December 12, 2011

the aftermath

He passed away December 2, 2011 at 2:30am. He'd been comatose that whole week, looking back, I see how I ignored the clues that Thursday was probably going to be his last day, I just couldn't believe it. I administered his pain meds at 1:30am and was in the living room watching tv when my big brother came and got me bc our Dad's breathing had changed. My Mom, little brother and I were in the room with him, chatting when I looked over and noticed he'd stopped breathing. I jumped up, got my other brother and sister and we surrounded the bed, touching him and calling out I love you, when he quietly took his last breath and was gone. It was the most surreal moment of my life. How honored I am to have been there when that wonderful man left this world.

The day he died and the following days planning and attending the funeral are just a blur to me. Almost like a horrible dream that I floated through. C got me through it all, he really is incredible. I have only had a couple of absolute breakdown-sobbing uncontrollably moments. The first wasn't when he died but when the funeral home took him out on a stretcher. My mind was screaming, "Please don't take him! Leave him with us!" and I was so upset that never again would we see him in the house, this was it. I just sobbed in C's arms until I sent him to walk my Dad out and watch him leave.

C, my SIL and I planned the best funeral for him. Country music played during the visitation, there was a slide show of pictures before the Rosary started and we played his two favorite songs at the cemetery. Pictures were everywhere at the funeral home, his cowboy hat perched on the edge of the coffin, his canes standing nearby, baseballs from my brother and two nephews in the coffin, along with a pack of cigarettes and a lighter in his pocket. It was perfect and the best way to send him off. I know he loved it. It was truly my honor and privilege to help care for him. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, although I'd wish I wouldn't have to, because watching a loved one waste away and die from cancer is hell on earth.

C and I are back in AR now, going home for Christmas and bringing my Mom back to stay for a while. I didn't know grieving for him would be like this. Empty, lonely and just crushing to my soul. I can't handle crowds, stores or driving. No appetite, so I've lost ten pounds, which I ironically laugh at bc I've been dieting for so long to no avail. Anyway, ever been in a room that is suddenly plunged into darkness? And you fumble around looking for light, so disoriented, with your arms stretched out searching for something, anything to help but there's nothing. Yeah, that is what it feels like when you lose a parent. I feel half untethered and lost. My precious Dad is gone and while I am so happy he's now pain free and in Heaven with our Lord, I am so sad for me, my Mom, my siblings, my nephews and nieces.

Happy for him, sad for me...because I just miss him so fucking much. Devastated because the missing him only grows daily and will for the rest of my life.

1 comment:

  1. i am so sorry! what a beautiful tribute you and your family sent him off with.