I rejoice at the same time that I cry. In my core I understand this is the final act and while my heart feels hollowed out and haunted by my own grief, I cannot restrain the slow but steady swell of peace I have for my father and his circumstances. Since making his decision to forego the painful path of treatment in favor of hospice, he has appeared more peaceful. I cannot comprehend what he must be feeling, as confronting death truly does try our convictions, however, I imagine that making such a pivotal decision must have laid to rest at least one struggle, the struggle he fought internally over allowing nature to take it’s course or fighting on for his family. I told him we all support his decision, love him deeply and will ensure he is given the most beautiful farewell.
I think about what it would be like if I were so close to death and there are glimpses of terror over the physical act of separating from what I have known as life and an almost intuitive sense of optimism and acceptance because I feel that there is life after death in some capacity. What is my dad feeling? What is he thinking? This is a journey reserved for him only, there is a line at which we all must stop and the moment will come where I finally have to let go of his hand and let him pass beyond the curtain that we hold open for him. This sadness is overwhelming. My dad is not supposed to become a memory!! He’s my DAD and I don’t want him to go!!
I miss the hospital, for awhile it seemed like that was the way it was going to stay. Every morning pulling up to Eisenhower Medical Center here in Palm Springs, my dad’s new bedroom being the one decorated with postcards from the lower 48 states that he and my mom have visited over the last four years as the “Happily Homeless” couple. They even have a blog about their adventures, have been written about in the Philadelphia Inquirer, and have a FB fan page and hear from people all over the country who have spotted them on the road. Nurses not even assigned to my dad would stop by to spend time with him and talk — my dad has always left such an impression on everybody he has met. People just love him and it is showing now more than ever. Yesterday, they came by to say their goodbyes. The real goodbyes because they know my dad chose hospice and this would be the last time they ever see him.
The people working at the hospice don’t think he has much time left, given that new tumors appear in his body every few days. My mom worked in hospice as well as bereavement facilitation, lost her mother to breast cancer within 6 months of losing her brother to Hodgkins cancer and feels the same about my dad’s time. I wish I could stop this from happening! I woke up this morning and kept telling myself this is a terrible dream, that dad is right outside in the living room with my mom planning what to do for the day, planning another way to appreciate and experience their most recent stop here in California. I want those times back, I want them back for his sake — I don’t want him to be afraid and there is so much more life to experience! He has a granddaughter due in June!
I miss every day that has passed. I have a few days left until I have to return back home and get to work to support my girlfriend and our little sea monkey. I can’t shirk those responsibilities but I just wish the world would stop moving until this was over. I don’t want it to be over. But at some point soon……..it will be.