My Dad passed away in our home in NJ in 1990. He had cancer and when all treatments had been exhausted, the Dr suggested we bring him home to pass peacefully. Without a second thought my husband and I decided it would be best to have him with us. We made the necessary arrangements with Hospice and Nurses aids, we got him set up comfortably on the first floor with a hospital bed et al. The first few days went well, he was comfortable and happy to be with us. The aids were helpful and for such a trying and painful time, it was ok. My daughter was about 18 months at the time and a typical toddler. Dad enjoyed watching her play. But after about 4 days he started to slip away..a little bit more each day. To say this was difficult to watch is an understatement, because I was extremely close to my Dad, I loved him deeply. We were alike in many ways and I believe I was always his "favorite" But that is just my humble opinion.
If you can believe that in a situation like this there can be a brief bit of levity, please read on..because...the universe or God or whatever thought that we could use some.
Let me preface the next bit by saying, my father had a glorious sense of humor and he loved and cherished his grandchildren. He was able to often look at the big picture with clarity and a joyful heart.
about 6 days into his stay with us, Dad slept, he was no longer lucid he was on Morphine and was nearing the end of his journey here on earth. I was in the kitchen...my daughter was playing within sight but as toddlers do...she wandered off. I immediately went to check on her....It was very quiet..I walked in to the room where Dad was and lo and behold..the baby had the button controls for the hospital bed and had pushed one to have my Dad...sitting straight up, his eyes wide open, helpless to do anything or say anything. I gasped. horrified as the baby stood there looking at me with that control in her hand, with an expression that said.."What's up Mom?". Needless to say, I got the controls and gently eased Dad back down into a comfortable position. He closed his eyes to rest. But I swear to this day..his eyes were smiling while that baby gave him a ride. I knew that he understood and was smiling on the inside. He would have enjoyed that story, had he heard it told. It makes me smile to tell it..
My Dad was 69 when he died, he stayed with us for the last 10 days of his life. It was the hardest experience of my life, but I wouldn't trade it away. Death is a part of life..and my witnessing his death taught me a wonderful lesson about life. He was a tech sergant, aerial engineer and tail gunner in the USAF during WWII. My father flew missions with 11 other men in B-29's over Japan, The pacific, China and India. My father's plane was shot down over the Pacific..everyone died but him, he was 23. He was resuced by an American submarine patrolling in the area. They saved his life.
When I heard this story as a child..I knew he was special, I also believed that I was special too. It was obvious to me at a young age, that there must be a reason for everything. He was spared because either he, or me or my brother or sister..our offspring or someone down the line would make some kind of mark on the world. What I only recently realized is..WE ALL make a mark on the world..always, every day. As corny as it is...the film It's A Wonderful Life shows what that means to an ordinary man. You get my drift...don't waste a second of your life..even bad days are good days.
Ok I'm rambling now..