Things I Want To Tell My Dad
From left to right Mom, Dad, Becca (wife), Me, Gavin (son), Gino (nephew), Apollo (puppy), Evie (niece)
Dad is dying.
He's in hospice as I write this. He can't talk very much - I can tell he's hurting in spite of the meds. We're all with him as much as we can be. It's been a little over a week now since he went into hospice care.
There have been ups and downs. In the beginning, we would have evenings where we would laugh together. We'd crack jokes and reminisce. When we talk about funny stuff dad did in the past, he'd give us this look like "Oh c'mon, give me break!" And we'd all laugh.
My sister and I took turns staying all night at the hospital, but mom was there the whole time. We were there to support mom and let her take breaks from being at dad's bedside. Sometimes dad would take long naps and we'd walk around with mom and talk.
My sister and I noticed at the beginning of every shift how different dad was from before. Less talkative, less awake, more in pain. Mom acclimated to the decline - but for us the beginning of every shift was a shock.
So, here we are. Dad switched to in home hospice care this week, so at least we all get to be together now. No more all night shifts and anyone from the family can visit, unlike the hospital. My aunt is here with us and has been such a blessing. Dad got to see his brother a little bit too.
Best of all, he saw all of his grandkids. He perked up when they were there. He loves those kids so much. He always gives them a couple of chocolates when they're there. This time he was too weak to hand them over so mom helped.
Dad and I prayed together last night. I could tell it meant a lot to him. He was lucid then, that might have been the last time.
One thing the hospice staff tell you to do is to 'release' your loved one. Let them know they can pass and you'll be okay. That you'll miss them, but you'll be okay. It is really hard to do. All of us had to figure it out somehow. I hate it. I understand it, but I hate it. The truth is that I'm not okay. I want dad here with us.
We were supposed to go on vacation together to Myrtle Beach later this month. Aside from all of the uncertainty from COVID or hurricane season - we thought we could still do it. It would be Gavin's first time at the beach. Dad talked about that a lot - he really wanted to see Gavin take in the beach for the first time. Like, watching his little face look out over that huge expanse of water, smelling the ocean air and putting his bare feet in the sand. Dad wanted to be a part of that moment too.
I want dad to see Gavin grow up. I want him to see the kind of person that Gavin grows into. I want him to see Gavin graduate from grade school, and middle school, and high school and then college.
My wife and I have been talking about getting a few acres in the country. We've talked about it with dad, something we want to do in the near future. I want dad to see that. I want him to taste the beer I'm going to brew, or the honey from the bees I want to keep.
I want dad to see Becca's garden she wants to grow, and the chickens we're going to get. All of these things I want dad to be a part of. I want to make up for all of those missed opportunities where we didn't do things together because I was working, or goofing off or whatever.
I thought we had time.
My dad is only 69. Yeah, it's kind of old, but among the elderly that's pretty young. He's been retired for about 5 or 6 years or so. Barely getting started really.
Dad and I were supposed to bond as Gavin grew. We were supposed to goof around with little building projects. He was still teaching me a lot. I still have so much I could learn from him.
Dad and I talked about doing a lot more fishing. We both loved to fish. Now Gavin is starting to learn too and dad was so proud of that. We were all supposed to go fishing again soon.
This is already so awful, I can't tell him about all the things I wanted to do with him. The things I wanted him to see. All I can do is tell him I love him and hold his hand. Weep with my family as dad continues to fade a little more each day.
Watching him suffer, I just want it to be over for him. I can't tether him to this world with my desires - so I can't tell him any of this. All I can do is tell him it's okay. I'm with you dad and it's okay. You can go. I'll miss you so much, but it's okay.
Please don't hurt anymore. Please.
I love you dad.