The hardest moment of the entire year was after my dad was put on hospice. The hospice nurse was coming later that afternoon to admit him to hospice.
That morning he started having a harder time breathing. He was sweating more. He was so anxious and kept checking his oxygen saturation and his heart rate. I could tell he wasn’t doing well. His heart rate was hovering in the 120s and his sats, despite the oxygen, were dropping to the mid 80s.
My dad was dying.
Well, I knew my dad was dying, just days prior he was given 2-3 weeks to live. The cancer had spread to his femur, his colon, both lungs, and his neck.
But now, my dad was actually dying. I knew it. He didn’t.
My dad was not an anxious person but that morning he was.
Mom and I were whispering in the kitchen about how difficult this was going to be if he was going to be this anxious. It was so hard to watch him knowing this was the beginning of the end.
I was helping him to the bathroom. He was to the point he needed helping walking and getting around.
He asked me “Do you think I should go back in? Do you think this is pneumonia again?”
I took a deep breath. I could lie. I wanted to lie so bad. I wanted to tell him that he would feel better once we got him settled in the recliner. I wanted to tell him that antibiotics could fix this. I wanted to reassure him.
I couldn’t lie.
I took a deep breath. My voice shook. “No dad, I think this is the hard part.”
I told my Dad he was dying.
Instantly we both were sobbing. He held his head in his hands and cried like I’d never seen him cry before. I rubbed his back. We cried together in the bathroom. It was maybe one of 3 times I’d seen my Dad cry in my life. It was the first and only time I’d ever seen him sob.
After a few minutes he told me something I’ll never forget.
“You know Kalissa, you’re one tough son of a bitch. I could never do what you are doing for me.”
“How could I not do this for you Dad? You were such a good dad to me.”
We sat in silence a few more minutes. I’m not sure how much time went by.
When we eventually came out. I called the hospice nurse to make sure she brought medications to make Dad more comfortable when she admitted him to hospice.
Dad passed away 4 days later. The medications hospice provided helped ease his breathing and helped him relax.
I take great pride in knowing I made Dad as comfortable as possible during his final days. He was able to stay at home. Friends and family flooded the house those last few days.
We spent the Saturday before he passed away in the living room with him. We laughed, we cried, we planned his funeral, we took long naps.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I never want to forget those days and it hurts so bad to remember them.
I’m sitting here typing this and tears are streaming down my face. I was doing fine. Even with the holidays I was doing just fine.
This wave of grief came out of no where and I just needed to get these words and these pictures on paper.
I’m afraid I’m getting too comfortable in his absence. Am I not missing him enough? Am I working hard enough to keep his memory alive? Am I remembering him beyond his cancer diagnosis? Am I grieving the right way?
That’s what I have for today folks. Check back tomorrow morning for another post.