Monday, March 23, 2009

The Tenth and Final 911 Call

This has been a week of intense emotions. My heart has been wracked with sadness as I watched my dad lose more and more of his abilities. On Saturday he wanted me to take a picture of him with his new haircut (given at the skilled facility.) When I showed him the picture, he said "I look sort of grim. Take another and I'll smile." I did and it looked identical to the first.  He had tried hard to smile, and wasn't able to. When you can't  smile any more, is life worth living? Although everything was an effort, he was determined to try to do it himself. To the end he was kidding around and making me smile even when he couldn't. 

On Sunday we brought him home from the skilled nursing facility, and he was happy to be home. In the night he called for me, and I came to his side He started breathing  hard, and I realized he was dying. Throughout this whole time with my dad, I've felt like I didn't know what I was doing. I learned and tried my hardest to give him the very best care. I have no regrets. Even at the end I didn't know what to do. If he's asked not to be resuscitated do you call 911 when he stops breathing? If we called, would they be obligated to resusitate? We did call, and the same firemen who had come some of the previous nine times arrived and helped us through. 

My dad has gone to a better place, where his body is healed and thousands upon thousands of angels are gathered in joyful assembly. (Hebrews 12:22) I'm thankful that he died at home with us. Jim was here with me. I'm thankful for his faithful partnership through 29 years of marriage. (Dad died the day after our anniversary.) I'm thankful that Matt is with Brenna in El Salvador, and that she's not grieving alone in a foreign land. I'm thankful for dear friends Rick and Diane, who "happened" to be spending the night. (I don't think this was an accident, but rather a divine appointment.) They were with us when he died at 3:30 am, and stayed awake with us offering comfort and help. And tea. 

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