Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thirteen Days in September...


Note: This entry is recalling some events from my journal during Dad's final days. Some of you may not care to read this....it's for my loved ones, but you are welcome to listen in if you wish:
It has been a day of reflection for me...bringing back some memories that I would rather just stay in the recesses of my mind. Four years ago early this morning, Dad slipped away from us.

Carol was getting ready to celebrate her BIG 40th birthday, Bob had a car convention scheduled in North Kansas City, so I was home for both big events. I flew in to Kansas City a few days before Bob made the trip to Kansas so I could help Garry surprise Carol with a party. And the day that I got there, Dad ended up in the hospital.
Steve & Dad...no denying the family resemblence!
Those memories have been racing through my mind all day long. During that time I bought a notebook and spent many hours sitting in Dad's ICU room, journeying with a vengeance. A few months ago I got that notebook out, read through it, then put it safely away...not wanting to read it again for a long, long time.

Dad & his girls...

With the love of his life...
in Kennebunkport, Maine...I'm so glad we made the trip!

But the dates are there. The day Dad entered the hospital, September 13th, the day before Carol's birthday. The 14th...the day we went on & celebrated Carol's 40th birthday. The 15th...the day Bob got in town, came to visit Dad late at night, not quite understanding that Dad really was very ill... The wee hours of the early morning on the 16th, the day Dad was admitted to the Intensive Care Floor--and the day that the doctor mentioned the word "ventilator"--and also the day Dad asked for Steve to come home...The 17th, the morning I got the call that it was time for Dad to be put on the ventilator, and also the day Steve arrived--The 18th...the morning I remember being alone in the waiting room when the doctor told me that Dad had ARDS--& I had no idea what that was--& sometime that day my children & grandchildren all arrived from Indiana...The 19th--the day we celebrated Parker's 2nd birthday in the hospital's dining room...& while we were there, Dad miraculously woke up just long enough for Steve, Karen & Jeff to rush back to the room to see him once again...& then he drifted away...The 20th, the day Bob headed back to Indiana, followed later that afternoon by the rest of my family...The 21st...waiting, knowing the doctors have warned us that Dad won't get any better after he has been on the ventilator for 10 days...& Steve needed to get back to work in California...The 22nd--the day Steve went home & we tried to go on with life. I insisted that Carol do some things for her own family...The 23rd...trying to keep in touch with family & letting others know...The 24th...the day we are warned again by the doctors that decisions will soon have to be made --and the day several friends came by, just when we needed them (I'll never forget Don & Fayerene Walden walking into that room when I felt so all alone...)--And the 25th...there is no entry in my journal for that day. I could never bring myself to write about those last few hours.

Thankfully, my brother & sister & I never had to make the decision of when to take Dad off of the ventilator. I don't know if I could ever have done that. Mercifully, God knew the time to take Dad on to Heaven...the answer to my prayer.

There was a beautiful garden at that hospital where one could go walk, meditate, pray, make phone calls, or just get away by ones self. I used that garden several times. If you received a phone call from me during that time, I might have been in that garden. And there was a bench just outside the ICU unit door where we would sit & talk or make more phone calls. I remember sitting on that bench that Saturday morning with Carol. And finally the time came for us to walk away....we no longer had a reason to re-enter those doors. It was time to walk to our cars and go home. It was one of the saddest walks I've ever made.

Walking in the garden at Menorah Hospital

with my grandsons--Parker & Carter

But it was time to go on with our lives, make arrangements for a Celebration of Dad's life, and reflect on the good times. He would want it to be a happy time. And I think in it's own way, it was. I still remember man after man telling me that my Dad was the best friend they ever had! He would have liked that.

5 comments:

Carol said...

WOW! There's a blast of memories! I am SO thankful I rushed back to Dad's room for his very brief "breakthrough" consciousness. I said, "Hi Papa Bear"! He squeezed my hand and a tear ran down his cheek.

Awesome that you recorded all the days that are now a blurry memory for me. (well, some things will be forever vivid, but thankfully, not everything)!

Great post, Sis! (how weird is it that we both posted at nearly the same time??)

Sheila said...

Great minds run alike! :) I think we might be a little bit more alike that you might want to admit....

Karen Walden said...

I am so glad that you were out there during Gpa Brown's last days on earth. I didn't know you kept a journal of those days... I am so glad we cancelled Parker's 2nd Birthday party and went to Kansas to see Gpa one last time! I'll also never forget that hand squeeze he gave me right before we headed home. It's hard for me to believe that he and Gma are really gone. It still seems like they should live in that little brown house down the street from Carol. I have some wonderful memories of Gpa Brown and miss him so much.
Thanks for a sweet post for our wonderful Grandpa/Dad...

Lady J said...

I'm not family but I can relate to your post. After Mom's death someone suggested that I journal my frustrations, etc. So I bought a book and wrote for hours, literally. Put it down and wrote more later. Like you I don't pick it up and read it. They are not memories I want fresh in my mind. Mom will have been gone 9 years come Oct 16.

Sheila said...

One of the nurses in the ICU saw me with my journal & suggested I write down my thoughts. She had lost a very young son & said by journaling, it helped her deal with it later.