Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Father in the Hospital

We, the family, wander the yellow corridors of the ICU, searching for answers. The doctors and nurses turn away as we pass them, looking hard at the clipboards and folders they carry. They know that eye contact will mean a prolonged hallway conversation that will take them away from their real job, their medical job. They know that we will batter them with questions for which no answers exist in this world. Questions that begin with, "What's the probability that....?" or, "How much longer...," or, "how do we know when to stop..."

We hear the sounds of the machines as they beep steadily while dripping brown and white fluids into his veins. We hear the sharp and sudden blast that means one of the many numbers on the monitors we watch with vigilence has gone out of range. Some noises make the nurse come into the room, while others bring a whole platoon armed with new machines. After eight days we understand the rhythm of the machines. They become background music to this dance of dying.

I stand by his side holding his hand. I lean over him stroking his brow. With a soft voice, I take him on journeys to happier days. I tell him about the sweet, cool blue river that flows through him and around him, connecting him to all the healing forces in universe. I tell him he is surrounded by love - love from the people who stand around him now, and love from everyone who has ever loved him. I tell him that all that love enters his body with each breath and makes the waters of that blue river even sweeter.

On October 15 at 10:40 am, my father died. I, my brother, my husband, and Maisie, the woman who had been his caretaker for the past year, were by his side. There were three breathes and then no more.

His rabbi said that he was an "adam shem tov" - a man of good name. He said his death was a holy one.

He taught me about happiness, and he taught me how not to throw a baseball like a girl.

I love you Dad and will always miss you. Have a good passage.

13 comments:

Sherlock said...

I am sorry for your loss. Sending thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

isabella mori said...

may he flow on in this beautiful river ...

thank you for taking us on this journey in the last few weeks. it feels like by doing this, you have given beauty and love to all on this transition.

Christine said...

May his memory be a blessing.

Butchery on Bond Street said...

Zol dos erd af ihm gring leygn, we say in Yiddish: may the earth lie lightly upon him. A beautiful piece you've written, Barbara K.: may you never know such sorrow again...zikhroyneh l'vrukheh: may his memory be blessed...
Benjy

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss....

Rochelle said...

I am truly sorry for your loss.

Barbara K. said...

Thank you all for your kind words and sympathy. This has been such an everything time with feelings ranging from deep grief to hysterical laughter. Your support means a lot to me.

Janna said...

I am thinking of you and sending big heartwarming hugs ... so sorry for this great loss of yours. Thanks for including me in your updates & messages.

bdaul said...

Dear Barbara, My heart goes out to you and your family. The atmosphere you cradled your father in was so beautiful. I could feel and see it too. I could feel the love you surrounded (and surround) his spirit in. I hope that you are always able to surround his memory and the other loved ones in your life with the same beauty.
I certainly wish I would have the same experience when I pass...but doubt it.
Love, --bill

Anonymous said...

really sorry to hear that.

hope you are ok

Medical Billing Software said...

This loss is ireepairable but what has to be has to be and you hve got to accept destiny.Just pray to God that you get ethe strength of mind to deal with this.

Emily said...

So sorry to hear about your father's passing. I've just been catching up on my reading and was so sad to read about this.

Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Barbara K. said...

Again thank you all for your expressions of sympathy. They mean a lot to me.

It's interesting. I have felt this loss more physically than emotionally. Yes, I have cried. But even more, I feel completely exhausted - barely enough energy to stand up. Perhaps the emotions will follow soon.