My dad died yesterday.
How else do you start such a post, but to tell that inevitable truth?
Maybe first with the story of his death, and then some about his life.
A year ago, I went to visit my dad for my birthday, in the beautiful Victorian house he and my mother had lovingly restored prior to her death a decade prior. During the ensuing years, he'd struggled physically. He'd broken his leg slipping on the ice 6 years ago and it'd never properly healed-- in fact, the surgery to repair it had activated osteomyletis he'd had since a child, and nearly killed him. His mobilty after that was severely limited, but he made do. My dad had always been a powerful man, full of energy and able to build or fix anything. He loved that house, where he'd matched old wood to repair rotting finials and trim, and installed stain glass windows he and my mother had rescued from tear downs and auctions. It was now starting to fall apart around him, and I talked to him about finding some place a little smaller, with a lot less yard and upkeep. He admitted it was depressing not to be able to keep up with it, but refused to talk about a move.
A month later the decision was taken out of his hands. Going out to the barn to feed his cat, he stumbled on his bad leg and it shattered. A series of medical mishaps ensued-- overdoses on pain meds that stopped his heart and resulted in resuscitation, an allergic reaction that caused horrific itching and then another to the med for the itching that threw him into fevers, seizures and arrhythmia. Fully conscious and his rascally self at admission, he was completely out of it by the time my sister and I arrived; none of us expected him to live. Time to shorten this story-- a month in the hospital, a month in intensive rehab (none of which he remembers), and another month in nursing. He never went home. The sisters decided he should move here. He's too rascally to live with any of us, so we arranged for an independent senior living place that would serve his meals and do housekeeping, but otherwise leave him alone. He was unusually compliant, but later remarked it was a relief not to have had to decide, and a relief to be here, where there was more family in town, no acre to mow, less bills to manage.
We had 9 months of dominoes
Welcome to the middle path
- Jana Svoboda, LCSW
- Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.