My father is dying. On August 7th, he was admitted into the hospital and after much testing (some tortuous), he was finally diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer last week. They've told us it is a very aggressive form of cancer and there is nothing we can do at this stage to stop it. We were shattered and heartbroken with the news. Even though my dad has had his fair share of health issues over the last 4 or 5 years, we always thought it would be his heart that failed him. Never did we even really think about cancer. On top of cancer, his kidneys have also shut down and he had to start dialysis soon after entering the hospital just to live while the doctors were figuring out what was wrong with him.
Yesterday marked his third week in the hospital. I've been going early in the morning and visiting him daily. I go back in the evenings as well. During the first 2 weeks, I was usually the only one there in the early hours and I treasured every single second. We talked, I scratched his back, rubbed his arthritic fingers, shaved his beard, combed his hair, clipped his fingernails and watched him as he slept. I even learned he doesn't like his toothbrush wet down before he brushes his teeth. I loved every single second. He worried about me "spoiling" him with all of the attention. I told him I loved to spoil him and he deserves to be spoiled. I don't think he believed me, but he smiled anyway.
Now, we are near the end. We are planning on bringing him home tomorrow for hospice. He is most likely stopping his dialysis which keeps him alive, but we've been told it is a very peaceful way to die. All of my siblings will be in town and we will be saying goodbye to a man I am blessed and honored to call my father.
The grief comes in waves. Sometimes overwhelming me. How will I ever live without him? How will I breathe when he takes his last breath? I still don't know. I've never experienced a death with someone so close to me and yet I feel so lost already and he's not even gone yet. Even in despair life goes on around you. The noise, the chaos, the laughter, the talking. I want to tell everyone to shut up. Can't you see I'm grieving here?
I am grateful for the time we've had to say everything that needs to be said. Every word, every hug, every kiss and every touch I've tucked away into my soul to cherish. I know he's going to a better place. A pain free, fully healed joyful beautiful place where he will finally be reunited with his beloved father who died over 37 years ago and even though I selfishly want him here, I understand it's time for him to go home.
|One of my favorite pictures of me and my dad.|
We love you Dad/Grumpa!