Thursday, November 11, 2010
The Last Time I Saw Dad November 13, 2009
A buzzard flew over Lovers Lane on one of the last afternoons I visited Dad and Mairi. The leaves were just plummeting off trees. You could hear the snapping sounds as they hit the ground. Like "Rice Krispies" in milk turned up to 11.
Yes, I got it. No need for the symbolism.
Inside I could hear an oxygen machine wheezing day and night. With the help of a burly nurse named Martin, Dad was able to get washed up, dressed and pulled up to his feet so he could get his daily exercise. Walking from one room to the next. Then he would stop and catch his breath. My sister Amanda cheered him on. Dad looked at me with an expression that said "Can you believe this shit?"
There were seventeen bottles of medicine in various cupboards. Opium. Morphine. Lorazepam. Ondansetron HCL. Metoprolol. Diphenlatropine. Lerothyroxine.
Dad napped easily. His mouth open. The phone would ring. People wondering if they should visit.
At night, we'd all gather in "his" room, the living room where a bed had been set up, to watch Bones. Dad still getting a few hits off a cigarette and a very weak martini.
Dad was all "there". We talked ( I talked, he whispered) about work, about my family. I told him we would be OK but that he really should try to stick around for a good while longer.
My November 13 Journal entry
Well, I certainly wasn't going to let myself believe that I was saying my final goodbyes. Even as he lay on his bed with oxygen tubes attached around his ears and into his nose.
I said I'd be seeing him soon. Maybe next month. And that I loved him and I kissed him on the forehead, said "See you later". He nodded. Whispered "Bye Saint".
And I didn't linger. I walked out of the room.
I've learned there is such thing as The Last Conversation. There are four things that must be said: I love you. I will be alright. I forgive you. I hope you forgive me.
Dad and I did the first two.
Maybe this whole thing is about the last two.