Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Dad: Dec 16th, 1929 - April 4th, 2016

I knew it was coming, he's been in a slow, downward spiral for several years, but it still was a shock.  Wednesday of last week he had a major heart incidence and his defibrillator went off multiple times in a short period.  He would have died then of a massive heart attack if not for the defibrillator, 911 and a trip to the hospital.  They ran the tests and his heart function had fallen to 20% or less.  Even with all the medical intervention in the world, Dad was in bad shape and didn't have much longer.

I spend about 3 hours with him in the hospital that night, and I knew then.  It's hard to describe... 
But he was done.  He was tired, and he wasn't fighting anymore, and he was ready.  He never really put it into straight out words, but I could tell this was it.  

I came home and cried that night. 

Thursday a meeting was set up with the Doctor, the hospital palliative care folks, Dad, Mom and me.  I don't believe Mom realized what the meeting was really about at first.  Dad decided that morning to turn the defibrillator off, he didn't want to be shocked anymore.  It's really really painful and with his heart like raw hamburger, his quality of life was approaching zip.  He decided to die on his own terms with dignity and peace and no pain.  

He went to Taylor House that afternoon, and after just a few days, he died peacefully in his sleep on Monday Morning.  

I will miss him terribly.  Growing up he was the best of Dads.

I could write books on him, but instead I'll share 1 story, one of the earliest memories I have.   Mom almost never spanked us, that was Dad's job.. being the disciplinarian.  My brother Kit told Mom I did something bad and she exasperatedly told Dad to take care of it.  Dad hauled me into their bed room, asked me my side of the story.   He dried my tears and said all right, now scream like I'm spanking you.... so I screamed and he whacked the bed several times... then hugged me and and led me out of the bedroom holding my hand and saying she's been punished and that's the end of it.

I remember how smug my brother's smile was, and I remember looking up at Dad, holding his hand and seeing the gleam in his blue eyes.  I remember trying not to giggle through my tears.  I felt so special in that moment,  He listened to me, and took my side in a way that wouldn't hurt anyone else in the process.

I can't remember what the transgression was, I'm sure it wasn't anything major, because Dad did punish me when he really needed to.  I don't think he liked Kit narking on me, or didn't feel it was worthy of a spanking... He never really spanked me much growing up.  Honestly he didn't have to -- knowing he was disappointed in me was more punishment that a spanking could ever be.  I admit I was a total Daddy's girl.

The last several years have been difficult watching him age, personality changes, mobility issues, and all the rest of the sucky getting old stuff -- and he had dementia.  He still seem to know everyone, but he got confused about when it was, and his short term memory was really messed up.  Whenever he had a heart episode - which seemed to be monthly the past year, he would often get really confused about why he was in the hospital and what was happening.  He was always so good at math, and he would figure stuff in his head .... but the last few years I'd helped with balancing the checkbook, because he just couldn't anymore.  He wrote checks and forgot to put them in the register, and then forgot what he wrote them for.  I know this really frustrated him.  He knew he had Dementia, and it would only get worse overtime.

His hands had grown stiff to the point he was having problems using utensils.

He was in pain all the time.  His heart, and all the rest of him, was just worn out.

So while I can't believe he's gone, and I still burst into tears at the oddest moments and it HURTS that's he not here anymore, I know it's better for him.  

I love you Pops.


The bad Liz said...

This was in a card that I received when my brother passed - and it's perfect:

I received a card that really helped - I wish I could find more of the card, but I did save it, so here it is:

"I'll bet you've had about enough of peopleing telling you how strong you are
and how great you're doing during this awful, difficult period in your life.

Maybe you'd rather hear someone say how much this sucks, how outrageous and unfair it is.
Maybe you'd rather hear someone tell you that you don't have to be strong all the time. Or that it's definitely okay to curse fate and throw a tantrum or two.

So here I am to tell you all that stuff and more, to let you know where I stand, which is right in your corner. There's no right way or wrong way at a time like this.

However you work through this thing is immaterial to me.
All I care about is that you ask for what you need, lean on those who love you, and try to trust me when I say that you'll come out the other side."

(Jeannie Hund)

So sorry to hear of your father's death. Hugs to you, Jerry and Jessera!

Cynthia said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. My Dad's been gone 3 years, and like your Dad, he was ready to go. It's hard on "us", but I know they are in a better place, pain free! Hugs to you and your family at this time.

Susan Yorke said...

Kat, that was really beautiful. Your love shines. Love you, my friend.

Kat BM said...

thank you everyone, I really appreciate it

Phyllis Y said...

I'm so sorry, Kat. Your dad sounds like a great man and a real sweetheart. What a wonderful relationship you two had! Praying for comfort and peace for you and your family.