Please Visit My Dad

img_9722My Dad lived on a peg tube for the last 4 years of his life.  The last year of his life he was housebound.  The last 4 months of his life he was on hospice unable to perform basic tasks.  I wrote the below journal entry in September 2015 with the exception of the last three paragraphs that I recently added

Please visit my Dad.  

You remember my Dad, he was the life of the party, he could make anyone laugh.  When I was 5 years old he told me chocolate sprinkles were chocolate covered ants.  I haven’t had chocolate sprinkles since.  He was the tall, good looking guy that all of my dates were afraid of.  He had a zest for life.

Dad isn’t doing well these days.  With each visit I say good bye to a little piece of him.  A few days ago his hospice nurse told us he is showing signs of sundowning.  Sundowning is symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.  How can life be so cruel?  He hasn’t eaten in 4 years, he is housebound and now this?

Please God don’t let my father die unable to eat and remember his loved ones.

Our heart to heart conversations are a thing of the past.  I sit next to him on the couch and watch him stare at the television and shake in pain.  We sit in silence holding hands with tears building up in our eyes.  My father ends each visit apologizing to me for not having the energy to talk.  I don’t care, I just want my father in my life.

He screams in pain, his body is so frail and skinny.  He no longer looks like the athlete you remember.  He lives on a peg tube that is connected to a feeding pump.  His feeding pump runs 16 hours a day.

He stays in touch with his friends and family through emails, although typing is becoming a struggle for him these days.  Close friends and family visit and stay in contact.

When he’s feeling up to it, I catch him watching the Ranger games texting furiously.  Whoever you are THANK YOU!  You made him smile today.

Please don’t wait for my father’s funeral to visit.  

Please don’t let your fear of what if’s hold you back from visiting.  Please don’t tell us you would visit but you are uncomfortable eating in front of a man who cannot eat.  Please don’t tell you would visit but you know things are hectic.

This is Al, the guy who would walk 500 miles barefoot to visit you.

So please before it’s too late visit my Dad.

My father passed away surrounded by family January 17, 2016.   Immediately following his death a very small group of people offered excuses rather than condolences.  Perhaps the most unforgettable excuse was just a few days after my father passed we were told, “I’m sorry for your loss.  We would have visited but seeing Al so sick was really upsetting.” 

We simply smiled and ignored the comment mainly because our grief is consuming us.  But what I WANTED to say is, if it’s too much to handle for YOU imagine his wife who shares a lifetime of memories with him or his children share his DNA and pride themselves on being “Daddy’s girls.”  Don’t you think my father’s immediate family would have appreciated your support?

Right up until my father’s last breath he treasured his friendships and family.  There is no script on how to act when a loved one is terminally ill.  But one thing is for sure the calls, the texts and the visits not only make the patient smile it makes the family smile and realize their loved one is a legend.  And my Dad was a legend.

 

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11 thoughts on “Please Visit My Dad

  1. Your blog is really getting me through my own struggles with my dads cancer. I see I’m
    Not alone in my thought process. Keep up the great work, I look forward to reading more. And hold your head up XO

    Like

  2. God and his memories will be always with you, even though he was in I’ll he was trying his best to keep in touch with all his besties that shows how much he gave value to his loved ones truly he was legend👍

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so proud of you Lisa and know that your dad is eating and smiling and proud of you as he watches over you in heaven!! Best of luck with the blog!! Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your friend Maria said to check out your blog since I too lost my everything December 28th. The hardest thing is to see your rock crumble . he was my everything, my only thing. I olny read a tiny bit and could not get through it without my tears and thoughts of dad. On a real good day I will attempt the whole thing. People say in time it gets better. But does it? My son says to me it’s so hard. He was the only one there for me and loved me my only constant member of the family. . it happened so quick he was only able to see him once due to his mental state I would not let him see him in that way. I wanted him and my daughter to remember the kind loving man he was and not the person he became. . my dad was a very giving man. Always thought of others before himself. The unconditional love he gave me I could never thank him enough. I was so luck to have him as a father and adopting me. Never treating me as if I was. Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Linda, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your Dad sounds like a wonderful man 🙂 Losing a parent leaves a tremendous void in our hearts. Thank you for reading, I hope my journey can give you some comfort xo

      Like

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