We got back from our Christmas vacation just after the New Year. My Dad went to the hospital while we were gone. By the time we returned the doctors were telling us to call the family together because his kidneys were in failure. So our Christmas decorations are still up. We’ve dedicated most of our time to being with my Dad at the hospital and now the Hospice Home. When we do go home it is only to pick up things and restock.
Every time I go in I see a darkened Christmas tree, bows, greenery, a nativity, and gifts that are unwrapped beneath the tree. The first few times I thought, we have to get that put up. As days turned into weeks I began to think, what makes this whole thing bearable is what happened at Christmas. Now it’s become a symbol of why we have hope beyond the grave. I know that sounds more like an Easter thought but Christmas and Easter are forever joined as one.
Speaking of resurrections my Dad is amazing. He had a very bad night where the nurse told us he had “terminal breathing.” He isn’t eating or taking much fluid and he isn’t communicating. So I left the Hospice Home this morning to grab a few things from home, saw the Christmas tree again, and came back thinking we might be the home stretch. When I got back his eyes were open, he listening to my brother talk with his big blue eyes open. He even smiled. I won’t say he is like a cat because I don’t like cats but he has more than nine lives!
One thing that happens as we wait is that the grief is elongated. We are dealing with the stages of grief now not simply at the time of Dad’s passing. In some ways that is good and helpful. In another way, the not-knowing is hard. When Dad is fighting for a breath in the middle of the night I find myself trying to breathe for him until I realize what I’m doing. It gives us time to say our “goodbyes” which we’ve done and that is good. But since Dad has Alzheimer’s it is sad that once we talk through something it doesn’t mean that it sticks. We might have the same conversation an hour later only we have to start all over about why we are here and what is happening.
Thanks for your prayers. I’ve never been very good at waiting. And Belinda would say I’m not a patient servant. I’m very active and I gravitate toward doing. Sitting, waiting and watching for some way to serve isn’t in my nature but I’m learning. Right now I think that is the best way I can love my Dad and serve my family. In so doing I think I am also honoring my heavenly Father. Thanks for your prayers.