I woke up with this song in my head. I laid on my bed as I listened to it over and over:
The day before, dad's hospice nurse said he has taken a major turn for the worst. She said lots of things but the two sentence I remember her saying was, "....He has maybe a few days at best.....I'm sorry you have to lose your dad at such a young age..."
We cleaned the house that day. Preparing for my two brothers and their wives to come in town the next morning. Pips (dad) was sleeping until around 4pm.
When he woke up that afternoon we knew it wasn't good. Mom called us into the living room where his portable bed was set up. She said to us, "I know he is trying to say something but I don't know what he's saying." There he was: eyes wide, mouth moving with silent clues, hands twitching. He was trying to say something but no words were coming. All we could hear was the pain and panic etched across his face.
Hospice was called and they said a nurse would be out there soon. In the meantime we tried to use whatever intuition we had, along with our knowledge of what Pips liked, to make him comfortable. Looking into those eyes. Those eyes that so desperately wanted to talk to me. Those eyes that I have known so well since the day I took my first breath. Those eyes that could communicate so much.
The following few hours were the worst of my life. We sat there holding his hand. Crying. Telling him everything is going to be okay. "Don't be scared, Pips, it's gonna be okay." Waiting for the nurse. Calling his siblings, putting them on speaker phone, and listening to them say their tearful goodbye. Crying. FaceTiming my brothers that would be boarding a flight in a few hours. Crying, pacing. Holding his hand. Trying to give him something...anything that he might need or want.
An eternity. It truly felt like an eternity.
Finally the nurse came. She said his pulse was so weak that she couldn't find it. She shooed us out of the room so she and mom could change him and re-adjust the way he was laying. When we came back in she went through a list of signs we could possibly see before he passed. I drifted in and out of listening as I looked between her concerned face and Pips slow, irregular breathing. "...I would say he has maybe a few hours left, maybe a day...you will see his breathing get irregular....he won't be able to swallow...give him this medicine under his tongue if this happens...you will hear a deep rattle in his throat..."
Upon leaving she told my mom it would be good if we spent time with him individually. She said her quiet condolences and left.
Mom said we should take her advice. All of us had already said what we wanted to say. But we all agreed it wasn't a bad idea. So Brady started. He went in, talked, and came out. Mom was next. When she came out she said I should go in.
I sat next to him on his bed. I held his hand the way I always did. His hand was cold and clammy. I talked to him the way we always would talk. I told him how much I love him. I talked to him about the things we used to do together. I kissed his hand. Kissed his forehead. Then I told him I wanted to take a picture with him, even though I knew he probably wasn't wanting to. Just a few pictures on my phone. One smiling, one kissing his cheek.
I noticed his mouth needed to be wiped off, so I did what I usually did. I grabbed a tissue, wiped it, and said, "There ya go. All better." And that was it. His eyes got huge, he drew his last breath. And he was gone.
My heart started beating out of control. I held my hand to his chest. Waiting for a heart beat, waiting for it to raise and fall with each breath. But there was nothing. His eyes were no longer lit up. Death seemed to cover his body. And I knew it was no longer my dad laying there.
He was gone. He was in heaven.
He was in the glorious presence of The God Almighty.