Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Posting from Austin, Texas, where I've been since late September.
Our dear ol' Dad was in a drastically terrible auto-tractor/trailer accident on September 27, and my brother and I acted on his living will and directives, and pulled the ventilator on October 1, 2011, and held our dear father as he died.
I'm sure my dad wanted it to be another way, he wanted to be eaten by coyotes, or hogs, or somehow or another to go out on a quieter note.
My biggest regret is that my father's last days were painful, emotionally difficult, and that he was, while intubated, unable to communicate precisely. My brother and I spent every possible waking hour talking to him, guessing for him, reading to him (mostly the 23rd Psalm,  I wish I could say he responded well to Thoreau and Bassho, but he didn't) and just being with him.
One of the things my father gave me, through standing up to him, was a kind of fearlessness.
I always knew I would lose him, and I always feared, that I would fall completely apart when I did. I was afraid I would howl like a coyote at the funeral, but our dear cousin Butch and his coy-dog and German Shepherd and I had several good howls, just for fun, and it totally cleared my heart. I was afraid that I would howl for days. I may yet..
I had to be very clear and present for my brother, for the family, and I had to Get Things Done, and there is nothing for the hunter but to have a quarry.
I knew, when I got on that airplane, with the health power of attorney tucked under my arm, that I was going to have to guide my brother and I through the process of letting our father go. I had very clear direction from my father, not just that, but very clear intention, and my only regret is that we waited as long as we did, and subjected to our Dad to that much more pain and privation. The dying suffer for the wants of the living. Our father spend four days in pain and unknowable privation, a proud, independent, fastidious man, unable to do a thing for himself, in incredible pain, unable to communicate, with his children obviously in distress and caring for him, drying his tears, reading to him, holding him (and holding him down, in my case). After I filed the health power of attorney, the staff was very responsive to what I felt and saw as my father's needs. His broken clavicle/scapula was incredibly painful, and after 16 hours of ineffective Lidocaine patches, I got him some Fentanyl, and he was much more comfortable, though headed down the Exit Express..
If the living really want to respect the dying, we need to learn to let them go faster, sooner, and we need to stop being so selfish.
That was what I understood from the trauma staff.. those people live to fix lives, not to prolong pain and suffering. They made it very plain to us, and I said to my brother, "we have been selfish enough" and I took his hands in mine, and we looked into each others' eyes, and I asked him the question I knew I had to ask.. "are you ready".
My brother, sick of suffering, and brave, said "Yes".
I could have never done it, without him.
Ol' Pat played some jokes on us, even on the way out. He is still making himself known, he is giving us gifts and communications.
Dad is our favorite Poltergiest, and we welcome his jokes, tricks, lessons and free and playful spirit.
I am still free, clear and present, but that great vast emptiness that is grief, is such a huge part of my life right now.
My dad would be very proud of our 10-year wedding anniversary, I'm sure he had something planned for it, we had a nice Greek dinner together with Patrick, Megan, and Mombi, and I think he would have been thrilled about that. All he ever wanted, all that made him happy, was to have as much of his family around him at one time, as was possible.
In this event, I'm sure he knows that we have been together more, and bonded more, than his wildest dreams. This extends to our dear Unka Bubba's son P (Taz) and we are talking about what older parents need to do, to leave their children free and clear to care for them, and let souls go as needed. Please go to, and get it done.
The blood on the tracks so far, says that that's the easier path.

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