June 2009
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Dad at Home – Day 8 –

When I arrived at Dad’s house it was quiet. I came into the room he is in, his sister Nyla was sitting in a chair next to Dad. She said that Dad had a rough night and had waked up the house around 4:00 am because he sounded like he was choking and was coughing.

I said good morning and Dad visually responded by looking at me. He did not say anything. As I prepared the morning medications I talked to Dad and did not receive any response from him. Nyla and I talked and it appeared that dad was not even actively processing what we were saying. I let him know I was going to move his arm so that I could give him his water and medications. He really did not even respond as I lifted his arm out of the way.

After I finished with the medications and water I held his hand. Nyla said that Dad generally wants to have someone hold his hand or sit with him. In the past when I have held his hand, he would respond by squeezing my hand when I squeeze his. Dad really was not even responding to that today. I do not know if the night was so rough for him that he was extremely tired or he is drifting away from us. His breathing was a mix of shallow breaths, a few deep breaths and times when he did not breathe for three or four seconds. There even appears to be a slight rattle sound now and then to his breaths. As I held his hand there were a couple of times I wondered if he was going to breathe again. He would just gasp for a big breath of air after a long pause.

As each day has passed it seems that the vibrancy of his spirit has slowly slipped into submission to his earthly body. A body full of cancer, a cancer that is gradually sucking the life and energy from Dad’s mortal tabernacle. Today as Dad took each breath, especially then he had a great pause between breaths; one could only wonder how soon his last breath would be. I really do not want to see my Dad go. However, as I looked at him this morning and he was unable to consistently look back or really respond, I get the feeling that he is close to being gone. His heart continues to beat and he continues to breath. His mind just seems to be on its way to another place.

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