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Papa's gone

post #1 of 88
Thread Starter 
The house is so quiet. The rhythmic wheeze of the concentrator that had been supplying oxygen to Papa for the past few years is gone now, and the silence is deafening.

I thought we had at least a few weeks... but the hospice aide told me yesterday that she could see Papa declining, and we should prepare ourselves. So I called my brother and asked him to bring Grant over, and I called one of my aunts and asked her to let the family back east know that this might be a good time to call and talk to Papa.

And last night was very good. He got calls from several family members, and although he had a hard time articulating words and even just staying awake, he did know who he was talking to, and he did understand and respond when they said they loved him.

And my nephew Grant, bless his heart... he sat at the coffee table and made origami, and whenever he finished a piece, he would take it over to show Papa, and Papa would grin and reach an arm around to hug him. It's scary for a kid, to face an old person in a hospital bed, with tubes and everything, no longer able to really even talk -- but Grant smiled so gently and hugged Papa every time, and when they left, he said "I love you, Grandpa." He's the most wonderful boy, and he made Papa so happy.

Papa hadn't wanted anything to eat all day, but I asked him if he would have some nice warm chocolate pudding with me, and he smiled and said he'd try, so I made some. I'm not supposed to eat anything at all, but I had a couple of bites of it with him, and then he couldn't eat any more.

And then we watched a couple of episodes of Andy Griffith, but he slept through the second one, so when the theme music came on at the end, I slowly turned the volume down and put out the lights. I wanted to say goodnight, but he's been in so much pain... I hated to wake him when he'd finally gotten comfortable enough to sleep without the gasping and restlessness he's had for so long. So I let him sleep.

Mom slept on the sofa, where he could see her and know that he wasn't alone. She said she put another blanket over him around 3:30, but he didn't wake up.

A little after 6:00, I came down the hall and, as I’ve done every time I wake up for the past couple of years, I stood and watched to make sure Papa was breathing. I didn't see any movement, and then I realized he was very pale... so I went over and patted his foot and said, "Papa?"

And I went and shook his shoulder and spoke again, and then I went over and woke Mom. I told her I thought we should check whether Papa was breathing okay. And she came over and spoke to him, and patted him, and then she put her hand on his forehead and said, "He's so cold!" And we realized it was over.

We talked to him then, just for a couple of minutes... told him how much we love him and how we'll miss him... I guess we both trusted that he could hear us, somehow.

And then I called the hospice people, and then my brother.

We all held Papa's hands and talked to him and kept him company while the arrangements were made, and then the funeral people came to take him away. I asked them please to be very gentle. We hid in another room while they did whatever they had to do, and we turned away from the window so we wouldn't see the hearse.

And then the three of us made some calls to let family and two special friends know... and Noel wrote down a list of things we have to do... and we arranged to meet with the funeral people tomorrow at 10:00... and then Noel went home, and I made Mom eat something and take one of the Xanax I asked her doctor for yesterday -- I'm so glad it occurred to me to get that. She’s asleep now, thank goodness.

People have been in and out of the house all day, carrying away the hospital bed, the wheelchair, the oxygen concentrator, the nebulizer, all the various supplies and equipment we’d brought in for Papa. My brother and I talked on the phone a minute ago about whether to bring in the recliner Papa used to sleep in and put it back in the corner. I thought at first it would be too painful, seeing it there, but then I realized... if Papa wants to come visit us in some way, he should have a place to sit. So we’ll put it back.

There was a man from the VA coming this week to present some medals Papa had earned, but never received. I hope now that he will present them to Mom, or if he’s able to come to the funeral, maybe he will present them there.

A few years ago, we all saw a story on the news about the fact that so many veterans of World War II are passing away now – something like a thousand a day – and it has become impossible to find enough buglers to play the traditional “Taps” for every funeral. Instead, they often use an electronic insert that fits into the bugle itself and plays the melody while a military man pretends to be playing it.

We all thought that was a terrible shame, and I said to Papa, “I promise, when that day comes, you will have a real live bugler, no matter what.” And he very seriously thanked me for that. Music mattered to him, and tradition mattered to him, and he wanted it to be real.

So I called the DFW National Cemetery this morning, a special military cemetery like the one at Arlington, Virginia, and I told them how important this is to us. They gave me three numbers to call, and the first man I called said he would be honored to play “Taps” for Papa. So I will be able to keep my promise.
post #2 of 88
Sorry for your loss. Cally
post #3 of 88
I am so sorry for your father's passing, Carol But I'm very glad he was surrounded by the family that loves him so much and his passing was peaceful. You and your family will continue to be in my thoughts
post #4 of 88
So sorry to hear about your papa May your sweet dad rest in peace
post #5 of 88
That was a very touching story, really brought tears to my eyes. Your Papa was very loved and cherished. I wish nothing but the best for you, your family and friends through this time. I know it's hard. Be strong and for all who are effected by this loss.
post #6 of 88
Oh Carol I am so deeply sorry the time had to come so soon. I wish I had the perfect words to comfort your heart. Your love for your Papa is obvious and I know you must be hurting now.

Many thoughts and prayers for your Mom, too. What a sad day this is for you all.

Rest In Peace Papa
post #7 of 88
I got goosebumps reading your post Carol.

My heart is with you. A beautiful man is now at rest.
post #8 of 88
I am so sorry for your loss.
post #9 of 88
My deepest sympathies to you, your mom, your family.

Carol, you write so beautifully, you should also consider writing a book someday.
post #10 of 88
I'm so sorry for your loss - but it sounded so sweet and love-filled and peaceful for him. We should all be so lucky to have that at the end.

Your time with him after he passed sounds like the time I spent with my Nana's body after she passed in 2005. I could "feel" her presence still in the room with us, so I talked to her and kissed her forehead, and spent at least two hours there with her before they came to take her ... sad, poignant memory, but so important. It's a good way to say goodbye.

I wish you and your family the very best during this time of sadness.
post #11 of 88
I'm so sorry for your loss. May he rest in peace.
post #12 of 88
Oh Carol, I'm so sorry that your Papa has gone. You and your mom, and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Your story is so love filled that it brought tears to my eyes.
post #13 of 88
Carol, your post has tears streaming down my face.

May we all be so lucky to leave this earth surrounded by so much love.

My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

May your Papa rest in peace.
post #14 of 88
Oh Carol, I am so sorry to hear this, it really sounds like he went peacefully. He will always be with you in your heart and in your memories Please give your condolences to your Mom and brother...many blessings to all of you
post #15 of 88
Carol, I'm so sorry to hear of your Papa's passing, though what a sweet peaceful last few hours you had. It reminds me of the passing of my own Dad two years ago, which makes me smile through my tears.

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
post #16 of 88
I'm so sorry.
post #17 of 88
Carol, I am so sorry
I will keep you & your family in my thoughts & prayers
post #18 of 88
Carol I am very sorry for your loss. Papa had a wonderful last few days .
post #19 of 88
Carol I'm so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. May your beloved Papa RIP.
post #20 of 88
I'm so sorry for your loss Carol May your Papa Rest In Peace

My thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time.
post #21 of 88
I am so sorry for the loss of your wonderful father. I`m afraid that I`m not very eloquent but there will be a special prayer here for him and you and your family tonight.
post #22 of 88
Carol, I'm so sorry that you have lost your Papa. Your post was so touching, the love that you all felt for Papa shines through.

He could not have wished for his final hours to be better and you will be able to find comfort in this in years to come. Even after he had passed, he was surrounded by love, this will be so important to your Mom too.

I am so happy that you are able to make the arrangements that he wanted for his funeral ceremony.

My thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time.
post #23 of 88
I'm so sorry for your loss.
post #24 of 88
Carol, I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sure your father was so grateful that you helped his last day be so special, and that you remember his last wishes, and are honoring them. You've been a good daughter to your Papa.
post #25 of 88
I'm sorry you lost someone close to you. RIP Papa.
post #26 of 88
Carol, I am so sorry to hear this. We lost our son-in-law three months ago. He was only 27 and in the Green Berets. He did get a bugler but as many bodies that are coming back from Iraq, it is amazing. It looks from your avatar that your father was in the army, too. Our son-in-law (Joe) got a full military funeral and I hope that your father does, too.
God bless you in this time of tribulation.
post #27 of 88
Carol my heart goes out to you and your family. I lost my Dad last May so I understand what you are going through. If you need to talk, send a PM.
post #28 of 88
My deepest sympathy to you and your family.

Rest in peace Papa.
post #29 of 88
I'm so sorry that your Papa went downhill so fast. He sounds as though he had a wonderful day yesterday, and was "ready to go". You and your mum did everything for him to make him comfortable, and sounds like what Grant did for him was so special as well.

Best wishes to you and your family over the next couple of weeks which I'm sure will be difficult for you.
post #30 of 88
Carol, I am so very sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. I know no words will ever take away the pain.But, know that he isn't in pain now from the Cancer, and he can breath now without the aid of oxygen machines.
Many coming that way.
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