It’s my day to be with Dad. I’m packing up for a 24 hour stint. Toothbrush, pillow, coffee, laptop. Ziggy the cat knows something is up, and is following me around, howling to be picked up or simply climbing my leg. I’m due there in about an hour, so time to finish my packing, eat some breakfast and get ready to go.
I didn’t hear anything overnight from either my sister or my stepmother, so that’s probably good. The never ending list of questions/logistics continues to evolve. J (stepmom) how would you like to be notified if Rod passes while you’re away? What are your final arrangements? etc, etc. A curious set of questions some of which I never quite imagined needing to ask. And here we are.
Back writing again, about 8 hours later. The day has gone smoothly so far, Dad was waking up when I arrived, talking about how many eggs would fit in a pan. “Oh, do you want eggs for breakfast?” ‘Yes’. So I started making breakfast, and he went into his bathroom, emerging 10 minutes later looking for clothes. He’d taken a shower, which has been a bone of contention for some time. My sister helped him start dressing and then took off for home and work. Dad ate a decent breakfast, visited a little with my stepmom, then puttered about before settling down on the couch for newspaper reading and a nap. After his nap, he did want some lunch. Nothing like a grilled cheese sandwich and some tomato soup. A longtime favorite, and he ate about half, finishing with a banana and cookie.
Time for his after lunch nap. Awakening from his nap, he was pretty confused, clearly thinking about and planning something. He’s been in and out today, sometimes knowing where he is and sometimes not, and my sister reported the same overnight. As we visited, it became clearer that he was thinking about building a glider, not so surprising, as he loved to fly and had his own plane and glider for many years, finally stopping flying and selling his plane after his aortic valve replacement at 83. He kept asking me how many gliders I’ve built, and was surprised at none. Sometimes he knows who I am, sometimes I’m my sister, or his cousin Phyllis. Right now, he’s sitting on the couch reading the paper, and he’s pretty oriented. Familiar things help. I am so grateful that we are able to keep him in his own home, with his people around to help. It is still hard to watch him fading, and at the same time, he’s mostly content. That’s what I’d want for myself, and I’m so profoundly grateful right now, that despite all the change and difficulties getting here, we are able to honor Dad’s wishes for this stage of his life.
I hope his last flight is marvelous.