chinacat_sunflowerMay 10, 2005

he lived long enough to see me married to a man who cares as much about me as he always has, settled into a house of my own, and rather more content than either of us ever hoped for...

but it's not enough.

it's not enough to know that the people who love him are rising to offer their support and their comfort

it's not enough that there isn't a one of MY friends who isn't totally willing to drop my the house to check in on my mom and the mutt, or stop by the hospital and see poppa.

it's not enough that he's lived longer than any other male in his family, and longer than most of his female cousins as well

it's not enough to know that my mom won't have to turn around and sell the house 6 months down the road.

it's not enough that we've HAD 'those talks' before, and buried our hatchets, and made our peace.

it's not even enough that I married a man enough like him to be both my best friend, and the son my father didn't get to have

it's not enough, damnit.

not when I see the look in my mom's eyes, and see that it's not enough for her, either.

not when the dog has taken to sleeping in 'poppa's' spot on the couch, instead of in the bed that doesn't smell like him any more.

not when I have to look him in the face with tubes here and wires there and four IV stand clustered around him, and not scream.

but if I can look past all of that...it's enough for him, because he knows all of this, knows why I got out of nursing, knows how I feel about respirators and all of it...and the simple fact that I'm there is all that matters to him.

and that, for now...that is enough.

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This is moving. It makes me think so much of my dad. I was "there" too, and that brings a little comfort. Did you write this.?
Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 2:56PM
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:) yeah, I'll take the blame for the composition- though this too is dad's fault- brought me up on broadway, sappy torch songs, and his own flair for the dramatic.

he's been old my whole life, and never in the best of health... his father's second wife is 88, only 9 years his senior, and in WAY better shape than dad was even 10 years ago.

but the older I get, the more precious he becomes to me, because he is such a rare find, this man who babysat the beatnik generation, the ONLY dad I know with gay friends that span three generations, who raised me to obsolete skills like tuning carburators and sharpening the blades on reel mowers...

he was awake enough today to be frustrated by the breathing tube, which is heartening, and heartbreaking at the same time, since he's too weak to hold a pencil, and communication in any form has always been his favorite hobby.

he might even come out of this, and I'll get another few months :) I've seen the family do more unlikely things!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 3:50PM
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ChinaCat, I feel for you deeply. My mom has been in ICU 5 times since Jan.15th of this year. Totally blind for the last 10 years. To see her on the respirator time and time again....communicating by writing notes in short scribbles broke my heart. I have no idea how I have been holding down a job. I sit in the back and can cry unnoticed and do my work. She is now home, but having 'accidents' and now her mind is going. I don't know if it small strokes, but she is getting the day mixed up...wakes up in the night thinking it is daytime...thinks it is the middle of the night in the middle of the afternoon...well...you get the picture. Just knowing the small things she enjoyed...going shopping even though she couldn't see..brought her such pleasure...and now she can't walk 10 feet. Sorry to steal your thread. Bless you. Duane

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 3:15PM
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Chinacat, I admire you understanding and awareness of your life at this point, the good and the bad. You are a wise woman.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 6:22PM
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Dawg... Thank you.

Dad's pulling out of this one- though he doesn't remember he's in the hospital, and mistook his blood glucose count for the nightly charge for the hotel he thinks he's in...

and dad's greatest fear (besides me being a spinster) was losing his mental acuity- his mom had 8 strokes, and wasn't 'there' after the 5th one. so while it's a joy to know he might be out of ICU as soon as thursday- it's more tiring, though less scary, trying to do things like keep him from trying to go out, listening to him complain about the room service, and beg for cookies (like any old diabetic would- not remembering he just had abdominal surgery!)

I dread him coming home- though thank god it's a ranch with wide halls! but my mom's exhausted even with other people caring for him, and he's always been something of a brat to her.

good luck with your own circus.

and socks- you should have seen me 10 years ago, when I thought I knew what the deal was- dad and I didn't speak for nearly 6 months at one point because he'd left a family pet at the vet's to die, instead of bringing her home- and the last comment out of my mouth was that I wondered how HE would feel, being left in the hospital to die in a place that smelled like things in pain...

karma smacked both of us this week, and then forgave us both, and told us to do better.

it's been a year- one friend's dad is going through chemo for lung cancer, another's is dealing with alzheimer's, and a third's mother in law was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer- and my father in law had a stroke/heart attack combo...and we all seem to take turns holding eachother up- and we all agree our ability to DO that is a testament to the brilliant job our parents did bringing us up.

we're very much the lucky ones.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 1:44PM
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My mom died last nite. Chinacat... your original post inspired me, and maybe will inspire you. I'm going to get bookmarks made -- similar to prayer cards. Your post was awesome.

Mom's gonna be cremated, minimal services, but you have inspired me to write a legacy instead of the prayer cards.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 1:58AM
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Dad endures.

the doctors circled the wagons around us on sunday, and were pretty honest that what's puzzling them the most- is that he's still alive. we figured it out (math puzzles are a 'dad' thing) and his chance of recovery is something like -14%.

not just alive, but actually conscious when he's awake... conscious enough to raise an eyebrow at the doctor who dares ask how he's doing. conscious enough to have his favorites amongst the nurses. conscious enough to cry when we have to tell him again that no, his youngest isn't coming to visit today- or tomorrow, either.

they put a trach hole in this week, and in an odd way, it's less disturbing than the mouth tube...dad obviously prefers it, and to see his face undistorted was a surprising comfort to mom and I.

we talked to them about bringing the mutt in to see him- and they had the policy all lined out for us, who needs to sign off on what, what he needs to be checked out for by the vet on the way...

so that's my project for the week. it there's anyone on the planet who has enough influence with my dad to try and beat the odds- its his Golden Boy :)

and I am very much my father's daughter...I can endure anything, if there's a project to help me pass the time.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 12:56PM
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poppa breathed his last breath as the sun set on the second of august.

he got to die knowing that my mother didn't want to let him go, but loved him too much to keep him in a body that being held together with tubes and surgical tape.

he got to die knowing that I loved him enough to take mom home, and bring back the Tallis he'd been Bar Mitzvah'd in, no matter my opinion on jewish tradition.

he got to know that my husband loved him with an intensity that surprised both of them over the years.

and I got to know that, when push came to shove, I rose to the occasion, and while I could not make it an easy death, that dad thought it was a better death than he really deserved.

I'm fine, I'm not fine, I'm happy, I'm sad, my commutes are rife with autos exotic even by my standard (and I can tell an MG from a Triumph from a Bug-eyed Sprite without turning my head, thanks to dad) and my nights are full of stars, and the beating of silver wings.

my dreams are not of hungry ghosts, or my father lost and afraid in the dark, or the house he loved crumbling around the woman he married while he is forced to look on without the hands to hold it back.

for the time being, that is good enough for me.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 8:31AM
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Reading through your posts have brought back so many memories of me travelling back and forth to the hospital to see my Dad since Aug last year until Dec 12/o4 when he took his last breath. I was there every single day and at the end every night except the last as it was my little girls birthday. I think he died when I wasn't there so I wouldn't have that image in my mind for the rest of my life but I feel like I let him down because I wasn't there to say a final good bye. I hope you all the best and am sorry to hear that he passed away.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 9:48PM
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thanks, Candy...

but trust your dad. every day you went and sat with him was a final goodbye, and we're lucky enough to have gotten plenty of them.

some people want company, some find it easier to slip away when no one's looking.

funny- 12/04 was dad's birthday. 12/05 is my husband's.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 3:18PM
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