Early yesterday morning, my Father made his transition from this world. It was a peaceful finish to a long and beautiful life. The past couple of weeks, knowing that he was ready to let go soon, but still hanging on, I sat by his bedside as much as I could. Trying to communicate that we are all accepting of his departure I would sit and focus my thoughts... "I will carry your love in my heart."
Spending so much time at my parent's house with all my sisters, mom and brother brings back so many childhood memories... people telling me I was so tall when I was the shortest person around – wondering what it would be like to be grown up – wondering if I would have a family of my own some day – wondering what it meant to be an artist and how I would do that? No one ever imagines caring for their father in a hospital bed in the living room of their childhood home. It sounds strange, but it is a truly beautiful experience for all of us to have this time together with him.
I took my time getting to the hospital this morning. I was exhausted and wanted to rest a little while the nurses at the hospital were still caring for Dad. Shortly after I got to his room at 11, Hospice called to say they were ready to deliver the bed to my parent's house. By 3:00pm he was all settled in. I sat as long as I could, but I haven't seen my own family in so long. I wanted to get home. Two sisters stayed with my Mom. I came home to my family to see the girls before bedtime. Darrin and Maya ran out shopping. I was left with Ellie. I apologized for not being around much lately. I tried to explain why. We cried and hugged. I let her know that we shouldn't be too sad because Grandpa has had such a long wonderful life. Some people leave this world too soon, before they have lived a full life. But we are blessed. We wiped our tears and went hunting for the first few strawberries in the garden. After that she walked around the whole yard with me to look at how beautifully everything is growing. We both felt a lot better and I think of how my Father has has inspired my love of gardening.
Yesterday we met with Hospice. Within the next couple of days my Dad will be home with us. His departure will likely be very soon. I feel it would be a blessing to be by his side when he takes his last breath, but I have to say, the thought is also overwhelming. We are all blessed that his recent trip to the hospital has brought him back to a state of awareness that we have not seen in a long time. We feel that we are given a last glimpse of his true self, his smile, his personality. This whole experience seems to have happened with great purpose. He seems aware that this is our chance to say good-bye. My mom, who wanted to have him at home, will now be prepared and surrounded by the support of others. Please pray for our comfort and ease.
After this past week in the hospital I am back to being a little skeptical and angry. We are no longer dealing with people who are attentive, compassionate and helpful. My Mom was very confident in the decision she made regarding my Dad. Doctors are not present for conversation, but made us second guess ourselves and gave us false hope. I have to go back to work today after 11 days of sitting at the hospital day and night so that I could help my 78 year old mother piece together small bits of information. One is lucky to gather information if you happen to be in the room when a doctor or nurse walks in. When making decisions concerning life and death, you would think that a doctor would call you or agree to have a conversation if you request it. My Dad is clearly at the end of his life, I just pray that he doesn't have to suffer for long.
Don't give up.
I cannot begin to describe what my family is going through in regard to my Father's health and well being. It is too personal to share. The advancement of modern Western medicine is quite a blessing, but still at some point one must question how long we should artificially prolong someone's life? This hospital stay has improved his condition so much that he has exhibited his strong heart, strong spirit, sense of humor and a stronger physical body. While we all thought we might lose him a week ago, he is clearly not ready to let go. And so we continue to help him to hang on a little longer, the best we can.
It is exactly 2 miles from my house to the hospital and my Mom's house is on the way. It is less than 2 miles from my house to my sister's house. She is recovering well from surgery. My Dad is off the respirator, will be moved from ICU, skip Intermediate Care and will be in a "regular" private hospital room tomorrow with physical and occupational therapy. Everyone I have dealt with at the hospital has been very attentive, compassionate, and helpful. I scheduled paid time off last week and asked for this week off without pay. The office is fine with that. I have had many offers from friends to help out with anything I need (such as babysitting). I am healthy. My daughters are healthy. My husband is healthy AND fabulous (He cleaned the house this weekend and did ALL the laundry). Did I mention he does ALL the grocery shopping?
I am still amazed at how my mind has let go of all I used to think I wanted to do, or had to do, or should do. Tomorrow begins day 7 of visiting the hospital all day and night. The world seems to stop for hospital visits.
I spent fifteen hours at the hospital with my sister yesterday. I took two books that I have been meaning to read and a sketchbook, but didn't spend one minute on reading or sketching. I spent much of my time working on this tiny little (2") cross-stitch sampler. Counted cross-stitch could not be any more structured, planned and organized and I loved that about it. Here is my first attempt at this craft. As the day grew longer, you would think the process would get easier. The blue section was the last I did, and I could not figure out how to do it correctly. The colors and counting are all wrong. But, it doesn't matter. I was calm, sitting quietly with my hands creating. I will probably not do counted cross-stitch again, as I do not need to be quite that planned and organized. I'd rather be original. Yesterday it was the perfect little distraction to get me through the day. Today I embrace its imperfection as I know there are much more important issues to focus on and that you can't plan everything.
Someday soon I will muster up enough courage to step into the unknown, but for now this [The Place In Between] describes very much how I feel. Some people near me think that I am unhappy. I am not. I am just afraid of briefly having nothing to hold on to. I supposed I could then say that I am afraid of nothing.
For now, here are a few of life's little pleasures that bring me joy.
Flowers can always make me happy. While we were out today doing a little Saturday running around, we picked up a few little flowers to spruce up the fairy garden. The girls each picked out a flower to call their very own - to love and care for. The first of many spring flowers!
Shortly after we arrived back home, Ellie busted 'becca trying to anonymously leave a May Day floral door basket. I think I would have eventually figured it out, as 'becca appreciates design*sponge as much as I do. I remember the DIY tutorial from a few days ago. Isn't it wonderful? Such a lovely gift that I will someday pay forward. Thanks 'becca, it made my day.
I finally bought the brown mary jane crocs that I have beeen deliberating over for a couple of years. (yes, years... that is crazy). I wasn't sure if I would like them. I have not taken them off since the moment I bought them (about 10 hours ago) and don't know if I ever will. I love them!
I think the 100 tulip bulbs produced more than 100 flowers! And, I could call this a before picture for the first of many home improvement projects. In a few short weeks I will have all new windows. When the window guy came for an estimate, Darrin explained that I would like to use the sunroom as an art studio. After measuring and describing the project, half the time the guy said "sunroom" and half the time he looked at me and said "your studio." That sounds really nice. : )