has been preaching a series on the Seven Last Words of Christ and they have been just for me.  Not really, but it has FELT like it.  Forgiveness and Relationships and Family and Abandonment.  It has been perfect and difficult for the season of life that I am in.  It has made me think and pray a lot.

I know I am not alone but when I look at the piles of photographs my husband brought back from my dad's house, I am the only one left on this earth from those photos.  But the photos around my house, we are all still present on this earth.

I still have a lot of things to deal with.  Creditors to write and inform there is no money to pay bills - so sorry, but that's the way it is.  We have a house to clean out and sell.  I've got piles of memories to sort through as we go through the house.  I have no problem discarding things.  It actually feels good to me... actually great.  But memories can't be discarded.  Like things, some will fade.  Some are gone, but I know going through the stuff will renew some of those memories.  I'm trying to brace myself for the feelings.  Feelings are... well... not my favorite thing.

I don't really have any "last words" or a way to end this gracefully, except to say good night.  Or maybe like Scarlett, "I'll think about that tomorrow.  After all, tomorrow is another day."

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What time is it?

For as long as I can remember my dad has worn a watch - Timex, analog, with date and an expansion band.  Over the years they have looked different but always had that same profile.

As long as he was allowed his watch, he wore it on his left arm.  He has always been time conscious - almost obsessively.  If someone said they would be there at 11:00, he would check his watch or whatever clock he could see and monitor the time at least 15 minutes ahead of time.  This became more pronounced when he was in the hospital.  "They said lunch is at 12:15.  Lunch isn't here.  Call the nurse."

Even after his stroke, when the neurologist asked him what time it was, he answered it old-school.  Looked at his watch and said "23 minutes before 11."  The neurologist and her two students had to look at their watches and confirm that he was indeed correct.  I laughed at them.   Out loud.  The looks on their faces was THAT funny.

He always wore his watch - until today.

As I sat next to him this afternoon, he had gotten fidgety and keep fooling with his bedspread, his shirt buttons, and his watch.  He was trying to get the watch off and pinched his skin. "Ouch."  He rubbed the pinched skin and I asked if he wanted me to hold his watch.  He nodded and kept rubbing the skin.  When I asked if he wanted me to help put it back on, he said, "No.  Keep it."

He had been compulsively looking at his watch the last several week.  I would ask him what time it was and he would drop his arm and not answer.  I knew he had lost the ability to tell time.

He has been singing and talking and talking to people I can't see.  I heard him say tonight, "But I don't want to wait."  A few minutes later I had his watch on my arm.  I talked with him about singing and being in choir and asked if he wanted to go to choir.  He brightened up. "I like to sing."  He joined my mother's choir many years ago to get her to agree to date him.  I suggested to him that maybe Mama has a choir in Heaven he could join.  "I like to sing," he said again.

I thought maybe this watch was a sign that it's time.  Time for him to sing again.  Time for him to meet Jesus face face.  So tonight, before I left his side, instead of telling him I'd see him tomorrow, I told him goodbye.  I don't know he if knew the difference, but I do know he's ready to say hello to his forever.

Soon, Daddy.  It will be time soon.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Waiting on God

Today while visiting with Daddy at the nursing home, he told us he was ready to die.  "Why won't these people let me die?  Why can't I see a doctor? I'm ready to go."

He has seen a doctor - I've talked with him.  We are adjusting medications and helping him be comfortable.

We talked about a lot of life is waiting on God and we just can't push that.  He's ready to see Jesus, my grandparents, my aunt and my mother.   He's not really sure when he is smiling or not, so if he catches us smiling at him, he will smile big and sometimes asks, "is my smile okay?"

He is done with this life on earth and he's tired.  "But my heart just won't stop."  Greg and I observed some changes today that confirmed that it won't be too much longer but you can't put a timeline on living or death.  That's between Daddy and God.  I'm confident in the next few days or weeks they'll figure it out.

He is actually pretty peaceful but was annoyed they were crushing his medicine and putting it in applesauce.  On hospice, if you don't want to eat, you shouldn't have to eat - even for medicine.  So I texted my contacts and they are going to begin looking at alternative methods for keeping him comfortable - without needles.  We talked to the nurse about food - we know they have to offer it, but he doesn't have to eat it and we asked them to quit pushing it.  "But even on hospice they need to eat."  Actually - no, they don't, not if they don't want it.  It is making him sick and he told me today he is having trouble swallowing it.

The care he is getting is pretty good - he says they are good people and take good care of him.  I think his nurse just doesn't understand the hospice process so we will have a care meeting soon and make sure we all understand the goal here is comfort.

So - we wait on God and Daddy's body to be in agreement.  We are all ready for him to be whole again.

Monday, February 6, 2017

My life is...

... over.  That's what my father said trying to communicate with a relative that he is done trying to be alive.  Really what he is trying to say is he is too tired and his body is too worn out to continue living as he has been.  He is ready for everlasting life. As jolting as those were to my heart, I know it is true.  He has told me, "I like this current arrangement," meaning he likes just sleeping when he wants to and no one bothering with him to do therapy or make him eat.  The people at the nursing home thinks he should eat - he just doesn't want it.

So - in comes hospice who says he doesn't have to do anything he doesn't want to - and that has been a relief.  Medication has been drastically reduced.  He drinks Coke if he wants it or nothing at all.

Since he moved he has been noticeably more relaxed and more comfortable talking about memories and what comes next - Heaven.  We haven't directly addressed Heaven yet, but I know it is coming, and he is ready to go.  There was a significant decline between Saturday and Sunday.

It has made me think about what my life is right now.

.... busy.  I've been doing a job and a half and trying to manage my dad's care.  The half job at school is blessedly finished (although it was great fun) and I no longer have to manage his care.  I am trying to get all the business stuff handled so we don't have to do it later.

.... peaceful. Since we made the hospice decision, I no longer feel I must push him to try to be better and he is no longer fighting me or trying to make me happy.

.... melancholy.  I am naturally a ponderer and tend towards the melancholy - liking rainy days and all.  But I realize at almost 50 years old, I no longer have a sibling and will soon be without both my parents. We were never really close but it sounds like a lonely place to be.  I'm okay with being alone - lonely is something entirely different.

.... grateful.  I have a wonderful husband who is helping me in all sorts of quiet and loving ways and makes sure I eat before I get "hangry." I have friends who check in with me regularly.  I have the hope of salvation and eternity with Jesus Christ.

.... exhausted.  See the busy statement.  Plus I'm not sleeping very well these days, and when I do sleep, I do not feel rested.  I dream about my phone ringing a lot - very irritating.

So that's the state of things - in a nutshell.