Friday, October 31, 2014


My Dad is dying. 

It’s incredibly difficult to watch him in his hospital gurney with his mouth contorted, him swollen and gasping through a breathing apparatus. 

When I first walked in, I thought I’d gone into the wrong patient’s room.  My father was that unrecognizable. 

There was a woman playing a harp.  She said she was trying to help him relax.  It was a kind gesture, but I’m sure he couldn’t hear a thing.

They say he will pass away in the next day or so.  They say there is nothing they can do for him.

I got to meet his girlfriend.  She spent an entire night by his side.  She said, “I just love him so much.”  It was tender and brave and heartbreaking. 

One of my brothers was sorting through stacks and stacks of old photos back at the house, the house which inside and especially outside, is probably the biggest, most awful mess you’ve ever seen, not to mention the smell from the dogs.  Anyway, there were lots of pictures from when we were little.  It brought back a lot of memories, many of them not so swell.

That night three of us got very drunk and stayed up until 2:30 in the morning.  I slept in my clothes and don’t remember getting into bed.  I don’t remember anything that happened after about midnight.  My head is pounding still, but it was good to get drunk.  It felt like the right thing to do considering the circumstances.

Ending your life in chronic, unstoppable pain is a horrific thing.  It’s horrific to watch and most of the time I had to look away.  Every so often he’d flop the one arm that wasn’t paralyzed and he’d open his eyes and I’d come over and say, “Hey, Dad, it’s Len,” and he’d stare right through me, his eyes muddy and glossed over.  It sort of spooked me, if I’m honest. 

He’s in hospice care now and I’m back at home.  The drive was a blustery one, with winds and sideways rain, but it cleared when I got to Duval.  Traffic was backed up for miles.  I’d forgotten it was Halloween.  There were hundreds of trick- or-treaters out in every costume imaginable.  It seemed a strange conclusion to a strange set of days.

I’ll likely be going back next week for the funeral.  I think it will be a happier affair.  It certainly can be worse.

I’m not going through anything different that thousands of sons go through, or have gone through, and I’m not pleading for sympathy, but it felt good to write these words down nevertheless.  But I still feel a little sad.  I wish things were different.  

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