June 2009
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Dad at Home – Day 9 – Surreal Sights, Sounds and Smells

I stopped by Dad’s this morning to give him his medication. He is deteriorating quickly. Nyla let me know that Eric, my brother stopped by last night and said that Dad may not make it through the night. As I looked at him this morning, I do not think he will make it through the day. There was a part of me that wondered why I was giving the medications knowing that Dad may not make it through the day. I thought it could be the last act of service that I give to my Dad. After the medications, Nyla and I pulled of his damp shirt, washed him off with a damp cloth and put a dry clean shirt on Dad. We turned his pillow over to the dry side and tried to make him as comfortable as possible.

As I sit here typing I remember the extremely labored breathing, the rattle in his chest as he takes every breath. I had a friend many years ago that worked in convalescent hospital. She explained that you could tell when a person was dying and you know when it was close because they get the “death rattle.” Additionally, I remember the smell that my mother in law had in the days before she passed away. Dad has the same smell. I smell my hands from washing him and the smell is on my hands. The time is so close for him to pass on. It is almost surreal, the visual image of Dad, the auditory rattle and the smell of the end. I love my Dad and will miss him greatly. May he go peacefully and in comfort.


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