final journey

final journey

Dad is dying tonight. When we put him on hospice a few weeks ago, there really wasn’t anything more than he had lost a little weight and wasn’t eating as well. This is an Alzheimer’s thing but Mom was much further along before she hit this phase. But Dad has always had his own way and he has moved very suddenly and quickly. Hospice called me this afternoon and told me I should probably come today.

I sat with him a couple hours. It was hard to tell whether he was asleep (they have him on pain meds) or unconscious. His breathing is really shallow. Shallow to the degree that it’s hard to see for certain at times that he is still breathing. I am unable either physically or emotionally of sitting there all night watching him die. I am lucky that we have some wonderful hospice volunteers who are doing that for me.

It was different when Mom died. I didn’t have all the mixed feelings I have with Dad. It was easier to just be sad and to feel that relief for her. I didn’t really expect it this soon with Dad. He hasn’t really changed much the past year or so, until recently. But then, he’s 85 years old and he is not going to get better. I am glad for him that he does not have to suffer through the end stages that Mom did. He had a relatively easy journey with this horrible disease. Most of the past almost three years he was in his own world and it was okay.

As I sat and talked with him, I tried to focus on the good parts. It’s easy to get frustrated with the things that Dad could not do, he just didn’t have the emotional capacity. But there were good things. It’s a little sad that most of those good things have to do with him rescuing me financially or leaving his work to come get me when I ran out of gas on the side of the road. But those were the things that he was good at and he wanted to help. It was his way of showing love and I think it’s important to respect that even if he couldn’t be there in other ways.

I guess I’m musing tonight. I talked with his night nurse a little bit ago. Hospice is still there. He is still breathing really shallowly and they are managing his pain. None of us expect him to last the night but you never know. I hope for his sake that he passes peacefully.

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20 thoughts on “final journey”

  1. Update: This morning the nurse says that he was briefly alert and breathing heavily. She feels he was in more pain and they gave him his pain meds and got him some ativan for anxiety. I don’t know whether he understands much but I’d imagine that he’d feel anxious during times of awareness considering how little he was breathing.

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  2. I’ve been in your position and there’s nothing quite like it. Just waiting, hoping, talking endlessly about the good time… just in case your loved one is listening. Sending prayers your way.

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    1. His eyes were open today but I’m not sure he even was aware I was in the room, no less what I was talking about. But you never know. Thank you.

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  3. Update #2: Dad looked a little better today, he had more color. He is on morphine for pain and although his eyes were open, I’m not sure he even knew I was in the room. I spoke with people there and everyone is surprised he lived the night but you just never know. We are not expecting him to live for long so for now it’s one day at a time.

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  4. It seems like you are trying to hold on to the good things about him and that’s a healthy way to deal with a complex relationship.I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this; you’ve been incredibly brave about your parents’ issues. Thinking of you with love!

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    1. Thank you Margaret. I don’t know that I’m being so brave, just putting one foot in front of the other. But perhaps that is what brave is.

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