When you are there for a persons first breath, it is an amazing thing.
When you are there for someone's last, it is an honor.
In loving memory of:
In loving memory of:
June 14, 1942 - April 16, 2000
I was there. I heard the silence louder than I had ever heard it before, I felt each second pulse. The room went blank. And I was lost.
But I was also so incredibly blessed, to be with someone so great, as they went somewhere even more amazing than we could know. We were the last ones he wanted to see. We were the ones he chose to walk with him to the line, holding his hand before we had to let go, allowing him to cross. It was hard to let go, grasping at each final breath, praying for another, knowing it was selfish, holding on was selfish, he was ready, he wanted us to be, we finally were, and we let go. And the light dimmed.
I was 6 months pregnant, the baby had not been moving, I was having serious pains and I was worried, the Doctor did not want me to travel in the first place, I was high risk, we prepared as best as we could. It had to be stress, that's why she had not moved, stress. And it added more stress.
A few days earlier I had been reading some paperwork the Hospice people dropped off for us. I had swore I wouldn't read it. I was glad I did. One brochure walked through the stages. It gave very clear signals and a time line. For the next days I watched as those signals happened one by one. I shared this with no one. Selfishly, I retained it, thinking maybe it would help me cope,,,,,,,, selfishly. It was eerily clear, painfully accurate and not really happening. I mean, I pushed it aside like it wasn't, but it was. And I was agonizingly aware.
On that last morning I laid with my dad and sang to him some of his favorite twangy southern gospel songs. In his last moments, I called my mom over and told her this was it, his breathing was stopping. She did not agree, he had been having faltering breaths and lapses before. I had been singing the chorus of "Breathe" by Faith Hill to him for days, encouraging each labored exhale... But I knew.
I told her again, something in my tone made her agree. I sang him one more song. His very favorite, "Oh Bear" by Nicolette Larson.
He let go. A moment later the baby started thrashing inside me. Taking the energy. And then we broke.
My oldest daughter was two. She climbed on the bed and asked why we were crying. She was wearing a little flowered sun dress, pigtails hugging strands of her dark hair, big brown eyes opened wide. I told her in the calmest tone I could that Grandpa was dancing with the angels now. She hugged my dad and stood up on the bed doing a slow ballerina twirl, like little girls do, with a voice wise and strong she said:
"Grandpa is dancing with the angels now!!"
Another slow twirl....
"He is, he is!!!" she let out, with happy little girl squeals.
And we celebrated, knowing that it was true.
El Supreme King- Daddy-O- Because... Lord, it's hard to be humble,, when you're perfect in EVERY way!!
Mom's- Jer-bear, loving without limits.
The White Bill Cosby- with the timing of a comedic genius...
(I'm not worthy of your humor).
The Preacher- with the voice of 10,000 angels and words wiser than time itself.
Our Star Catcher- Thanks for putting them in our pockets while they still were glowing!
My Singing Coach- You were ALWAYS right about my country twang, even though I never let you know I thought that....(I love singing the TWANG now Dad,, shhhhh!).
My Dad- The only one who ever made me believe in love..... (and still does).
Grandpa- The best for far to short a time.
My Best Friend- You let me win that pool game didn't you?
The Jeff Probst of Fathers- Where I learned to Outwit-Outsmart and Outplay your rules... laughing.....(I still need you to teach me how to Outplay the World's, Dad!)
Just a few of your favorite things: