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.