June 4, 2014, was the last time I posted on my blog. I am determined to post before July ends, so here I go with a snapshot of what the last several weeks have looked like.
June was Family Eye Doctor Appointment Month – at least it was for my parents and father-in-law. During one week I had four separate appointments for them with a total of six appointments in three weeks. They all go to the same group. I am the transportation and extra set of ears for my parents and the “seeing-eye-daughter” for my father-in-law. (He’s legally blind.) I think I’m making friends there.
In mid-June, Bob’s two sisters came down to visit their dad. Bob’s and my prayer was that he would be healthy and they would have a good visit. His tendency to contract UTIs (urinary tract infections) would often land him in the hospital. We hoped he wouldn’t be going through that or anything else during their stay.
God is good. Their visit was amazing. They spent a week with him and saw him every day. Bob and his sisters took him out to lunch, which can be challenging. It was a special time with him and his three kids. They had great conversations and walked down memory lane. There were no incidents. The new declines that we were beginning to see were barely noticeable during their stay. We were so thankful.
Two days after they went home, he fell. A few days later on June 30, Bob and I were heading over to visit my parents to celebrate my dad’s 91st birthday when we got a call that he fell again and was being sent to the ER.
He was admitted. We all thought it was a UTI, but it was not. I think he was worn out. It was his time. On July 4, he was moved to Hospice House. On July 7, he passed away at the age of 91. It had been a long year for him, full of challenges physically and consequently emotionally. We are thankful that he is now at rest in Heaven.
How kind of God to give such a wonderful final visit with his daughters. And we are thankful for Hospice House – a place to die with dignity surrounded by people who understand, comfort and help.
On the last day that he was fully responsive, I spent several hours with him in the hospital. He was living in his past and talking vividly about it. I joined in his conversation like I was there with him. Having known him for over forty years, it was not difficult. I’ll always remember how happy he was on that day and how much he enjoyed reminiscing. I had heard of things like this happening right before the end of life here on earth. It was remarkable to witness.
The last thing he ever asked of me was to scratch his nose. I think they had given him some meds that made it itch. I gave it a good rubbing. He said, “No, that’s not getting it. The inside itches. Scratch the inside.”
“Sorry, Dad, you’re on your own,” I told him. He was not shy about asking people to do for him. I don’t feel badly about not granting this last request plus it made him laugh when I said no.
Dale (Bob’s dad) telling stories at our house last Easter
He also talked about his projects. Right to the end, he was concerned about them. For the last six months our daughter-in-law, Aubyron, had been more or less his secretary. When she and our son moved back to Orlando, she wanted to help; so we hired her to see him weekly, take dictation from him and transcribe those last pesky stories that he had not completed. Her duties also included delivering Icy Hot and Listerine and the occasional manicure and tweezing of the nose hair. (This was not part of the original job description.) She provided Bob and me with much-needed relief and she enjoyed visiting Grandpa.
When he died, we sent messages to our friends telling them that Bob’s dad had passed. One of our friends asked us, “Hey, what was Bob’s dad’s name?” He was always Bob’s dad or Mr. Anderson to them. His name was Dale. Among other things, he was a writer. He encouraged me in my writing. That being said, I guess I better buckle down and write. That would make him happy.