Today is my Dad’s 91st birthday. Today I asked hospice to begin providing care to my father. For the past few days, since we rushed him to the ER, I’ve pondered this question. My dad remains hospitalized. He’s out of the ER and moved to a private room but his vitals are not good. They aren’t conclusive or suggesting something immediate is about to happen, but they aren’t good and seem to indicate a specific outcome… soon. That’s what the doctors are saying, that’s how the nurses are acting, that’s what I can see.
How much is enough?
There is a time to live and a time to die. That’s not suicidal or fatalistic, it is reality. Usually we have little to no say in the timing. For the second time in six years I get a some say. I have Dad’s living will, I’m his health care power of attorney. I’ve talked with family. I have a decision to make.
Mom’s mental state is such that she knows something is different, sometimes she knows someone is missing. That is as specific as she can get.
Mom’s attitude is encouraging in all of this. While she can’t articulate what is going on, she’s sure “it” will resolve itself soon enough and there is no point worrying.
What do I pray for?
I’m praying for Dad’s peace and comfort. If the answer to that is that he spends a little more time here with us, that’s good. But if the answer is that he goes home to heaven, that’s good too. I’m not asking just for what would make me happy or comfortable. I want to keep the focus on him and secondarily Mom.
Not easy. The parallels between now and six years ago are almost overwhelming. Once again I’m at a loved one’s bed side. For my kids: once again Dad is away at a hospital spending more time there than with them.
As I spend time with Dad, I hold his hand, stroke his head, or just sit quietly by his side playing soft music… for both him and I. I’ve already told him it’s okay, and he can rest. I’m resisting the urge to ask him to say hi to my wife when he see’s her. Not yet….
How will it end? Well.