[Mar 2013] My Father’s Last Days

Tuesday

I knew this was the beginning of the last days. I knew it for sure. I was still lying in my bed in my apartment, when my brother called me happily, that father was let home from the hospital. I couldn’t believe what I just heard.

Previous evening he had barely been able to say a word. Before my visit he had collapsed in front of the lavatory. His ribs had to be x-rayed, but fortunately none of them had been broken. And next morning they let him go home. My brother was so happy on the phone, as if our father had been cured. I still wasn’t able to believe it, when my father himself called me, if I could take him home. I knew I would not drive in the mood and condition I was in, without snow-tires, in a blizzard, but I said yes to him of course. Then my mother called me desperately. How was I going to solve this?

I rushed into the hospital like a lunatic. My mother was still in a shock. He could hardly make my father sit on a chair, let alone make him sit into a car. My mother knew it that it was impossible, but she couldn’t decide what was best. I was indecisive myself. But what if my father wanted to go home? We could transport him home somehow, with an ambulance or a crane or whatever, with the risk of killing him along the way. We can arrange 24-hour medical care for him, but chances were that he was not going to perceive anything about being home again. But it was still a last wish or something. Why did he want to go home? I kept on asking him. Finally I could squeeze out on answer. He wanted to arrange things about our lands. Those fucking lands, that he had had more than a year to take care of. Okay, decision was made. We were not going to take him anywhere from here. No fucking way. What a crazy idea anyway!

My mother could talk to my father’s doctor again in the afternoon, after I had been waiting for her in vain for hours in the morning. She told my mother that my father could stay in the hospital as long as we wanted, whatever we wanted. We decided quickly. Father stayed there.

In the evening I went back to the hospital to tell my father that it was better for him to stay. I wanted to assure him that he can talk to his doctor, because he wanted to, very much. I didn’t really know what he wanted to talk about, then my brother told me that father wanted to ask about the medicines he had received. Jesus Christ! As if it had any meaning or importance anymore. Poor dear Daddy…!

Wesnesday

I helped my father going out to the toilet. He was not able to walk alone anymore. He was sitting on the toilet, with his head turned down, sinking into himself. I was standing next to him, watching him. Constant suffering and pain, each and every minute. Painful, desperate fight for every single breath. He was completely closed into his pain. He had no energy to communicate or perceive anything about the world. Pure being was eating up all his strength and energy. He was completely broken. He was not the person he had used to be. Cancer distorted everything he had ever had. His brain, his thoughts, even his soul was destroyed.

Even the cleaner ladies are so kind and compassionate, as if the had been selected by this criteria. One of them told my mother this morning, that “he is such a kind person, God is not very nice…”. I started crying when my mother told me this.

In the evening he woke up for a few minutes. He wanted to talk to me. He wanted to go home again, to arrange the lands. Oh my God… It was so sad. I convinced him that everything was alright. That we were going to take care of everything, he should just rest.

Why am I so strong all of a sudden? Yesterday evening I even felt I was indifferent. Maybe I feel like this half-dead body in front of me is not my father anymore? I feel he doesn’t exist anymore? He might be just a suffering body, nothing more… I don’t know how I feel. Anyway, I am grateful that I could arrange and solve everything in its proper time. I was grateful for getting cancer instead of a heart attack or an accident, because we had time to walk this way with dignity, step by step, and in the end there are not as much unspoken thoughts and unexpressed feelings. That’s why I told my family everything black and white, in order to give them the chance to arrange and finish whatever needed to be finished. In fact I told my father everything I wanted to tell in those few painful and at the same time uplifting hours. I feel my father settled things with me as well then. I can see the importance of that now, when my father is lying in front of me, without being able to communicate anymore, and I don’t feel like anything is missing. I know I have done everything I could, and I am ready for whatever comes next. It is a good feeling, especially because the rest of the family is not that lucky. My brother is in panic, because deep down he has still believed the miracle to happen, just like my father has. He only realized a couple of days ago, that father is going to die, and he might not have the chance to tell and ask him things that he wanted to. My mother is suffering because my father couldn’t face his reality, and refused to prepare for his destiny, so he didn’t give my mother a farewell or something that she really desired for. And now it seems that it is never going to happen.

Thursday

This morning I woke up again on my mother’s desperate phone call. She was shouting and crying, she was in a shock. It is terrible to wake up like this every day, that another shocking, horrilbe catastrophe happens. She told me that my father was going to die in minutes, so I should hurry to the hospital. They put bars on his bed, because he tried to go to the toilet alone during the night, although he didn’t have any strength to move his body. Then he peed in the bed. They had to put diaper on him. Then they gave him a catheter by morning. I missed the incident in the morning what my mother didn’t miss. My father couldn’t breathe, because cancer ate up most of his lungs. They gave him and oxygen-mask, but it didn’t seem to work. He was conscious, and he wanted to talk, but no voice came out of his throat. He was grasping for air, fighting for his life. That was when my mother called me. Finally he got oxygen pipes to his nose. It worked very well, so he could calm down. Then he got huge doses of heavy pain-killers and sleeping pills. He slept through the whole day. When I arrived, he was already in his peaceful sleep, while the oxygen fizzled from the pipe in his nose. Every day some new horror…

I spent most of my day in the hospital. In the afternoon I could reach my father’s doctor. I wanted to close the last year with her, for once and for all. She was in her room. She opened the door kindly, and was very kind all along. I thanked her for we could leave my father here until the end, and for all her efforts of the last year. I knew they did everything they could, and I told her that. Even if she had not always been very nice, kind, or compassionate. Even if my mother had hated her from day one. My last envelope was kind of a test for her, but she passed it, because she refused to accept it. She asked me if my mother knew that he was going to die this very week. We knew everything all to well. Then I gave the money from the envelope to the nurses, who did a fantastic job, they even made my father cry a few times with their kindness and love.

My father slept through the whole afternoon, undisturbed and peaceful. In the evening my brother arrived. My father started stirring a bit, and began to awake. He opened his eyes, said a few words that we couldn’t understand, but we knew he could see and know that we were there with him, all three of us. The he started speaking silently but clearly. He asked us where we were going. I can’t tell how, but I knew for sure, that he meant where the four of us was going together, not just us without him. I assured him that we were not going anywhere, we were right where we wanted to be…

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