"But what do you think happens after we die?" I asked. I had been struggling with this question since the death of my beloved husband.
Dad added, "I look forward to seeing my Mother."
And that is all my Dad said about death - but it was enough. He did not need to say "look after your Mom" or "Be good" or to discuss financial or memorial arrangements. All that had already been taken care of and prepaid. My Dad was so responsible all his life. And he always took pains to insure that his whole family was well taken care of. In this final year, he did not need to do anything but act his final scene with us.
Today my Dad is dying. He fell a few weeks ago and broke a bone in his neck. He was hospitalized and then sent to hospice. He hated the nursing home and just wanted to come home. I believe it was his utter depression at not being home that caused him to stop eating at the nursing home. Dad was sent back to the hospital for IV's and nutrition. The family gathered.
A hospital bed was set up in the living room and an around the clock vigil was begun. There were 11 of the family gathered ... we all sat with Dad during the day. My sister Candy and I had the 10 pm to 4 am shift of the night. Such quiet hours. Such an awesome time.
It was such a rare honor and privilege to be able to feed and clean and care for this man who has loved me all my life. How I enjoyed each minute, each moment of sitting quietly with Dad. What joy it was to feed him, to give him drink, to move him as needed, to help clean him. Such an honor, such an awesome and joyous duty.
Mom and Dad - I love you.
Photograph of "My Dad's Chair" by my brother Rob.