I've put off writing about my dad's death because I had a really hard time of it that first week. But now I feel better about it. I miss him a lot but I know he's so much happier in the spirit world. But here's what happened...
Sunday, January 25, 2015 about 4 AM
In the week that I had off up to this point I hadn't had a good nights sleep at all. In fact I was always falling asleep about 4 AM. Well, this night (Saturday into Sunday) I fell asleep after I got home about 11:30 PM and I was sleeping quite well when my phone rang. It was a little after 4 AM. She told my father had passed. I was so groggy it didn't really hit me and I tried waking Paul up and when I told him, he responded, "Are you serious?" And I said, "Yes." I then headed out to Mom's. When I got there a hospice nurse was there. Dad was in his bedroom in the hospital bed. He looked like he was napping, which made it seeing him dead not as shocking as I thought it would be as all my life he's mainly spent his time not at work napping. He looked much more peaceful than when I had left. I was so glad our last words were that we loved each other. Mom said she hadn't been able to sleep and got out of bed around 3:30 to give him a drink as he was restless but he couldn't even sip. Then she decided to give him some morphine as he was uncomfortable and she said he took a few breaths, and then a big deep one, his tongue rolled out, and he was gone.
Soon, Heather and Tyler and Pibby and Jenny showed up. Paul showed up as well. I didn't think any of them were going to come for some reason. About an hour after I got there the Valley View Funeral Home people showed up and took his body away. That's when I started getting teary-eyed as it was hard seeing them zip up the body bag and knowing that he wouldn't return. Bishop Barney came over for a moment and Mr. Ballard of the funeral home said that mom would need to come over to the funeral home at 10 AM to set up arrangements for the viewing and funeral. Bishop Barney asked to come with us.
The morning was very beautiful and clear but for a cloud over the eastern mountains that looked very shiny. Pibby said that's probably where dad was. All of us went to Village Inn for breakfast. It was very strange not having dad there, even more so not having to worry about getting home to him or helping him in and out of the car.
After breakfast everyone went home except me. I accompanied Mom to the funeral home with Bishop Barney. We set the funeral for Friday, January 30th at Mom's church with a viewing the previous night at the funeral home.
All day people came to visit, particularly Mom's sisters.
I wasn't sad all day...I suppose it was from shock and maybe from sheer relief.
I'll write more about that week later, I just wanted to write about what happened when he died.
I stayed over at my parents' house this whole week rather than go to work and I'm SO glad I did. Thankfully my job is a "grown-up" job where they realize that we're humans first, workers second. My boss Anna is the best! Anyway, Dad's health has rapidly deteriorated since I last wrote. He always has two eggs and raisin toast with peanut butter for breakfast, which he's been having this whole week. But other than that he hasn't eaten much. This morning however, he only ate a little of the breakfast and nothing else.
On Wednesday, his sister Shelley came over to visit. She had brought him KFC for lunch but of course, he couldn't eat it. I asked Shelley if she was OK now, since she had been so upset and she responded, "No." A little bit later I said, "I really think you should talk to the hospice nurse..." She cut me off, "David, I have my own beliefs about this and I'm not going to talk to her!" Me: "She'll help you feel better." Shelley: "We're not talking about it anymore!" And then, in true Pierce fashion, we acted as though nothing had happened even though I wanted to invite her to leave.
Shelley's daughter Holly and her family came over as well and all stayed most of the afternoon. We had chicken nuggets and tater tots for lunch. I went with Holly's husband Marshall to the store. He said that the night before Shelley had asked him what he thought of this situation with Dad and he said that he felt that she and her sisters were not treating my mom right by being mad at her, and that he wouldn't want Holly to keep him around if he were in the same situation. She wasn't too impressed by that. Since my last entry I've had time to think about why Dad's sisters think the way they do and the only thing I can come up with is that all they ever do is sit around, drink Pepsi, and do nothing. So the fact that Dad has just been sitting around doing nothing is no big deal to them. Of course, they all have no idea of his real health issues as they are never around (though Louise does call every day and I hate to group her with her sisters as she seems to be the only sane one...and yet she's one that's the most mad). Anyway, while they were here the Fittons dropped by. John and Susan Fitton used to live down the street from my parents and their daughter Jessica was my best friend growing up. We always used to visit with them so it was nice to see them but there were just too many people around so they said they would come later, which they did today (Saturday). A little after everyone had left my best friend Gina Falcone showed up with these beautiful bright flowers and some sweet rolls. She stayed for awhile just talking to my mom and dad and me. She's such a great lady! So caring and awesome! She was the best part of the day as everyone else being there kind of irritated me (not really Holly's family but just the fact that there were a ton of people).
Thursday, Dad couldn't really walk anymore and in fact he started to fall to the floor when Mom was taking him to the bathroom. She was able to grab and set him down gently and she had to call me and ask if me and Paul could come help her (this was in the morning). Since then he's just been in the wheelchair.
Friday, January 23, was their 39th wedding anniversary. Us kids had decided, with Dad's approval, that we would have a crab feast since he loves crab and hadn't had it in awhile. However, Paul decided to just buy a shrimp platter at Costco and he bought croissants. I bought turkey and swiss cheese and pickles and got to their house around 2. Around the same time Jayce Hymas showed up. He also used to live down the street. As a matter of fact, he lived right next to the Fittons. He was the Bishop in the Ward (that's what the church congregation is called in the Mormon church). He visited for awhile and it was nice. We bagged the idea of the crab feast and just had sandwiches and everyone else ate the shrimp for late lunch. Dad even had five or six. My friend Jessica Austin at work celebrated her birthday yesterday but was having a birthday dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen at the Fashion Place Mall. She had invited me earlier in the day but I declined. However, all my brothers and sister left Dad's house in the evening and I decided I really needed to get out. I was so glad I did. Gina was there along with Crystal Perea and Bernadette Gonzales. We four sat a table. At another table was more people we worked with including this beautiful girl Amy, Nicole Huish (that is my friend Mackenzie's cousin), another girl that I wasn't sure of her name and her cute daughter and Jessica. While waiting to be seated Amy told me that her mother died in surgery last February and so she knew what I was going through. She said it will be rough and it doesn't hurt any less, but you learn to live with it. We all had fun at dinner.
Apparently while Mom was getting Dad ready for bed he slipped out of his wheelchair onto the floor and so she called next door neighbor Brian Buckner to come help her lift him....as you can see, this whole situation is very sad.
Today, Saturday, when I got to Mom's, Dad was sitting on the couch falling in and out of sleep. He also said he was miserable. He clarified that he wasn't in pain, just miserable and uncomfortable. Mom has been giving him things like Loritab and other stuff that hospice suggested. The Fittons came over and visited for about an hour and a half. While they were there Mackenzie called me. Her father passed away about three years ago. Poor Mack has a cold and her voice was barely there but she wanted to make sure I was OK and offer any help she could.
It's weird being in a situation like this because the normal human response when someone is in distress is to ask how you can help. But when you're the one that needs the help, it's weird: I honestly don't know how anyone can help me except to listen to me. And I don't like to share my sad feelings with everyone because everyone needs to be happy not to mention they've already got stuff to deal with. However, I do like that my friends have been so good to me in listening and offering to help. Some time this week Michelle called too. Anyway, during the Fittons visit Dad was barely there falling in and out of sleep. After they left we took him into the bedroom so Mom could finish giving him a bath. He remained in the bedroom the rest of the evening, just very worn out and tired. His sister Louise called to talk to him but he could barely talk. I told her that he wasn't doing well at all and she said she knew that and she would be home from Colorado on Tuesday and would come to see him. I don't think he's going to make it Tuesday but I didn't want to tell her that because she's already upset and mad.
My mom's youngest sister Carol came over bringing home made chili and rolls. Her daughter Whitney and Whitney's girlfriend Mickelle came too. Heather and Tyler were over as well as Pibby and Jenny showed up. Paul is very depressed about this whole situation and deals with it by drinking so he was not there. After dinner they all left. Sandy Draper came in to say "hi" to Dad.
He was feeling rather restless and seemed labored in his breathing. Mom called the hospice and this beautiful nurse came over and suggested we give him .25 mg of morphine. She also said that it would only be a matter of days until he passes. While the nurse was visiting with Mom I sat by Dad's bed and told him I was sorry he was going through all this. He just rasped out, "Ok." Mom went to the store and I finished reading Glimpse Beyond Death's Door by Brent and Wendy Top. It was such a good comforting book. They related people's near-death-experiences. What all of them came back with is that God loves us more than we comprehend and we are to love everyone and learn as much as we can while we are here on Earth. And all of them said death was not scary in the least and that they looked forward to when they finally would die. Dad is very scared of dying simply because he doesn't know what's on the other side, even though he's been very religious his whole life. He also had told us last week that he's part of our family and wants to stay with us. I told him he'd always be part of the family but that because his body is so ravaged with illness he can't stay. We also told him we'd always be thinking about him.
Before I left Mom's I went in and told him I was leaving. I held his hand (which is something I never do because he's not very touchy-feely) and told him I loved him (also something I never do because he always responds, "Oh, OK.") However, tonight he rasped out as best he could, "I love you too."
If he does pass tonight I will always be grateful that those were our last words to each other. I really do love him so much! He's been so good to us and cared about us so much. It's really hard to watch him go through this. REALLY HARD. But I know his life in the afterworld is going to be so great! He'll be with his parents, his grandparents, and many others that he's always wanted to talk to.
So now I'm going to try to sleep, even though I've not been able to the past couple nights for fear the phone would ring.
My cousin Holly texted me at work on Friday and said she had something to tell me that she didn't want to say through text. I thought, "Oh great! Here we go with some more stupid Pierce drama." So after lunch with my brother Paul and his friend Brandon (where Brandon told us to take advantage of any time we have left as Brandon's dad died of cancer), I called Holly. She said, "You won't believe what happened this morning..." She proceeded to tell me that her mother called and told her that she had decided that she didn't want to make my dad's last days stressful for him or my family, and that even if she disagrees with this decision, she needs to be with him and talk with him and that she hoped my mom would allow her over. Both Holly and I were shocked beyond belief! Shelley never admits when she is wrong. She also said that Leatrice felt the same but that they hadn't spoke to Louise about it yet. This all made me feel much better.
That night I went to see American Sniper starring Bradley Cooper with my friends. I didn't realize it was based on a true story...and a sad true story at that. While watching it there were a ton of helicopters and I started getting way sad because my dad loves helicopters and war movies. I can't believe we're to this point.
Saturday my family and I decided that Dad needed to go visit his childhood best friend Paul Draper who lives in Wellington, where my dad is from. We were also going to visit Leatrice and her family. I was wary of visiting Leatrice because of what had gone on this week. I didn't want it to be awkward. Paul actually drove and Mayson, Mom, Dad, and I all went down. The day was absolutely beautiful. We decided to go to Leatrice's first.
It was a struggle to get Dad up the steps in her garage. Ray was there and shortly after we arrived Natalie and her oldest child Kam came over. We had a good time visiting and I didn't feel like it was awkward. I did notice at one point in the conversation that I wasn't a part of that Leatrice shared her concerns but Paul and Mom reiterated just how sick Dad is. It didn't help matters that Dad said, "I wish I felt sick because I don't." Natalie and I looked through old pictures and found a lot that I had never seen before of my dad. After about three hours we left and went to Paul Draper's.
Now I have never known where Paul Draper lived. I've only met him twice I believe but never really spoke to him. Dad used to go visit him a lot when I was younger when we'd come to visit Grandma. But recently he would always pass on visiting him. I thought maybe Paul Draper lived far out of town. Turns out he lives two blocks away from where Grandma lived. His truck wasn't by his house and I went up to the door and knocked. There was no answer. I knocked again and still nothing. Suddenly the old guy from next door in a trailer yells at me, while holding a handi-cam, "Smile! You're on camera and I'm sending it to the police!" I responded, "I'm looking for Paul Draper!" Just then a skinny old guy came around the corner from Paul's house. I said, "Paul, my dad Wade is looking for you." Paul brightened up and came to the car. He was so GLAD to see Dad. He kept repeating that. Mom told Paul that Dad was on hospice and he seemed to think that made sense. Paul Draper hasn't had a phone for fifteen years but said anytime his kids come to visit he would call Dad.
I was so glad that Dad was able to see Paul. And then we left for home.
After I actually went to the Cottonwood 11th ward at the request of the sister missionaries, I called Mom at about 11. Dad was still asleep! And she said he looked puffy this morning. This means his kidneys really aren't working and he's going downhill quick. So I went out there and we've just been visiting. I decided after awhile that I probably should stay home tomorrow in case he slips away. It's so strange to know he won't be here soon.
When my alarm went off scaring me out of my Tylenol PM induced coma, I felt I was just coming up from underneath water. I had a stupid dream about Paul clumsily breaking my favorite Little Mermaid statue that I bought with my first paycheck ever...but that's neither here nor there. I decided not to go to work because I was just too drained not to mention the Hospice people were coming back over to my parents at 11:30. At about 9 AM Carol (my mom's youngest sister) called and was upset that my dad's sisters are upset with my mom. I told her that they are all crazy and there is no reasoning with them. I said I would have my dad to speak to them but I didn't think it would do any good.
I finally got out of bed at 10:45 and got myself ready and went to my parents'.
Terra, the chaplain from Tuesday night, was there. She was asking why he had changed his mind and he told her it was because of the finances and because he just didn't see that any of his other options were OK. She asked him at least 10 times during the visit, "Lewis, are you sure you are ready to quit dialysis and prepare for your death?" And he confirmed he was without hesitation. Paul came over a little bit after me. Terra said that a nurse was coming over to answer questions and get his vitals. She also went over a ton of paperwork that essentially said Dad understands that he's not being forced into doing this and that he understands that it is palliative care rather than curative. Palliative care is that they will provide comfort and pain meds for him as the natural process of death begins and ends.
At about 12:30 Missy, the nurse showed up. She's a beautiful woman in her 60s and what a great personality! She seemed to really hit it off with my dad. He asked her what he could expect in this process. She said that in the patients she's had that had quit dialysis that it was a very peaceful and quick process. He will start being more tired than he already is, he will lose his appetite, and his organs will start to shut down. She also explained that most of the patients would pass away in two weeks but there were some that would do it in five. Missy also asked him MULTIPLE times, are you sure you want to do this? And he said yes. And then he did something he never does and that is share his feelings. He told her he was scared to be leaving our family and that he hated the thought of missing us. She told him that is natural, that like us, he's going to be grieving at the loss of us. But she also assured him, after learning his medical history, that he had made the correct decision because he was not having any quality of life and that when it starts to affect other people like Mom and us then yes, it's time to go. She also said that her favorite patients were the ones who said they were Atheists because she would often find them talking to long passed relatives that could not be seen and it confirmed to her that there is an afterlife and that it's not bad from what she heard from these patients. She told us that we could call her at any time and if not her there is an on-call nurse 24/7 at Silverado. I asked her if my aunts could speak with her because I just felt so much better hearing what she had to say and she said, "oh yes, they can call me anytime." She also said she would have the social worker help Mom set up Power of Attorney over his health decisions since that hasn't been done yet. and then she left. We all agreed that we felt much better over this decision. Both Louise and Leatrice (Dad's oldest sister) called him. They are still both very concerned about him doing this but he confirmed to them that he was OK with it. But then he messed it all up by saying that he doesn't feel sick...that is not something to be telling these people that don't think he should be passing on.
Oh, I forgot to mention before that Leatrice had said he could come live with her and she'd take care of him (which I find rich considering when I was going down there to college she refused to let me come live with her even though my parents let her daughter live with them for over a year). He told her "no" which essentially means that he'd rather die than live with her!! HA HA HA HA!!!
The hospice had also told us that if he chooses not to do hospice anymore and he wants to go back on dialysis he can. He told that to Leatrice and she told him she hoped he would consider that. They are so weird, his sisters. Louise does talk to him every day, but Leatrice doesn't so I don't get it. But anyway...
I spent most of the day there. Irene (my mom's oldest sister) came over with her famous chocolate chip cookies and told my dad that she was proud of him for having the courage to go on hospice. I fell in and out of sleep after she left and then left for home. I stopped at Harmon's and then I went to Barnes and Noble to find this book Missy had told us about called "Glimpses Beyond Death's Door" by Brent and Wendy Top. She said that was the best book she had read about afterlife experiences. They didn't have it. As I was leaving it occurred to me that Dad and I had gone to the book store many times over the years and right at the same moment Phil Collin's slow cheesy version of "Groovy Kind of Love" came on. That song makes me sad and I started to cry so I left.
Paul was at home with Mayson and we had pulled BBQ pork sandwiches and pasta salad. I called Michelle and told her and she said she was sorry and she agreed with us that it's time for him to go. I also called Holly, Shelley's daughter and we spoke. Holly is just as baffled as I am at her mom's and the aunt's reaction. She also confirmed my worst fears and that is they feel my mom has no feelings and that she's being selfish and talked Dad into it. If you know my mom, you know that she is the least selfish person you could know. I told Holly that she needs to tell that side of the family that they need to respect my mom and dad's wishes and they need to apologize. And if they don't, I really don't want them casting their crusty Pierce looks at his funeral. I just can't handle that.
Tracey and I watched "American Horror Story: Freak Show." It was the second to last episode this season. Then Mayson and I watched some cartoon show in his dad's room. I asked Mayson what he thought of Grandpa dying and he said it makes him sad and it reminds him of when his "aunt" Regan died. She got hit by a car Christmas week several years ago. He was very young but he still remembers it. I also asked Mayson what he thinks happens after we die and he said, "We go to heaven. And Grandpa will be with Daisy (the miniature schnauzer he had growing up) and Regan." That made me happy considering he hardly ever goes to Church. And speaking of that, I'm hoping that Paul will change his mind about letting Mayson get baptized, especially before Dad dies.
Anyway, everyone is really sad. Paul and I can't talk about Dad dying without crying. And it makes me sad that his family thinks we're so crazy and evil. This is supposed to be a time where we are all together and they are choosing to be numbskulls about the whole situation. Hopefully by this weekend it will be resolved.
So I don't believe anyone reads this blog, which I think is OK, because I'm going to share my true feelings about stuff, which I really would like to post on Facebook, but that's not the place to air personal stuff like this. In the event that someone I know is reading this, that's OK too. Especially if you may be mentioned because you need to hear this. Just right now tonight (1/15/15) is not the time.
Since 2008 my dad has been on dialysis. It started out as peritoneal dialysis, which means he had tubes stuck in his stomach, and he would do that every night. He's been diagnosed diabetic since 1978 and has really never taken care of it. I understand that though, as I am diabetic too and it SUCKS!! You can't eat anything you want without it screwing up your blood sugar, except for vegetables which never satisfy my hunger...if anything they make me hungrier. Anyway, because of the diabetes Dad's kidneys started deteriorating. He also developed neuropathy and over the years has lost both of his feet, cut off at the arches. We have spent many hours at the hospital with him thinking he was going to die, especially when he went in for a quadruple bypass in November 2012. His kidney function is now down to nothing which means he never pees. A human being not peeing is not a good thing. His heart function is at 26%. That is also not a good thing. Because of all this he was taken off the kidney transplant list. If you're not aware, dialysis takes the place of your kidneys, filtering everything out. It is also meant to prolong life so that in the event you are on the kidney transplant list, you will live to receive the transplant. Other than that, dialysis is useless. It's merely there to keep you alive when your body can't do it because you're not peeing anymore. And hemo-dialysis, which he was on until yesterday (and went to three days a week), costs $65,000/month!!! Did you read that correctly? That is SIXTY five THOUSAND DOLLARS per MONTH!!! Granted, Medicare pays most of it, but my parents have been left having to pay $500/month. This is in addition to all his pills that cost about $2,000/month after insurance. It's unbelievable how much costs to stay alive when you are so sick.
And that's another thing: Dad insists he's not sick. True, he may not be feeling sick, but if your heart is not working (he currently has a defibrillator) and your kidneys shot, well sir, you're sick. He also can't move around very well because of his missing feet and because he's so weak. A lot of the time you have to help him up. My mom has been taking care of full time, fixing his meals, helping him bathe and dress, taking him to his doctor appointments, taking him to dialysis. Any time she has to take him somewhere she has to assist him outside to the car and back in and it's HARD! Even for me and my brother Paul who are two big strong men. I don't know how she does it.
So for the past how many ever years it's been now, Dad's day consists of sitting on the couch being uncomfortable, trying to decide what DVD he wants to watch next. He's given up on reading because he doesn't wear his contacts anymore and he used to read all the time. And then he goes to bed around 8:30. Some life.
When he was younger and better he used to go to work, watch the news a little, and then maybe go to the library, go to the model shop, go to the store, go watch the helicopters, etc. The key word in that sentence is "go." He doesn't "go" anything anymore. Yes, he does go to church on the weekends but that's a struggle. It's a struggle getting him to the kitchen or dining room table to eat, which he doesn't do very much of anymore. And then when he's at the table he buries his head in his hands and says he feels miserable.
That sucks!! This isn't how it's supposed to be! Dad was meant to work and play. Now he just sits and stares. I don't know about you, but that's NO quality of life.
And then lets take into consideration Mom. She usually is not one to complain and she's usually happy and all. This has not been the case for the past year or more. She's going to be 68 in three months which makes her old. And here she is having to lift this guy at various times, do EVERYTHING for him, including him biting her head off because he's a snappy kind of guy, and she gets no thanks for it. He even told her that if the tables were turned that he wouldn't have taken care of her. That's really disheartening.
Let's also keep in mind that about a year and a half ago Dr. Tien told us that the peritoneal dialysis was no longer working and we had two options: he could go on hospice and pass away or he could go on hemo-dialysis, which would prolong his life but not for long. It was also made clear that it was not going to result in him getting a new kidney because he's just way too sick. Dad chose the hemo because he didn't want to die. That's understandable. But now we've come to this point where Mom is most likely going to pass away before he does because he just doesn't want to die. But yet he has no quality of life.
So last month my mom and the rest of my brothers and my sister went to a meeting with a senior living counselor (I didn't go because I was working). When she heard the situation she was shocked that Mom was letting it go on so long and she told Mom that she wanted to meet with Dad to discuss his fear and ideas, but that Mom should stop enabling him and let him find his own way to dialysis if that's what he wants to do. He finally did meet with the counselor and said that he felt it was morally wrong to go off dialysis...that he felt it was a form of suicide. How horrible is that?! And, just so we're all clear, removing yourself off artificial life support is not killing yourself because it's ARTIFICIAL. It's not REAL life! She suggested he talk to his bishop about that but that she wanted him to know just what I had explained previously. Mom had called to set up an appointment with Bishop Barney but never heard back from his executive secretary.
Last Friday, January 9th, I drove myself and my mom up to my cousin Jake's birthday dinner at the Mandarin in Bountiful. The whole drive she was venting her frustrations that Dad doesn't care about how taking care of him is affecting her and that she really feels like she's going to die before he does. She was furious! And it kills me to hear her like this.
Tuesday, January 13th, she had setup a meeting at their home with Silverado Hospice to discuss what that would be like as an option. We all knew that hospice meant certain death. So I left work early and went to their house to be there. Paul was there too and Pibby showed up after the hospice chaplain Terra arrived. Terra explained that hospice was for people who have decided to not continue with curative means or practices to keep them living. Hospice is to prepare you and guide you through the natural act of death. It is also covered 100% by Medicare. Dad almost immediately said, "I'm not going on hospice because I'm not ready to die!" She asked why it was that he wanted to keep living and he said, "Because I want to be here when Heather's baby is born." (That is on May 27th). He also later brought up, "Who's going to support your mother?" As though he had been doing that this whole time. We all shared how much we loved him but that we were tired of seeing him miserable and that we could see no purpose in him going on, especially because it was killing our mother. She also spoke up and said, "Lewis, I can no longer take you to dialysis because I'm too tired and worn out. I love you but I can't keep going on like this." Terra explained that they may want to look into a rest home however that can start at $6,000/month and it is not covered by medicare. She gave us a booklet to read through and said call her if he changes his mind. We discussed with him after she left what he thought and he was still adamant that he's fine with the way things are. It was depressing to say the least. Heather showed up and told him her feelings too.
I called the Bishop's Executive Secretary John Venables to see why he hadn't called Mom back and found out that he had been trying to reach her on her home phone but the voicemail isn't set up. So he said they could meet with the Bishop at 7 that night. I was sure Dad talking to the Bishop would help him understand that he wouldn't be committing suicide if he chose hospice. Not to mention Pibby had found an article on the Church website that confirmed that stating that death should be looked upon as a beautiful experience as it is getting you one step closer to your Father in Heaven. I took them over there and sat out in the hall talking to one of the counselors in the Bishopric. Before they went in I pulled the Bishop aside to tell him what Dad was thinking. After awhile we came back out and went home. Mom told me that he had told Bishop Barney, "Well, Beverly and my kids want me to die."
I know he said it in jest, but people don't get it when he's kidding. And he didn't explain WHY we want him to die. And it's not that we want him to die, but COME ON!! He's been miserable for years now, he's making Mom miserable, and there is just no fix to this situation but death! And from my view, I would be excited as hell to get out of this shit-hole world, especially if my parents were on the other side. Not to mention all the other relatives and ancestors that I haven't met. I look forward to it.
So that was depressing.
Wednesday, January 14th I went to work with the worst knot in my stomach because this situation just didn't seem like it was going to come to a peaceful end. And it also occurred to me that he usually goes to dialysis on Wednesdays so I was wondering what Mom was going to do and she said she was going to take him today and Friday but after that he'd have to find his own way. Well, Heather spoke to her and Mom told her that she yelled at Dad all the way there for being so inconsiderate of her feelings and acting like he doesn't care if it's destroying her. She felt bad.
About 3 PM Paul texted me saying that Mom had told him that Dad had told the dialysis place that he wasn't going to be coming back!!! I couldn't believe it.
But then that's when it hit me: my dad is going to die soon. You have to understand he's been the greatest father! He's never beat us, he's never cheated on my mom (as far as I know), he's always had a great job, he's always been interested in what us kids were doing, and he was always the one that was helping us to learn about the world around us. And now all this time of being mad that he was choosing to live was over and the reality was here: he's going to be gone. I couldn't stop crying so I left work early. As I was coming down the street I was surprised to see who I thought was Shelley, his youngest sister, driving away from the house. She didn't wave to me or anything. When I got to their house it was very somber. Paul was already there and had tears in his eyes. Well, it turns out Shelley and Louise (his second youngest sister) were there and the shit storm that we thought was going to happen when they found out about hospice had happened. And even worse than we imagined. Shelley had lost her mind (and quite frankly she's always kind of crazy...she doesn't handle stress well at all). Louise also told my mom that she couldn't believe Mom was doing to this to her right now. Louise's husband of almost fifty years passed away last month from emphysema. And honestly, he was a horrible person .I won't go into it, but he was...to the point where she made sure everyone knew that she does not want to be sealed to him. I was sure she would understand this but she was very upset. She thinks that Mom forced him into doing it. And Paul told them that there is no point to Dad living as he has no quality of life. So then Shelley has to pipe up and say, "Well, David has diabetes. Are you just going to give up on him too when he gets worse??" Paul responded, "David is actually having the good sense to try and take care of himself which Dad never tried at all." Well, they left in a huff. I asked Dad why he changed his mind and he said it was because there just didn't seem to be a good option financially and he knew it was killing mom. I asked him if he felt we pushed him into it and he said, "No, I just thought about it today and it doesn't make sense to keep doing dialysis." We stayed there for quite awhile. Mom was really hurt by his sisters. What kills me is that they have no idea what has been going on because all they do is talk to him and he only tells them half truths like he's not sick or that "my kids want me to die" and all this other BS. Not to mention out of the 39 years they've been up here NONE of them have been over to visit us more than 10 times (with the exception of Shelley who moved up here. But had she remained in Price it would've been the same). Let's also take into consideration that my dad, after his own father died, would've never gone down there at all had it not been for my mom telling him that he should because it's his family. And yet here these people are thinking Mom is the enemy. Not to mention, how about offering to help instead of criticize? Seriously, they have no idea how hurtful they're being. I understand my dad is their brother, HOWEVER, he's my mom's husband first, our father first, and their sibling second. He left home right after high school graduation. That says something, don't you think?
Anyway, I posted this meme on Facebook that says "Don't judge people for the choices they make when you don't know the options they had to choose from." Well, Natalie (my cousin from my dad's oldest sister) responds "Only if you get to make your own choice and not forced into one by others."
REALLY??! So I lost my mind and responded, "Natalie, I'm so glad you know exactly what has been going on because you and your family always visited over the years, especially recently. I posted this specifically with people like you in mind." She liked it but then, after talking to my bestie Gina Mother F'n Falcone, I took her comment and mine down. I did notice that she liked mine, for whatever reason. However, I was still mad. How can these people even believe that we would FORCE my dad into making such an important decision?? So I decided I needed to call Pamela, Natalie's sister (and one of my favorite cousins) to see what she thought of all this because usually she's the one that has a level head on her. I also wanted to tell her that she needed to tell her mother and our aunts to knock it the hell off and grow up plus I wanted to tell her to tell Natalie she knows nothing of what she talks about. Pamela didn't answer which turned out to be a blessing, however, I lost control and went off about her "stupid mother and sister" and that they can all eat shit. A little later Pam called back wanting to know what in the hell is going on. We talked and I explained myself and apologized. But unfortunately she believes like they do, that hospice is not a good idea and that she doesn't think Dad would choose to die of his own free will. That really makes me sad. It's like a bad dream. So I popped some Tylenol PM and passed out.