Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Last Days

Thursday, September 25th Dad went into the hospital and he stayed there until his death on Tuesday, September 30th. So many things happened over those six days that to be honest, I don’t really remember them all.

Some of the things that I do remember, and are at the top of my list are:

The Sunday before Dad died, he gave each of his children and grandchildren (include all spouses here as to him they also were his children) the most wonderful gift. He spoke to every individual and told us all something special about each and every one of us. At this time Dad was having oxygen (I don’t remember if at this time it was through the nose or if the mask was on) and you were able to see how hard he was working at letting each person know how much they meant to him. To each and every one of us it was a gift that could only be received by the person he spoke to.

I don’t know what he said really to each person and I don’t even remember what he said to my children (I will have to ask them and replay that over in my head later. The whispers of what he said to my children and to my siblings will be a gift for me later on). But I do remember what he said to Wahid and I forgot that he even said anything to me, until Nathan reminded me of what he said. I don’t understand how I could have forgotten.

He called for Wahid in the room and when Wahid was holding Dad’s hand he said “Wahid, you are one of the nicest men I have ever known. I have a very high opinion of you, and I know that you have a high opinion of me.”

While I was holding Dad’s hand he told me “Lover, I am glad that I am dying before you. I will make a place for you and your Mom in Heaven.”

This gift went on and on and on for everyone in the room and so he was getting tired out. It was pure force of will and love that kept him going I’m sure.

My Dad, like most sane people, did not like pain. The things we all knew for sure were that he did not want pain; he did not want to die alone; and he did want someone to hold his hand.

When Dad had pain it was mostly his leg (cancer in the bones) and also when he had to go pee. His bladder had cancer and was enlarged and so it was very painful to pee. He would say piss and pecker and I hated those words. Now, I say them to myself all day long. When my Dad was sleeping and we thought he wasn’t going to wake up on Sunday, I said if only I could hear him say piss one more time and just like my Dad who never disappointed he woke up and said “piss.”

The poor nurses had about 50 people telling them he was in pain and we need meds NOW. He dozed some more.

As for dying alone, there would be no chance of that. And as far as holding his hand, well, all I can say is that almost at all times his hands were held, his brow was being eased, his head was being kissed, his ankles were being held, and there were many many bodies pressing up against him.

We all prayed and we all kissed him and we all loved him and we all thanked him for all the love he gave us.

Mickey asked us all to hold hands and she said a beautiful prayer thanking God for this man our Father (maybe I can get her to write it down and share it with you all).

Harry told us all such wonderful stories about Dad when the older kids were growing up and we lived in The Pas. Jacquie and I were born there. You’ve heard of Angela’s ashes, well this was Harry’s ashes. As he would have been under 10 years old and Dad worked on the train and I was the baby of eight children. They had a cow and no electricity and my Dad made a windmill to get wind power and Harry singed his eyebrows off trying to get the furnace to work while a blizzard raged outside. We laughed and adored him (my kids love Uncle Harry) and he talked so that my Dad could hear.

We left Mom with Dad and she told him not to leave her. He was not to go anywhere. She needed him here.

Some people went home and some people stayed. I tried to stay, but I just wasn’t strong enough, I had the will though Dad. I wanted too. Others were stronger and they stayed.

I think he did hear Mom and Harry because when I went the next morning people said he ate breakfast and talked about the stories too. I wish I was there.

He listened to Mom and Harry the night before and didn’t break our hearts yet.

At any given time (unless someone wanted alone time with Dad) these were the people in the room:

Harry, Jeannine, Jamie
Dwain, Erika, Dwain, Harry
Suzie, Peter, Toni, Donnie, Daisy (Daisy Nightingale)
Mickey, Gord, Gordie, Dane, Anders, Taylor
Camille and Stacy
Jacquie, Gil, Ben, Chrissy, Sheldon
Renee, Wahid, Angelique, Don, Nadalene, Charlton, Nathan
Colette, Rick, Ricky
Shelly, Peter, Natalie, John, Pete, Mat
Joey, Monique, Curtis, Alex
Auntie Renee and Claudette (Dad’s sister and niece)

Nadalene told me and I told Grandpa “There is enough love in this room to take you straight to Heaven.”

Later on Monday, Dad slept more and woke only if in pain. He got more medicine and slept more. At one point while we were all holding him he sprang up into a sitting position and he looked terrified. My Mom jumped up at the same time and comforted him and told him it was okay and as she talked, he completely calmed down.

I thought he might die right then and noticed Shelly was no longer in the room. I asked “Where is Shelly? We need to get her.” At that point Mom said I shouldn’t have said that because then I scared her so she told us all to leave the room except Joey.

Joey and Mom stayed in the room and Mom told Dad “You can leave me now Harry, go to the light, go see Peter and Pauline and your Mom and Dad.” Then Mom said “Jesus Christ Joey, don’t you know any dead people?” Joey stumped said “and you will see all your pets.” Mom said “Get Renee.”

I rushed in the room and Mom said “Oh Renee, I just want him to go now. I don’t want him to suffer. He looked so scared, didn’t he?” I said “Yes, he looked scared Mom. And he is trying to go Mom, but he is just storing up his energy and resting before he has to leave this life and all the people in it he loves. He just doesn’t want to leave you Mom, but he will. It is just a very hard thing to separate from all the people he loves.” We then told everyone else to come in.

Mickey had her friend come in and sing at 10:30 at night. Lisa sings like an angel and sang Amazing Grace and a song that she wrote for her sons. It was so beautiful and we all couldn’t thank her enough.

I went home along with others. Others stayed.

I woke up at 1:53 on Sunday morning and lied in bed. Nathan opened my door a little while later and I said “Grandpa died?” He thought so and told me Auntie Suzie is on the phone.

I don’t know what time my Dad died, I will have to find that out.

Harry, Jeannine, Suzie and Camille were there when Dad took his last breath. I hope that while they were thinking he’s gone, there were others saying here he comes.

Jacquie and I went back up to the hospital and met Shelly. Harry, Jeannine, Suzie, Daisy, Camille, Mickey and Gord were all there. My Mom wanted to see them so they all went to her house and Jacquie and I stayed for about ½ an hour and prayed.

One of the most difficult things I have ever had to do was leave my Dad in that room. I still find it very hard that I left him there.

If you think you know how much we love our Dad. You don’t know.


Deanna said...

What a very lucky man to have had you all...my heart goes out to you all Renee.

Take care of each other.

Love, Deanna

jacquie said...

thank-you renee for this gift, i wanted those days back again because i am missing dad so much.
not only do your children love uncle harry i found harry so comforting at the hospital and realized even more just how much i love harry myself

angelique said...

that would be so hard to leave your dad. one of your first true loves, along with grandma of course. i find i miss knowing grandpa is here as each day goes by. i really miss his spirit and his love. there is an emptiness. i read a quote once : whenever someone who knows you disappears, you lose one version of yourself as you were seen and judged to be. Lover or enemy, mother or friend, those who know us construct us, and their several knowings slant the different facets of our characters like diamond cutters tools. Each such loss is a step leading toward the grave, where all versions blend and end. (Salman Rushdie). I like who I was with Grandpa and that is because he always made me feel so loved. So important to him.

Mickey said...

Your sentence at the end is so true. If anyone thinks they know how much we all loved Dad they truly do not know. I am glad you wrote this all in your blog because I want to remember everything about Dad's last days and always have that feeling of the love that was in that room the whole time he was there, funny there was only good times in that room and lots of tears of sadness as we did not want this incredibly wonderful man to leave us. I miss you sooo much. I have heard people say that family will turn on each other at a time like this but not our family I am so proud to come from a family where everyone pooled together to be there for Dad and now for Mom. I love my sisters and feel I am so blessed to have them in my life. I also love my brothers.

My prayer was, I believe, as it is just what you feel at the time in your thoughts and heart, what you are thanking God for:

Thank you God for this wonderful wonderful man in our lives. Thank you for blessing us to be born to this good man. Please God when his time comes to pass from this life to the next that his passing will be easy and painless and that there is no struggle in his heart. Comfort him in knowing that his past sins are forgiven and that you wait for him and that he really will see his mom and dad and the people he loved that have gone before him. May he have comfort in knowing that he was a great father and that his clildren all respect and love him and that he did his best by all of us. Thank you for our mom and bless everyone in this room that we will always watch out for each other.

I don't know it was just thoughts that were going through my head but it really makes you see how easy it is to pray as really praying is just a conversation between you and God.

So in closing I ask God to bless everyone that reads Renee's blog. and to thank everyone for all there love and prayers and to continue praying.

ben said...

auntie renee....no need to publish this comment....just wanted to send you a note letting you know i liked the addition to the list of names who were at the hospital...lol! cant slip one by a regular reader.

Renee said...

And how could I have missed someone so sweet. That shows how full my head was. Actually still is, yesterday I looked all over for the saranwrap and found it in the fridge by the milk.

Love you. xxoxo

Anonymous said...

It has been 12 Days since the greatest man on earth has left me. I sit here and think what my grampa is doing right and who is he taking care of now. I feel very selfish because i need him and i want him back. Although, i know he is in a good place, i dont know if its a better place because he was surrounded by so much people here that loved him everyday. I drive by where he is now every single day and i just want to take him back. I have never met a person that has looked out for me and prayed for me every single day and it didnt matter what was going on in my life or what i did he would enlighten me with happiness and make it all better. Uncle Joey was right he is the Golden boy. As i sit here crying my eyes out i remember the words he always told me that i am his favorite.. But that was grampa his heart was so big Everyone was his favorite. I miss you !!!!

jacquie said...

i want to hold your hands, hug you, look at your handsome face and hear your sweet voice ....
i am heartbroken and miss you so much dad....i am weeping and will never stop thinking of you or loving you