The long and winding road…

Tuesday last week his doctors gave him one to two days. Thanks to all of you, I was on a plane the next morning, my sister met my flight, and we had a couple of good days of visiting with him.

He was in and out of lucidity, but he did remember that summer day in 1961 or ’62  when I was about ten and my eight year old brother and I found a great big snapping turtle in a creek in the woods behind the house in Arlington, VA, and we couldn’t get it out of the creek ourselves so we ran home and he came with us back into the woods, fished it out with a stick, and we carried it back home and kept it fed and happy for a few days, and the memory made him smile.

He was a good dad like that. He used to take us camping up in the mountains along the Shenandoah River in the summers. They were good summer days…

After he remembered all that he smiled weakly up at me and said “thanks for coming, but go home now and do your work, there is nothing more you can do here…“.

Now we’re just waiting within earshot of the telephone, but he’s proved them wrong for more than a week now, and maybe he’ll continue for awhile to prove them wrong, but today the hospital called his wife and suggested that she get there quickly, that his pulse rate is dropping pretty fast.

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    • Edger on March 25, 2010 at 10:34 pm
      Author

    to visit him last week without all of you. Thank you.

    I don’t know how much I’ll be around here today…

    • Joy B. on March 25, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Been there, done that… it’s one of the nastiest screwballs life has to throw at you, even if it’s “entirely natural, the way of things.” I am so, so sorry my friend. Hang in there, and ask again when it’s time for the last pageant. I’ve got a little now…

    Glad you could be there when it still counted, sorry I was unable to help.

  1. Photobucket

    • RiaD on March 26, 2010 at 12:04 am

    what a wonderful dad

    what good memories

    i’m so glad you could get there to share a smile…

    hugs to you & yours

    ♥~

    • TMC on March 26, 2010 at 12:08 am

    You needed to be there for him and you. I hope he is comfortable. The Wheel Turns. Blessed Be.

  2. I was in California at the time and she was here.  The “drop everything and go” people are right when it comes to family.  You never get another chance.  I never got to see her in a lucid state again, but she opened her eyes and looked at me several times and I comfort myself with hoping she knew I was there at the end.  And I was there, at the very end.  The shock was pretty intense, since my mom was only 54.

    {{Edger}} I am so glad you got to see your dad one last time.

  3. the turning of the wheel…..

    life is a mystery……

    • Heather on March 26, 2010 at 1:34 am

    I’m so glad you got to go.

  4. To be “there” at the right time — how more important does it get?

    I know, that despite the realities, you must have a deep feeling of “comfort” within, in having been able to see him “one more time.”

  5. to sustain you during the difficult times.  Wishing you, your dad, and your other family members peace.  

  6. At the funeral home which did my Mother’s funeral, we asked/told them to turn off their piped music; we did our own — many things important to her; this was one of the centerpieces.

    Blessings, Edger.  I have cried gentle tears reading this.

    So, may we … “Let the music keep our spirits high.”

    • Edger on March 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm
      Author

    for all the nice comments. No news this morning. Ruth is just sitting by his side waiting, and we’re waiting for the call…

  7. And that he was lucid while you were there.

    Closure with a parent is a special peace that is invaluable upon his/her passing.

    Be well

    Too bad the song doesn’t fit on one clip, but the poster did a good job of splitting it at least.

  8. . . . that final blessing from a beloved parent.  They complete the store of your happy memories.  I’m so happy for you, Edger, that you were able to experience them.

    My own mother ascended to the next level this past February 15.  Happily–in every sense of the word–we took care of her at home during her final months on the physical plane, and I’ll always treasure the last things she said to me, her last smiles . . .

    Your dad will live forever in your heart, as my mom will in mine.  And we will always be embraced by their love.

  9. ….my mother could not remember my name.

    She had viral encephalitis and it caused her some brain damage.

    She was always good with numbers, she had been an accountant, so although she could not with any regularity remember my name she always knew I was her second born.

    She would call me, in those final two years, her Number 2 Son and she said it with such love that it still chokes me up a bit.

    Thank you Edger for sharing with us.

    • pfiore8 on March 27, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    and on it, was a smelly, scared little dog out Romania.

    she’s shaved now. clean. she’s been sleeping on the bed i bought her. deep deep dog sleeping. like she hasn’t had a safe sleep in a long time.

    she’s cute. smart. starting to brave the trust gap.

    for all of the things happening in life, she makes it so simple. those moments each day in the last week when she wagged her tail. or jumped like she might actually play. following me around the house. a small gruff attempt at a bark. and she really did a little howl at the top of the stairs.

    these things. and going on grand and great adventures with your dad. moments. that signify what is right with life. why we fight for it.

    and in grace and humility, how we know when to move aside and let it pass onto the next journey …

    so glad you got home.

    • sharon on March 27, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    swallowed up by hcr and schoolwork until schoolwork won.  had no idea about your father and your trip east until reading this now.  would have helped gladly, but am happy that you were able to get there and share meaningful time with him.  what it meant to him to look up and see you and know that there is enough love in his life and yours that you were able to smile together again is something you will carry with you always.  it sounds as if your father also understands his son.  keep on with your words and your work, my friend.  i wish your father a peace in this world and the next.

  10. If you have any children of your own or nieces or nephews, the little stories, such as the one in your touching essay, would be a wonderful gift to pass down to them.  Even if they don’t appreciate it fully now, someday that might well change.

    Surprisingly, neither my mother nor her two sisters or brother chose to take possession of my grandmother’s diaries when she passed away in 1984.  For many years, she dutifully filled these diaries, in longhand, with details of daily life, including the time when my grandfather passed away in 1980.

    She seemed to realize that what she wrote might be read by future generations, so did not delve into deep philosophical discourse, or criticism of others (although I suspect that at times she was resisting the temptation to do so) but recorded events of their daily lives, which may have seemed trifling at the time, but are much more fascinating now, such as the first appearance of a robin each year (in view of climate change today), or prices that they paid for certain items (given inflation). In a sense, it seems that she is speaking to me even today, passing on information that now seems far more important than it possibly could have at the time.

    Without fail in every annual diary, she wished a happy birthday to all her children and grandchildren. She also recorded the details of every visit I ever made, sometimes with a new girlfriend or significant other, in some cases, circumstances that would otherwise be permanently forgotten.  

    I recently revisited these diaries and read her entries for the past several weeks during which they appeared.  Toward the end of her writings, she began to mention not feeling well.  Her entries gradually become shorter and less detailed, until they suddenly stopped altogether. She went into a nursing home at that time, where she lived for several more months, in considerable pain, but was always cheerful and never complained whenever I’d visit.

    I wouldn’t trade these diaries for anything.

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