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Working Through It

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I've really appreciated reading everyone's posts. We all have such different situations, but yet they are so similar. I didn't reply to anyone specifically yet, but each message made me feel for the posters and families involved.

My dad passed away 2/6/04. He had cancer for over 6 years (and they gave him 18 months at diagnosis!). It was still a shock at the end. The last year he was in and out of the hospital several times, and the last time didn't seem different. There was nothing more they could do. His body was shutting down, and we took home for hospice care. I'm so grateful that the hospital staff suggested hospice. I know that is what he, and the family, would have wanted, but how do you know when it's time? He was in the hospital for a week. I was so fortunate to be able to take sick time from work to spend extra time with him. One day I was sitting with him, holding his hand. He hadn't been very lucid that day, and he was dozing. I said or did something that woke him, and he looked at me all sleepy, 'What?' I'll never forget that. He looked so sleepy, but content, like a little kid. And he knew that he was sitting there with his daughter who loved him. smile.gif

He was home for hospice care for a week before he passed. I was still so unsure of whether he was really dying, or whether his body was shutting down because he was loaded on pain meds and not eating. I know now this was a groundless fear, but I was so confused by this at the time.

The last night we discovered that his catheter had been kinked and leaked on his pajamas. There were four of us, but it was impossible to move or lift him to change him. We had to cut the clothes off. He was moaning and groaning the whole time. I was crying becasue I knew how he hated it. It had been so hard for him for years, knowing that he was unable to do everything. This was the ultimate un-ability. His breathing had been labored all day. I was still crying and my heart was aching for him. I hoped that he was unaware of what was going on because I knew he would hate it. I went upstairs to wash my face for five minutes and the next thing I knew my sister was on the phone with my brother, telling him to come home becase he had died. I couldn't believe it. I was just upstairs. My mom had noticed that his breathing stopped. It's amazing that it can go, just like that. I was glad that he didn't have to suffer anymore.

I feel so lucky to have had those years to know him. I took the time to visit him, take him lunch, just watch TV. I know he loved me. He knows I loved him. I did not have a good relationship with him growing up. We were so lucky to have forgiven each other. I am SO thankful for that.

After he died, I began counseling. I have the best therapist in the world. I respect her as a person very much. I allow myself to cry when the grief hits me. The weirdest things will set off a crying jag, but I try not to block it. What would have been his 66th birthday was last weekend. My brother, my girlfriend and I had a toast to him. I think the holidays will be strange. My mom is visiting my sister out of town so she doesn't have to be in the house without him. So the rest of the family is having a party. I think it will be OK. I will miss him, and I think we should toast him then, too. I'm sure my nieces and nephews feel strange about it, and I'd like to give them a chance to talk about it.

I wish peace to you all. Thanks for 'listening'.

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