It Was Quick

After Monday afternoon in Shands Emergency Room … Andie’s mom made it about 30 hours in Hospice.  She passed away about 11:30 Tuesday night.  We were driving over to the westside to be with her, but we didn’t make it in time.

When my dad died, mom said he deliberately waited until he could be alone.  Everyone had gone to bed, and about 45 minutes later, he was gone.  Andie had spent all day at the Hospice center … and hadn’t been home an hour when they called to say she had taken a turn for the worse.  Maybe she was just waiting to be alone.  No matter.  Compared to the cacophony and barely-organized chaos that was the Shands ER … and only somewhat better conditions up on the floor, the Hospice center was peaceful … quiet … clean … private … and dignified.

Linda had a lot of friends.  Many of them are now calling Andie.  She’s holding up better than anyone could expect, but losing a parent is rarely easy.  It’s a club that no one wants to join … and yet almost all of us do.

Now, we have a whole host of other issues to deal with.  Bank accounts and SSI and utilities and so many things.  then there is disposing of the townhouse in perhaps the worst real estate market in decades.  And despite everything we’ve done in the past two months … it still needs work  We’ve got drywall to repair due to the re-pipe, the plumbers broke the bifold door to the pantry which was brand new, I’m not sure if the brand new carpet in the downstairs bedroom will have to be replaced because of the slab leak … seems like we just can’t buy a break on the place.

Death is never easy for those remaining.  Linda is out of her pain, and that’s a blessing.  We never really got a firm diagnosis … and now, that’s moot.  Hospice was great.  Andie is, of course, very sad, as am I.  But as I’ve learned from the expected death of my dad and the sudden, violent, shocking deaths of my sister and nephew, as well as the others in our family and tangential to it who have gone before … the living keep living.

Breathe in … breathe out … move on.  It’s our mantra.  And not moving on in the sense that we don’t remember or are cavalier about it … but in the sense that things have to be done … need to be done … and life must go on.

Or, as the poet says.

“I ate the last mango in Paris, took the last plane out of Saigon.  Took the first fast boat to China … and there’s still so much to be done.

That’s why we wander, and follow la vie dansant …”



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One response to “It Was Quick

  1. Debra

    Thanks for this great post. In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, June 16, probably sometime between 2:15 and 3:00, my dad died at home after suffering long and terribly from lung cancer. As of around 2:15, my mom saw that he was still breathing – unconscious and gasping, as he had been since Monday morning. Then she dozed off on the couch near his bed; the other family members who were in the house had gone to bed and dozed off as well. By 3:00, I arrived at the house after the 6-hour drive, and found him no longer breathing. He was still warm, but dead.

    I found your post doing a Google search for experiences that reflect mine. I am agonizing over not being at my dad’s side when he died, having missed his last breath by mere minutes. It was most important to me that I be at his side and holding his hand when he died. I honestly didn’t think he would die when he did, though – I thought he had a little more time; wishful thinking and denial. My mom and sister had been telling him all night that I was on my way, but he wouldn’t wait for me. It wasn’t my call to make. And so my daddy passed away after everyone had gone to sleep and before I arrived.

    And here I am experiencing the greatest pain and guilt I’ve ever known, and I will carry it for the rest of my life. Not sure what I am looking for by Googling it.

    But again, thanks.

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