And it feels like yesterday. I'm my Dad's oldest daughter, I'm 52 and he was 75 when he died last December 22nd. He was dx'd August 17 2010, he hung on just over 4 months. And by hung on, I mean hung on with everything he had. He never complained, never. The most he would ever say is, I have some pain in the belly area. Which were the liver mets. He had slc extensive with brain and liver mets. He made it through 3 sessions of chemo and wbr at the same time. I felt it would be too much for him, but the dr insisted and my parents went along with, they really didn't know what those treatments involved. They truly hoped for a cure. As we all did, but I did know better. My parents lived with my husband and our son for the past 14 years, we loved living as one big family. But oh my god it was so hard those last few days, my youngest son was home from college at that time, and spent every minute with his grandfather. The last night of my Dad's life he was practically lying on the bed with my Dad, holding his hand, when he left us. I had my hand on my Dad's heart, and my other hand on his arm, when he reached both arms up in the air, reaching for, something. I whispered in his ear, and finally said, go ahead Dad, it's okay, we'll take care of Mom. I promise. He was gone shortly after that.
And now, every morning on the way to work, I relive every moment of those last few days. Giving the morphine as Hospice directed, trying to explain to the rest of my family; my mom, 2 sisters, husband and son, what was happening with my Dad. I was the other caregiver, with my Mom. And I know, he looked to me to take care of him, make sure he didn't suffer, he was terribly afraid of the pain that might come. Which luckily, I don't think ever really did.
I just keep thinking, he was so innocent in all that was happening to him. I would see him look to me when I walked into the room wherever he was, as though asking, am I ok? I'll be ok,right? And then, the look in his eyes, when I told him that night that Hospice was coming, and we thought he should stop chemo for a bit, and give his body a chance to recover, to feel better. He knew. I saw it in his eyes. But truly, the treatment was killing him. He had lost close to 70 lbs in less than 4 months, he was unable to even get up to the bathroom. He didn't at all. Ensure maybe once a day. Slept 22 of 24 hrs. I knew where we stood with the disease, and just couldn't tell anyone because my Mom was so hoping to beat it. But I had to talk to her about Hospice coming in, to help Dad FEEL better. She did finally agree. And of course my Dad went along with whatever I suggested, felt was best for him.
And now, it's December, a year later. And I see, and feel everything that happened here in our house a year ago. I can barely eat, I find I have to keep busy. Doing anything I can find to do, but I always seem to end up, standing in the entryway to our living room, where we had set up a kind of bedroom for my Dad, since he couldn't get up the stairs.
And still, a year later, I go over and over the last 3 days, every single morning on the way to work, which is a 45 min drive. Waving from his bed with the Christmas tree beside as I took a picture, waving at the black bugs he said he saw, saying what a long movie it was, which was actually Christmas songs playing on the TV, and finally, the 2nd to last night of his life, at 11pm, asking my mom and I if he could have a cup of coffee and a cigarette. And I thought, rightly it turned out, this is what he wants for his last meal. That night he suffered a mild stroke, the morning after that when we, and our hospice nurse, checked him, we discovered he had a more major stroke. At 3am the next morning he left us. All his family surrounded him and told him goodbye, we loved him, we would miss him. It's like it was yesterday!
I miss him every day. I look in his study upstairs, which we've dismantled, but I still see all of his things, I still see hm sitting at his big rolltop desk, with his oldies songs playing, calling to me to come help with a computer problem.
I know I should probably talk to someone, but I still cannot talk about it. This is life, people we love leave us, and we must go on. Terrible, unfair things happen to good people, all over the world, my mother is suffering terribly, I try to help, but who can really help a wife who has her husband of 53 years?
Thank you for letting me put all this in writing, it is cathartic in a way, and I know that everyone here suffers, and struggles, with these same things.