Emotional content alert. If you have followed the posts with me all these years, or even fairly recently, you know I do cross into occasional emotional areas either through musing or making a specific point. Several individuals on Facebook have recently experienced the passing of loved ones. It is difficult and even though we all understand we will lose our parents or another older relative/friend someday, the time and quite frankly the manner of, is painful. In some cases, it is somewhat sudden, in others the pain is worsened with lingering and debilitating illness.
We are coming up on the first anniversary of our father’s passing and in some ways, his decline was the “best” you can hope for. The unexpected part was the passing of my stepmother before him as statistically speaking most men don’t lose two wives. (My mother had always had health issues and actually passed away a few days before her 61st). However, the point with my father was even though he did have short-term memory problems, he had come to manage those and he never reached the stage to where he didn’t know who people were; he might call someone by a wrong name, but he knew them in context. After a mild stroke, he recovered quickly and did opt to use a wheelchair rather than try to go back to a cane or walker because he could get around easily in the chair, in and out of bed, etc., and he considered it to be more stable. The assisted living facility he was in was nothing fancy but well organized and staffed. He never had any kind of condition that caused him continuing pain and when I was back for his 95th birthday, my brother later used the term of “winding down”. The same was true for his 96th and not long after that, he was placed under hospice. This was a case of nothing specific; rather an administrative action to ease things for when the day came.
His 97th birthday did go as well as could be expected and he hung for about an hour in the gathering. It was a few months later when the call came that we thought was “it”. I relayed that in my blog posts then about how after rushing to get to Louisiana, he had rallied. He was seemingly unaware of why everyone had come in for a “surprise visit”. That did give us a chance to make/refine certain arrangements.The private time I had with him was mostly watching him sleep in his recliner, but that is normal in these situations. My stepsister and husband who lived in Texas were working remotely at the time. They stayed and the other “steps” lived in town or close by. The end came quietly a couple of weeks later. So for those going through grieving now, it does get better with time.