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letting go

July 10th, 2010

My Dad’s had a bit of a tough week. He’s been home for probably a bit over a month now, and has two therapists coming every few days for O.T. and P.T. Unfortunately, his progress has been mostly backwards since he left the nursing home. He went from walking hundreds of feet with a walker to having a tough time making it to the kitchen table for dinner. Chalk it up to the carpeting or just the change in environment, but he’s been mostly using a wheelchair to navigate life for the last while.

A few days ago, though, he was so weak he was unable to even lift his fork to his mouth… just out of the blue like that. He recovered about 24 hours later, but it still shook us up. Once again, I feel guilty that I’m not there, even if I’m there in spirit.

I talked with Mom a bit last night and she surprised me by saying the following:

You know, Amy. You’re not going to like to hear this. But one of these days, I’m going to call with some bad news about your father. But I want you to know that he’s not happy living like this, not being able to do a single thing for himself. And he’ll be going to Heaven, and he’ll be happy there. So I don’t want you to fall apart. And I want you to be prepared, and know that he doesn’t have a very good life right now.

So that kind of sucked. And it shook me up quite a bit.

I think that I came to a similar conclusion the last time he was in the hospital. He’s at the time in his life where things have stopped working. And the bit of tachycardia he had in the hospital has damaged his brain in some pretty big ways. He still knows us, but he’s just not that with it. He can’t find words, and more often, doesn’t have the interest in finding them.

It’s so lucky that he’s not in any pain right now. That’s a huge consolation. But the best we hope for these days is for him to not get any worse. Because he’s probably not going to get any better.

I guess that’s what we hope for in life, anyway. For things to not get any worse, any harder, any more stressful. And with Dad, the past six months have been really tough. Even six months ago, even last Christmas when he was so sick, he was a very different man than he is now.

I think, this is when we’re all beginning to let go.

I can’t help but be sad about this. I won’t lie and tell you I haven’t cried like a baby this weekend. But, in a big way, Mom and I are so lucky to have this time to adjust to the idea of him slipping gradually away. And to maybe be ready to see him move on to a happier and healthier afterlife.

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14 Responses to “letting go”

  1. Adriene Says:


  2. Kristine Brooks Says:

    Oh sweet girl, I am sending my love and hopes for your hopes your way. All you can do is accept what is happening gracefully. And cry like a baby to get out the frustration that you can’t do anything else. Sending love to you and yours. xxoo

  3. Kim Says:

    Sending {{hugs}} your way. I watched my dear dad drift away, not from age illness, but from cancer that went to his brain. It was not pleasant, to say the least, and even then, watching him waste away and not be himself at all, it was still so hard to say goodbye when he did finally go. I thought I did pretty good at trying to let go…but it’s hard, regardless. It’s been three years now and I still cry like a baby at times. {{hugs}} to you.

  4. carolyn Says:

    oh, dude. 🙁

  5. Amy J Says:

    So sorry to hear about your dad….as someone who watched their father suffer for 8 yrs, the end can be bittersweet. But always be glad for the time that we had w/ our loved ones. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

  6. Brandi Says:

    Oh Amy. I’m so sorry. It’s not enough, just saying I’m sorry. ::hugs:: from me and snuggles from the beagles.

  7. LoriAngela Says:

    This is one of the hardest parts of our life. I’m a palliative nurse and won’t get used to it. Thanks -you for using the word hope. And for telling your story. It helps to define your dad in the story of his whole life, and it helps others, too. Look after each other.

  8. Ana Says:

    A big, warm virtual hug. Sorry to hear that.

  9. Sharon Says:

    You bring back memories of my grandmother. She passed last October after several years of gradually going downhill after a stroke. Your father’s situation sounds very similar to the one she went through.

    Towards the end she was so miserable and though it was impossible to imagine a world without her, we all knew that death was going to be a welcome relief for her.

    The time that we had to adjust was a blessing of sorts, but knowing that she had finally found some relief was the biggest gift.

    Hugs to you… we’ll be thinking about you and your father.

  10. Magi Says:

    It’s the passage through life and never ever easy . It’s all about dignity and pride and compasssion for a beloved fellow human being – and the realization that this dreaded time is coming….and we feel useless. My dad has died now and I did not get to see him much since they live so far away and across an ocean. The empathy your mother has for you is wonderful and she must be in agony herself to watch her beloved change, however slowly.

  11. erinamelia Says:

    Hi Amy, I just wanted to say that I’m so sorry for your loss. I also think you’re really, really brave for writing about it. You’re not alone.

  12. Anna Says:

    Your mum is a very wise woman.

  13. kingshearte Says:

    I’m so sorry you have to go through this. Wishing you all the strength you’ll need for the next while.

  14. Jewel Says:

    I’m a lurker but I just had to post to say how sorry I am. Losing a parent is never easy no matter how much you prepare for it. Sending you strength and hugs from California…..

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