My father passed away this Wednesday, March first. He did not suffer. I was there with him and it was my honor. I had the honor of sending both of my parents off, and I also have the comfort of know that they are together. I have the peace of knowing that the circle is complete, and that I know I did right by them.
Yet I cannot sleep at night. There are no words to describe what it is like to loose both parents in 7 months. The grief is crushing. The loneliness is palpable.
Everyone is so wonderful and nice, offering help and asking what they can do. Except I cannot tell them. When in so much grief you can barely breath, much less tell everyone else what to do and what you need. And this house is so big. It is stifeling.
All I know is that I need comfort. I need love. I need understanding and compassion. I need someone to stay with me in this huge house which my father lived in too. I need big shoulders and strong arms around me. Because I cannot sleep in this house alone at night now.
And everyone praises me and tells me how strong I am. And I just smile and they thank you. But I am not strong. I am weak and fragile right now. Everything takes tremendous effort. Breathing is hard.
And I have a wonderful support system with so many willing to help, all of them being so nice.
In many ways, this Dad’s passing was easier than Mom’s – Mom suffered so much, for years. And she was in so much pain at the end. And at the end, there was no one to tell us what was normal in the dying process (and it can be very bizarre and unnerving). Terminal agitation, vocal grunting, no sounds in the gut, the death rattle…no one to help her labored breathing and air hunger. It was not peaceful.
Dad’s was. Hospice was called in. The continuous care nurse that was dedicated to only him, was amazing and made sure he did not suffer and was in no pain. Even his final expression was one of peace, and he was almost smiling. There was so much support for us as well, in the amazing assisted living facility he was in.
And yet, here I sit at 4:31am because I cannot sleep in this house alone. I wake up crying, shaking, and when sleep does come it is strange dreams about death. My mind races as the list of things that need to be done grows. Memories of my parents flood my mind as tears roll down my face.
I sang to my father as he was dying, held his hand. I had combed his hair and clipped his nails before. Gently placed drops of water in his mouth and lips as he wanted it. Broke my own heart to once again to tell a parent that it was OK if he was tired and wanted to go home. He could let go.
The realization that he, they, are both gone weighs heavy on me. The knowledge that when I do get married, I will have no one to walk me down the isle. That there will be no mother daughter advice as she puts her pearls around my neck. That there will be no more Mother’s day or Father’s Day celebrations. No more birthdays or anniversaries. No gifts at Christmas.
He is happy. He is with the Lord and with my Mom. My rational mind knows that. My heart however, bleeds grief at saying goodbye to my parents so close together. My Mom was my best friend, but a father is always a girls first love.
And as the sun rises, I hope and pray for myself: That this hurt and ache in my heart slowly get better. That I can rise up to what is needed, even when I don’t feel like I can get out of bed. That eventually, I will be able to sleep, even alone, in this big house. That soon the sorrow is less and the joy is more. I have a feeling that these next 6 months are going to be long and hard.