Monday, February 27, 2012

Thank You

I want to thank each of you who have helped me through this difficult period with your kind words, thoughts and prayers. It truly meant a lot to me and made it a little easier. Bless each one of you.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Now I turn toward taking care of my mother like I promised my father I would. I'm going to make every attempt to stop by before and after work everyday as long as I'm not closing. Just because it would be too late to visit. I'm gonna call her on the way home on those days before she goes to bed. My biggest fear, concern is that, now that she is alone, something will happen and there will be no one around to help. Even in my father's condition, he could have called for help if nothing else. I'm hoping to convince her the keep her phone with her at all times, even in the house, just in case of an emergency. The thought of her laying helpless or worse, unconscious, or still worse, dead, and no one there terrifies me. I know the time will come when I will be the one most likely to find her, but I don't want to hasten the time because there was no one to render assistance. The next few weeks is sure to be filled with people coming and going and calling, I'm worried about the months and maybe years that follow, when things clam down a bit. She has spent her adult life taking care of people, I want to take care of her and protect her. And when her time comes, I don't want her to be alone.

The Day After

The whole service went smoothly and gracefully, lasting a little over 2 1/2 hours. It was all very understated and simple, just the way my father would have wanted it. My mother choose simple red roses in vases on pedestals flanking the casket, with a spray tied with red ribbon sharing the end of the plain light wood coffin with the American flag. (They reminded her of the dozen roses he would give her every year for the last 55 years for Valentine's Day. This year she gave the roses.) The sanctuary was packed. I estimate close to 200 people packed the little country church. "Because he lives" was sung by a family friend. Everyone joined in for "Shall we gather at the river?", the song my father told me he liked. It reminded me of the lake house, since he always referred to it as going to the the "river". The interment service was beautifully executed and very moving. The playing of "Taps" on the bugle finally got me. The pall bearers were all his nephews and great nephews, nine of them, wearing white rose boutineer, that were removed and placed on the coffin. "Amazing Grace" was sung acapella, with a few spontaneously joining in. It was simple a beautiful memorial to commemorate a wonderful man. He will be greatly missed by many. He once told my mother if he died on a Monday, bury him on Tuesday, and start living again on Wednesday. And bury him in a plain pine box. I think he would have approved.

Monday, February 20, 2012

In Passing

My father passed away this morning. My mother had checked his blood pressure and oxygen level around 4:15 am and all was fine. She dozed off and awoke around 5:20 am and checked his blood pressure again and there was none. She called my sister and I about 15 minutes till 6 am. I came right over. We waited on the Hospice nurse to come and pronounce him. We waited for the funeral home to come and collect him. The nurse and I destroyed the medicines that were left (or unused). My mother and I made phone calls to various family members starting at 7 am. My sister arrived before he had been removed. She was shocked and distraught at that, but I couldn't get to the door in time to stop her from bursting in. She has a thing about that. She won't even pay respects before they close a casket. Never has. Never will I guess. The rest of the morning was an endless parade of well wishing family and friends. We did finally get away for the afternoon to go make the arrangements at the funeral home. Tomorrow my mother and I will go to the cemetery to finish up that process.

The visitation is from 1 to 2:30 at Siler Presbyterian Church in Wesley Chapel. Followed immediately by the service in the sanctuary. Internment service will be at 3:30 at Lakeland Memorial Park on highway 200 in Monroe.

It's now after 9pm. I'm exhausted and so is my mother. I'm spending the night here with her. The house is eerily quiet without the hum of the oxygen generator in the background. I've ran between my house and hers four times today, to shower or change clothes or check on Izzy. Last night as I went out the door, I yelled to my father, "I love you." He answered back, "I love you too." I didn't know it would be for the last time.

(Work has given me 5 paid days off. Monday thru Friday. I was already scheduled to be off Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I'll return to work next Tuesday.)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Daddy Update

I got a phone call this morning from my mother about 7:20 am. My father had fell outside on the steps and she thought he was dying. I rushed over, running stoplights and breaking speed limits in the process. I found her holding his head in her lap on the back steps. He was unresponsive, gasping for breath. We managed to get him moved back into the house and laid on the floor. I held him while my mother got the blood pressure cuff. His breathing turned rapid and shallow. I asked her to turn on the overhead light so I could see if his pupils would react. They did. I found his pulse to be slow but strong. His skin was very pale. He was bleeding from a really bad 5 inch scrap on his arm and elbow. I called Hospice and had someone come out. My mother called 911 to help us get him off the floor and into the bed. I was afraid I would hurt him if I manhandled him myself. After about 40 minutes, he regained consciousness. He was talking, albeit, very lowly. He recalled what happened and where he was. Shortly after, 3 EMT's showed up and moved him to the bed. (One was very handsome!) Another rescue unit showed up to transport him if needed, though I had already told the dispatcher it wasn't necessary since he was under Hospice care and a DNR. An hour after all this started, the nurse showed up and made her assessment. My sister arrived from Salisbury, 60 miles away (she was told he was dead). My Aunt and Uncle showed up upon hearing from other relatives that Fire and Rescue was at he house. Same for the Deacon and his wife hearing of it the same way. They also passed it along to minster for the rest of the congregation. I came home briefly to let the dog out and returned since my sister was there and my father was lucid once again. My brother in law and 2 nephews are en route. My niece is away at a dance competition. I will go back this evening for a few hours.

My mother was asking for feedback and suggestions about the funeral arrangements when things calmed down. All things being as they are, it appears that it will be needed soon. The final grains of sand are falling. There aren't many left...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Wishing everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day!

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