What a weekend we had. All last week we were gearing up for a move, Mom and Dad were moving to a smaller home and selling their large house. The big move was on Saturday. Bill took work off last week and helped Mom move smaller boxes and set up the new digs. I stuck around the house and hung out with Dad – fortunately I was able to work at the same time too.
I’m still not ready to detail exactly how the weekend panned out. But I wanted to point out some people outside our small circle (Me, Mom, Bill and Edmund) who helped enormously throughout the move and Dad’s vigil. Aunt Barbara Robinson spent the week helping Mom pack and keeping us in line. Cousin Jim Morin and his wife Tracy came down on Saturday to help us move and eventually to sit with Dad as he passed. Bill’s friends Timmy, Carl and Peter helped Jimmy and Billy move stuff from the house to the new mobile home or tractor trailer (for the stuff going up north to Camp Cull.) We wouldn’t have been able to make it through the weekend without these folks.
And then there was Suzy. Who arrived on Friday to help Mom and Aunt Barbara finish packing and set up the new home. When Dad saw her, he told her “I’m going to die today.” And, when it was clear that Dad was on his way out, she took a day off work to stay in vigil with us. Suzy helped us keep Dad comfortable, and orchestrated everything so we didn’t miss a thing. And we laughed. And we cried. And Suzy knew what to do. I am not sure if it was because she’s been there before or because she has some sort of gift for it, my suspicion is that it’s a little from column A and a little from column B. It was Suzy who gathered us together to hear Dad’s final words on Friday night and Suzy who gathered us on Saturday at the end, when Dad’s breathing changed. If it weren’t for Suzy, Dad would not have been as comfortable as he was. And I bless her for it.
And she kept us laughing – which is what Dad would’ve wanted. The hospice nurse was in on Friday and after hearing what was happening with Dad, she ordered a bunch of drugs and gave us some instruction. If there was a fever, the hospice care kit had Tylenol we could give as a suppository.
Since Dad was doing so poorly Friday, we decided, Me, Mom, Aunt Barbara and Suzy, to sleep in the living room with Dad. It was a regular slumber party. We all tried to fall asleep, but Dad was having difficulty breathing. So Suzy and I sat next to him for a while to make sure he was okay.
Every few minutes, Suzy was checked/felt Dad’s forehead. I didn’t realize what she was doing until she said, “The nurse said to watch for a fever, but I’ve never heard of a cancer patient getting a fever.”
I look at her. “You just want to give him a suppository.”
“You’re right,” she says.
And we burst into laughter.
What I guess I want to say is that because of Suzy, we were free to give Dad a beautiful send off. With laughter and tears. And a feeling of rightness.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather have my Dad alive and kicking. Driving my Mom nuts because he refuses to wear his teeth. But if he had to go, this was as it should have been.