Sitting by my dad’s bedside, I had a lot of time to think. If you have read any of my blog in the past, you know that I don’t sugar coat things. I am not that person who is going to pretend things are all sunshine and butterflies when they just aren’t. I am a very positive person with an endless supply of hope, but I’m not going to pretend. I’m all about being real.
I just spent 3 days watching my father die. It was a brutal experience.
And I would do it again.
I did not go home, I slept in his room on a chair. The hospital was 2 1/2 hours from his house. It was the closest place that could handle his level of needs. I ate from a basket of snacks the nurses brought to me while drinking what seemed like gallons of coffee. We reached a point where only the basic cleanup was done – he didn’t want to be moved, poked or prodded anymore. He was so, very done. I used my trusty essential oils to help with the smell, both his and mine.
It was a difficult journey we took, my Dad and I. And I know it was what needed to be done. Everyone knew. Not one person argued what I was doing. My amazing husband never even questioned it. He rescheduled commitments and handled the house and kids without missing a beat. It was hard, but we all just knew.
My father was a lot of things. Some of them good, some of them not so much. He was human and made mistakes, just like the rest of us. The one thing that I am most thankful for – the one thing out of the decades of knowing this man – is that he would always watch the Boy if I needed help.
What? Babysitting? That’s the best you got from your father? Go ahead, say it. Call me all those nasty names. But what it meant for my father to always watch MY boy is not the same as his babysitting for just anyone.
No matter how many times he was bitten – he would still watch him.
No matter how many holes he put in the walls – he would still watch him.
No matter how many things he broke – he would still watch him.
No matter how many times he pinched – he would still watch him.
He never asked why I needed help, he never said it was too much or too often. He just said sure. No drama, no worry, no problem.
So at the end of my father’s life, it was the least that I could do. I could make sure that he wasn’t in pain. I could help it be as swift and comfortable as possible. I could make sure that every time he opened his eyes there was a familiar face and voice right there with him. A familiar smell in his nose. I could ensure that he would not die alone.
I couldn’t do a lot of things for my father. He was a strong willed man. I was a momma to 5 kids trying to do the best I could with what I had. We had the struggle of Autism, and it affected our relationship. It affected what I could do for my father during his life, but it did not change what I was able to do for his death. I know there are still struggles ahead. I don’t know how I will explain to my 13 year old boy that his grandfather is gone. I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t know that he will be able to attend a funeral, or burial, or interact with any of our family. But what I DO know is that my father will understand. I know because he lived it with us. In the trenches. Battered, bruised and often bloody. He lived it.
Rest in peace Dad <3