I’ve never watched anyone die before. I mean I stood right there and watched for my father-in-law’s final breath. When it came, it was a relief. I was relieved for him, for my wife, and for myself. Ed’s life was much too short (73 years), but his suffering was too long. To see all that come to a close and to stand with my sobbing wife was a lot to take in and really won’t sink in for a while. I’m not looking forward to Thanksgiving.
Ed and his wife raised a family that is so unbelievably strong and committed to each other that I can barely comprehend it. If Ed needed anything over the past year, it happened and happened quickly. It is good to know that I’ve got that kind of love backing me up if I hit some bad luck. It is also sets the bar high for me should one of my loved ones need my help.
Hospice Rocks! Anyone who has ever needed Hospice or experienced the care that they give must surely agree. They are wonderful and indispensable in smoothing the transition. They did it when my father passed a decade ago and they did it again this weekend (and the weeks leading up to this weekend).
My mother-in-law and I bump heads over politics. We disagree on the funding of the arts. There are other topics that my wife won’t let me talk about around her mom. I even got an index card to carry one Christmas with approved conversation topics. But I love her. She is tough as nails when she needs to be. She ran a virtual marathon in the caring of her husband over the past two years. She would sleep or eat like she should. She wouldn’t leave his side. She didn’t abandon her grown children, but you knew that she was going to give her all for her man. My wife shares a lot of that.
It is easy for me to place my sadness. My sadness for Mr. C (Ed) is done. I’ve been feeling sad for him over the past 2 years. He didn’t want to leave, but he pain and suffering is done. He stayed strong throughout and is now in a better place.
I have a little sadness for me. Ed was a great guy and he was great to me. I’ll miss him and I’ll always wish we had done more together. He gave me most of what is important in my life. I feel awful for my wife. I was told early in this process that it is especially tough for a girl to lose her daddy. Seeing the grief in her face makes that fact undeniable. In feeling bad for my mother-in-law, I again feel for myself. It scares the hell out of me to think that I could lose Dr. K someday or someway. I don’t know what I would do and I don’t know how Mrs. C has done it, but she has been strong.
I know that the coming days will find a new normal. The old normal will never return and that will have its own challenges. One day at a time.
Coming soon: Dr. K's speech