When my mom, and brother and I gathered in the hospice room for the final few days of my dad's life, she recalled how dad once estimated my dad's knack of knowing one of his nurse's age. She leaned over to her as she was learning how to smash pills in ice cream and said, "you must be 42 years old.: Mom recalled of how everyone on the geriatrics floor laughed. As mom says, "once a numbers man, always a numbers man.: And another instance was when dad had a final dream of being surrounded by a group of 18 men in long white robes.
Dad, you did your math well with the games of gin and with the plopping in of the balls in the game of pool.
And you did a real good job in helping me map my way through the federal tax maze. I remember when you went away from the phone to research issues that I brought up before you.
When I look back at the final couple days at the hospice, I recall looking at the picture on the wall and seeing the aqua and the burnt yellow of the walls-nice earth tones. Just like the earth tones that we had in our kitchen that we ate our oatmeal breakfasts.
After the first day of visiting with dad, mom turned on the light inside of dad's room 305 to light it up. As we left the parking light, we saw the light from his room glowing. It was comforting to us to see that.
On the final time of our visit, we ate at Tim Hortons which was one of my fathers favorite places to grab a meal for under $20,00 for three people. Mom recalled how Dad loved the chicken salad sandwich, the chicken noodle soup and the old fashioned sugar donut and a hot apple cider. I really enjoyed eating and sipping on the soup which had bow tie pastas in it and broth had a gentle seasoning in it. The chicken was dressed with just the right amount of dressing that had a piquant taste to it. And the old fashioned sugared donut had just the right amount of coating of sweetness to it and the hot cider was soothing as i swallowed it.
when we spent the last afternoon in dad's room, I sat by his bedside and shared how I had his favorite meal as I spoke to him. Mom and Randy thought that was cute how I spoke to my dad and how he probably wondered why I was talking about food especially with my dad not eating for the last couple of weeks. My dad was a strong man and hung in there for the arrival of his family.
When I looked at my father's hand, it impressed me that his wedding ring was still on his hand and mom said that has never come off in their 61 years of marriage and that he would be cremated with the ring on his finger. That is a commitment marked to the tee.
After sharing of this lunch, I spent some moments alone with dad saying how i would miss him and I would be fine without him. Randy had shared earlier. I told him it was okay for him to take his trip and send an email back to me from his new destination.I told dad,"of course mom will give you her final okay to go on." As the nurse came in a few minutes later to take a look at dad, one of the final signs that was in the hospice book was apparent when he released some output. When i shared that with mom , she knew that it was probably a matter of a day or so. When I was sitting having lunch, we got a call about 12:10 from the hospice in which they said, "dad died at 11:55 a.m. on November 5th. I threaded the visit just in the knick of time.
At least this bedroom will not change forever and he won't need a guard outside!!!
I still miss you papa but I am plugging along as you told me in a previous conversation as I stood in my lobby at work to share my life with you. Thanks for the final words-not realizing then that they were.
Now no resemblances of my face to share when I was next to you. But you are still 50 Percent of my makeup and complexion and personality.
I am glad that there was a little delay in your taking of your journey. Thi