Jump to content

One year ago today

gail p-m

Recommended Posts

It’s hard for me to believe but it’s one year ago today that my Dad passed on. On July 27, 2006, I arrived in N.Y. from my cross country trip with my 2 dogs. (One of my dogs had cancer). I really had no idea how long I was going to be staying -- I suspected the worst but hoped for the best. I had hoped that with proper nutrition and rest, he’d regain some strength. Dad had been deteriorating for quite awhile but I hadn’t realized how bad things were, let alone how bad things were going to be. When I first got to NY, Dad was able to be on his own for a couple of hours at a time which gave me time to “re-charge” my batteries... But soon after, confusion set in, he became unsteady on his feet and things began to get worse and worse. As many of you know, it was so hard to watch this vibrant, intelligent man whom I had known for 52 years turn into someone so dependent and confused. He tried valiantly to eat to put on pounds but threw up his food as the tumor was pressing on his esophagus. He would make it up the stairs in his split level but he’d forget if his bedroom was to the left or right. Dad would ask where my brother was and would wonder why various people were in the house (they weren’t). My sister, who lived nearby, had shouldered most of the responsibilty for my father during his illness. I pitched in and spent 3 summers there -- all during chemo or times where things were not good. My sister became very angry with me for being able to lead “my own life” while she was always there for my father. Once he passed, she really lashed out at me and our relationship went from strained to non-existant. We slowly patched things up to the point where we can talk and “visit” again, though both of us realize that things will never be the same between us. That’s sad -- my parents never would have wanted that to happen.

We buried my Dad on Aug. 4th, one of the saddest days of my life. Already scheduled for Aug. 4, 2007 was my son’s wedding. As I write this, I am also getting ready for one of the most joyful events of my life -- how ironic! I do wish it were on a different day but will wholeheartedly embrace the day along with the wish that my father could have seen his grandson, whom he was so proud of, married on that day.

What else while I am rambling? While caring for my Dad, I had taken my cancer dog for radiation treatments to a nearby facility. Jody did make it home with me in mid August and I was pleased because I wanted her to die at home -- her real home. She was my best friend for 14 years. And I had to put her ‘down” on Sept. 9th - -another very emotional day for me. Then, I didn’t see this one coming, but my other dog was diagnosed with cancer this past Feb. and we had to put him down in May. It has been a tough year.

What else? My anger at my sister --- whenever I was in NY caring for my father, she gave me little support. For example, when my father fell in the living room and I could not get him up, my father begged me not to call a neighbor to help. (He had this crazy male pride -- he was so reluctant to go into a wheelchair once in awhile because he felt the whole neighborhood would be staring at him...). Well, I could not get my father up and got a neighbor to help. When I talked to my sister on the phone later and said that “I had quite a day” or something like that, her reply to me was “Welcome to my life”. And with lack of support in NY, I admit I did not particularly want to come last summer and postponed it as long as I could since I had no idea how long I’d be there. (Guilt again).

My 4 children wanted to see Grandpa for one last time and were all on the way to the airport when my Dad passed. They were there for the funeral but I would have preferred that they had seen him ‘living’. They have wonderful memories of spending time with my parents every summer and many vacations that Dad accompanied us on.

Hospice was a terrible experience. We were only a part of hospice for 6 days but it felt like a lifetime. We were told that you go to a hospice facility when they believe you have 72 hours or less. My Dad was in the facility for about 6 hours -- and they were horrible hours. First the nurse was at dinner, then there was no doctor around because it was evening, then the nurse came back but she was “busy” talking to another family as my father was choking to death (literally) ... I could go on. I did take to a social worker affiliated with the hospice several weeks afterwards and got an apology letter from hospice saying they didn’t want this to happen to another client. But 1. Do I believe they will change their policies? No. 2. My Dad only died once and this apology did not change an awful death. I will be forever leery of hospice and guilty that I didn’t get him to a hospital where they might have had a doctor on duty. I know one shouldn’t have woulda, coulda and shoulda’s but I’m human.

I talked to my father just about everyday for the last 5 or 6 years (maybe more) of his life. We would generally talk from 15 - 30 minutes or more. I knew just about everything that was happening to him -- I so miss that. I still occasionally glance at my watch and thing to myself that I have to be home for 5:00 and then realize, of course, that I don’t. Daily things happen and I think to myself, “Gotta tell Dad”.

I am thankful that he was able to survive for 6 years during the time he had this miserable disease and much of the time was quality time. He got to see my sister married, my oldest child married and we all took a cruise for his 80th birthday. But no matter how long you have your loved one, it is never long enough.

Dad never once complained about his lung cancer. He just continued to live while fighting it as hard as he could.

I miss my Dad and will forever.

Thanks for listening.

My prayers and thoughts are with each and every one of you. No, I don’t post much anymore but I follow your journeys daily.

gail p-m

PS I arrived home from hospice around 3AM I think. I was all alone in Dad's house except for my dogs. (My children were not arriving until the next morning). I wrote to you people because I needed someone to talk to. When I got out of bed just a few short hours later, there were many caring responses. This, too, I shall never forget.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(((Gail))).............what a story you have to tell :cry: . I am sorry for much of it, but joyful over the years of quality time you had with your dad. This past year most certainly must have knocked you flat on your butt, but I know you well enogh to know that you got yourself right back up again.

As for this weekend's wedding.....yes, a bittersweet day, BUT what a way to honor a wonderful dad and grandfather than to celebrate two separate lives becoming one! I think it sounds joyous!

I've had issues with a dog with cancer and a sibling as well. Life ain't easy, is it?

Sorry today is a sad one.........remember your dad in happy times and I'm sure you're thankful you had him as long as you did.

Stay well and may the wedding be fantastic!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a journey. I'm sorry that hospice was such a train wreck for you. What should have been helpful in your darkest hours just made those hours worse. How lucky for your dad that you were there for him.

I'm glad you shared all of this with us. Sometimes it helps me to write it all out. Sometimes it helps me to read others' shared experiences.

Take good care of yourself. We will be holding you in our hearts on the 4th.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


So sorry you are re-living this all in your memory. It is very difficult to get past isn't it?

I will be thinking of you on your son's wedding day, please, enjoy it to the very fullest as your Dad wouldn't want it any other way than that!

Love, Sharon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

((( Gail ))),

What a terrible ordeal. It is so hard to get through bitter and traumatic memories like that - we can only pray that time will take the hard edge off of them. I pray also that you can enjoy your son's wedding, see the hope and promise in that day. I think that is what your dad would have wanted.

You are in my thoughts tonight...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.