In December I had a planned foot surgery scheduled. December 10th to be exact. What I did NOT have planned was that on November 23rd we would get the news that my Dad’s seven year fight with prostate cancer had come to an end, and hospice was all that we could do. It was the end, they said.. and just keep him comfortable as possible.
We ended up moving him into a spare bedroom at my parent’s house, and after my surgery we became roomies.
I began sleeping there so that my Momma wouldn’t have to be alone. In his final weeks of life I sat beside him, foot elevated, icing, watching TV (so much Dan Patrick show. Sooooo much), listening to music, coloring, reading, chatting when it wasn’t too overwhelming for him, massaging his hands with lotion, on and on…
Occasionally I consider writing the journey of those last 38 days from the time he went into hospice care and the day he passed. Because it was both beautiful (in the way of our family’s love and the way we rose up to the challenge of our lifetime) as well as heartbreaking. Why would I tell about that? I don’t know… it may provide help or support to someone else watching their loved one deteriorate before their eyes. Maybe some day..
A dear friend sent me a book called Final Gifts. It was a good (but tough) read. I read it on and off as Dad and I sat together. It said that alot of times people who are dying are aware of when. Or when they’re getting close.
His cancer spread to his spinal fluid, which eventually (and very quickly) took over his brain. And when his mind started slipping he always mentioned Thursday. In retrospect, it wasn’t really a question asking if it WAS Thursday. More of a look of confused and then “Thursday?” So Mom or I’d say “nope, today is Tuesday! Taco Tuesday.” (Or whatever day it actually was) But he never seemed to be satisfied with knowing the answer.
I got him a white board with dry erase markers to help him. And I’d write whatever day of the week, what the weather was and if anyone was coming to visit… and he would still say “Thursday?” And he would point off in the distance.
I thought to myself that he really must want it to be Thursday for some reason. But just sortof let it go and patiently explain the day it was. But again, it was like we weren’t “getting” each other.
The hospice nurse saw him the morning of December 30th and said she’s looking at minutes left of his life judging by his breathing. She said she’d be super surprised if he made it through the day.
So my mom, brother and I sat with him like always throughout the day/evening and went to sleep after his 1am meds. And shortly thereafter he passed. On New Years Eve. On a Thursday.
So now every Thursday I play his favorite music. All day. We toast him. I talk *more* to him.
Thursdays are now for Dad 💜