So Hard to Say Goodbye

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My dad passed away Wednesday morning.  I arrived at the hospice house around 10 AM.  My dad’s friend was already sitting there with him.  As soon as I walked in, the social worker, chaplain and doctor followed me into the room.  I knew that wasn’t good.  My dad was resting peacefully, not really struggling to breathe anymore, but I could tell the end was near.

The nurses tended to a few things with him and asked us to step outside for a minute.  I walked down the hall with our friends that had come to visit.  A few minutes later, Dad’s nurse quickly came down to get me and said that she believed it was time.  I went back with her and she held me close.  We went in and I said ‘goodbye’.  Dad’s nurse was amazing – everyone was.  She made sure he went peacefully.  He was gone within 2 minutes after we returned.

It was so awful but I felt a lot of love around me from the nurses, the chaplain, the social worker, and the hospice doctor who had been in a bit earlier.  Total strangers whose job it is to help people die with dignity and peace.  They are heroes and angels to me.

My dad was a great guy.  He was quiet and thoughtful.  I can honestly say he never once yelled at me.  He passed his engineering genes on to me but I would never have his patience to sit and analyze everything in my mind like he did.  He would take everything apart and figure out how it was made – especially packages from products.  He made his living designing things from plastic and Styrofoam.  Red solo cup? – he designed and worked on those machines for much of my childhood.  Drink-thru and tear-tab coffee cup lids? – yes, I grew up with several hundred of them scattered around the house.  He flew around the world and fixed machines that made containers.  He spent several months in Bulgaria (back when it was behind the “iron curtain”) when their yogurt cup machines went down – it was almost a national catastrophe.  “They” sent him to the Black Sea on vacation as a ‘thank you’ for getting them back on line.  He had crazy ideas about everything – my favorite was that he would dump our Christmas tree in the backyard swimming pool for a day or so before setting it up in the living room.  He felt giving it a good soaking would help preserve it.  I had very few science projects in school that he didn’t hi-jack and turn into something way more complicated than I could understand.  I spent hours sitting in his office while he worked on computer programs – usually not my idea – but he was so excited to show me as he learned new things.  He was one of the first people around that had a personal computer and he taught himself several programming languages and applications.  He gave me a computer for high school and made me enter all of my clothes in a “database” and create outfits using what I learned.  But he gave me a love for doing things for myself, figuring out a way to make things work, and a spirit of self-sufficiency.  I have always felt like I could take care of myself if I had to.  He loved and respected my husband.  He knew he was leaving me in good hands.  He was extremely proud of my weight loss this past year and supported me in that all the way.

It will take me a long time to process everything that has happened in the past 2 weeks.  I don’t think I worked through my grief very well when my mom died.  I must not have, or I don’t think I would have gained 100 pounds in that time.  I need to be very careful and take care of my health and my weight.  I need to get help with grief – maybe even if I don’t think I need to.  I am worried that I will undo all that I have worked so hard for.  I hope and pray that I have learned enough from my weight loss journey to keep me focused and that I use the tools and resources when it gets tough to get back on track.

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7 Responses to So Hard to Say Goodbye

  1. Carole Matte says:

    Dear Martha and family,

    I send you my deepest condolences on the loss of your father, father-in-law and grandfather. May you always have pleasant memories of the times that you have shared together. You can take pleasure in knowing that your father is now reunited with your mother.

    Your father will be in my prayers and I will light up a candle at our parish on Sunday.

    Martha if you have a chance to pick-up this book How to Love Again by John Monbourquette it will certainly help you in this time of grief. It helps you move from grief to growth. Father Monbourquette was one of my husband’s professor when he was studying theology at St-Paul University here in Ottawa, Canada. When both of my parents passed away, 7 years apart, I found that this book helped me trough this difficult period. My father was the first to leave this world, my grieving was cut short because I had to take care of my 83 year old mother and all the material matters. Then my mom passed away on December 25th of a massive heart attack. My grieving was accompanied by How to Love Again, which helped me understand many aspects of my reactions to my mother’s death.

    May God bless and Mary protect all of you.

    Carole M.

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  2. Kathy says:

    Martha,

    I am so terribly sorry for the loss to you and your family of such an incredible man. As I read your post with tears in my eyes, I remembered the comment you sent me recently about your dad. I’m not forgetting that. I pray for healing for you and your family in the days ahead.

    Much love,
    Kathy

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  3. Lynn says:

    Martha what a beautiful tribute to your Dad….. I am praying that your memories of him will sustain through your grieving. Please get help with your grief and know that whatever you feel is OK. Know that your dad and Mom always wanted the best for you …. Remember how proud your dad was with your weight loss …. Reach out to those you know can help …. Praying for peace and strength as you grieve …..

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  4. Felicia says:

    I am so sorry for your loss and you and your family are in my thoughts. I really love reading your blog and all of the stories you’ve shared about your father. I truly believe that the ones we love never truly leave us. Your dad shared so much with you and I am thankful that you were able to share it with us.

    Take care of yourself, you will not undo all of the work that you have done. It is a part of you now, trust in all that you have accomplished and it will be there for you.

    With love and prayers,
    Felicia

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  5. Amanda says:

    Martha,

    My condolences to your family. Your father sounds like a wonderful man who has had an impact on so many lives, but most of all yours. He was lucky to have you by his side – as you were to have him.

    Take time to heal. Don’t be afraid of the weight, you KNOW what to do and this time it will be different. You have your routine, find it again and I bet it will help. YOU GOT THIS!!!

    Hugs and love to your family,

    Thanks for what you do for us – now go take some time for you and your Dad (and Mom)

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  6. Connie says:

    Martha, I feel like I know you even though we have never met in person. I am so touched by your loving memories of your father. He sounds as if he was a fantastic father and role model. Please know you will be in my thoughts.

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  7. Martha, I am so very sorry for your loss. I know from reading your blog that the past few weeks have been very difficult for all of you. I loved reading your memories of him; he sounds like a great dad and teacher. You have been in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to be in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Take time for yourself to reminisce and grieve and try not to worry too much about undoing your weight loss. I have complete confidence in you and I think it is a huge step in the right direction that you recognize that your time of grief can make it easier to fall into old habits. The fact that you recognize that is wonderful and I think will better equip you to tackle those challenges head on. Take time to go for a quick run if it will help clear your mind and lean on your family and friends, too. I know we don’t know in each other in person, but if you ever need to talk or vent or just need a sounding board, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me (leroeseler@gmail.com).

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