My writing and posting here has been terrible. I know it. Since April my mind's focus has been taking care of my dad. When I wasn't at work, I was taking him to some doctor or running to the local ER to meet him after a fall or some other episode.
We moved in with dad in April because he'd been falling quite a bit. Talking to his neighbors I now know he fell many more times than he ever told me about. He was in the hospital for mysterious blood loss when we moved, but he seemed to come back from that pretty well.
I should probably start with the fact that he developed congestive heart failure in his early 60's and fought it off and on for almost a quarter of a century. The toll that was taking on his other organs was much worse than he ever told us.
In the middle of October, he was admitted to the hospital for fluid overload. His kidney function was not good, but over a few days they got a few pounds off of him. While he was there, we got a call from a doctor he'd seen the week before that the doctor had COVID. The hospital tested dad and sure enough, so into isolation he went. He was completely asymptomatic, so he made them release him from the hospital as soon as he could demand it. He was better, but he was still pretty swollen.
Two weeks later we were back in the hospital because he couldn't stop throwing up. That day he looked at me and said, "I don't think I'm gonna win this fight." Twelve hours later he was almost completely unresponsive. His one hard and fast desire was to die at home in the house his father had built, so we arranged for Hospice at home for him.
Hospice had him home in his own bedroom by four o'clock that afternoon. They taught me how to administer his morphine and lorazepam. Which I did faithfully every hour and at roughly nine o'clock he left to go be with my mom, who passed in 2016. He was seventy nine.
The oddest part of the whole thing was that his heart, arguably the weakest part of his body, was the last thing to give up. It beat for a solid three minutes after he quit breathing. It just didn't know how to give up.
Everything after that happened really fast, and I'm just now really starting to be able to process it all. Thanksgiving was strangely quiet without him and Christmas is going to be even stranger without his smile as we open the traditional gift and exclaim, "OH BOY! SOCKS!"
Now I look ahead to my life without his guidance and his odd sense of humor and my world seems a little smaller. I miss the grumpy old man, and I have a feeling I will until I see him again on the other side.
If you're reading this and you still have one or, if you're really lucky, both of your parents, take some time this holiday season to take some joy in the little oddities and quirks they have that make them uniquely them. Love on them a little and hang on to the time together.
I guess it's my turn to smile as my family exclaim, "OH BOY! SOCKS!"