Update and Epilogue (by PhyCon 11:45PM 11/27/08 – at the top so you don’t have to read everything below this):
At this time of year I have always looked forward to the constellation Orion being in the sky. He and I have had some great conversations over the years, albeit, a bit one-sided. As a child I had a paper route in my small home town. And DadII’s house was the last one on it. They always knew when they got their morning paper because I put papers inside of screen doors if they were available. Their house has a very small porch or it could be called a mud room. The door to this room is one of those old wooden screen doors that closes on a spring with a “BANG!!!”. For some reason I always delighted in trying to run from the door to make it into the street before it did its spring-fed duty. BANG!!! And then I’d see a light come on in the house. I’d laugh quietly and make my way home the whole long one block away.
Through the years that BANG!!! has been a running joke and a point of focus for happy times. I stopped doing that paper route when I was 16 but I STILL love hearing that old door go BANG!!! I started this post out with an intro about Orion and our conversations. They have been many and varied as I grew from an 8 year old boy to a 40 year old man. DadII was also a fan of Orion. As I was driving home Orion was rising into a crystal clear night sky. The stars were shining brightly all around but Orion looked even brighter than the others. I began thinking about all of those conversations and the ones I had with DadII over Orion. When I was about 15 miles (that’s 15 minutes to you city folk ) away from the Hospice tonight the last bit of Orion cleared the horizon and I knew DadII had left this Earth.
I wasn’t surprised when I walked down the hall to his room and a nurse stopped me. All I asked was “when”?. 7:45PM MST, DadII went home. MomII hugged me tighter than she ever had. We then said prayers for his safe passage into heaven along with Robin, the Episcopalian Priest. A short time later MomII was ready to leave and we took her to a hotel. We stayed with her until she kicked us out with assurances that if she needed anything she would call. She is heading home tomorrow to that small town and screen door where she will have all the support she needs in the coming days.
I told her this is still a day for Thanksgiving. DadII is safely home. I’m certain his fitting for wings was scheduled a very long time ago
PS: Please keep DadII, MomII, their children, and grandchildren in your prayers. You have my eternal gratitude.
Our own PhyCon has a good friend–in fact, close to a second father–who’s in the final stages of a terminal illness. The friend (call him “B”), B’s family, and Phy could all use a lot of prayer right about now; B for “Godspeed” without pain, and the family and friends for comfort and peace at this time.
It would probably also boost Phy’s spirits to drop by here and see some messages of support. Please feel free to post your good wishes.
UPDATE (from PhyCon): All, I haven’t been around much the last week or so because I’ve been keeping DadII and MomII company at our local Hospice Center. B (DadII) has had a couple “fair-to-midlin” (according to MomII) nights these last two and MomII kicked me out early because there have been a plethora of visitors the last two days. More are on their way tomorrow and I won’t be going back in until tomorrow evening – at MomII’s request. (I suspect she thinks I’m neglecting my own duties … would be very much like her.)
The long and short of it is B might make Thanksgiving, he might even make Christmas, or he might even go longer than that; but it is in God’s hands. I know MomII, her family, her adoptive family (in name only), and all B’s friends appreciate any and all prayers.
Thank you and God bless!
Update (from CW) and Bump: Seems that “B” doesn’t have long now. Please pray hard now!
Update (from PhyCon): MomII went home Monday morning mainly because the thinking is DadII is one of those who won’t “release” if he has his loved ones around. She also had the usual life things to deal with like bills and other things. I spent almost three hours with DadII last night and we actually had some good conversations. His speech is down to one or two words for the most part coupled with nods and head shakes. He was very concerned as to where his wife and children were. After I told him their locations he ‘settled’ again and relief washed over his face (this is my interpretation of his facial expressions). After the “where” conversation, DadII called out a name I initially didn’t remember. It was his mother’s name. He sounded excited when he initially called it out and I was concerned. I asked him if there was anything I could do to help him and he said, “Angels”…”see angels”.
I talked with one of the (most fabulous one I’ve ever met) hospice nurses, Diane, about this and she told me he had been “seeing angels” and “other afterlife” stuff for the last six hours. MomII had left his side just about 6 hours before DadII started reporting these visions. His pain medications have consisted of Tylenol and low-dose Percocet so the visions are most likely not drug related. Shortly before I left last night his pain level had increased significantly enough that his oncologist prescribed much stronger medications including morphine.
I will return tonight after work to sit with DadII for as long as he wishes me to be there. MomII is due back tomorrow by 1PM. I don’t know if DadII will still be on this Earth then but I wouldn’t be surprised. He’s hung on much longer than the nurses have thought he would. He’s a very proud and strong man. I am richer by far for having had the opportunity to spend the time with him and his family I’ve been afforded. I thank God for this and pray His gentle hands will hold DadII soon.
Please feel free to comment, ask questions, and/or pray. All are welcome.
Update 1:30AM MST 11/26/08 (by PhyCon): Thought I’d get on and put out on update. DadII is resting comfortably right now. His breathing is deep and not labored. I’ll be spending the night here and am planning on trying to get some sleep as soon as I publish this update. It’s been mostly a quiet night. Not much conversation at all though he’s tried on occasion. He just doesn’t have the strength left for a lot of speech :(. MomII is due back today now in less than 12 hours and I plan on being here until then. DadII isn’t really recognizing people now so I don’t think it really matters if I stay or not to him. I’m staying mostly for MomII and their kids. As one of those kids told me tonight, “It’s nice to have boots on the ground.” I kept a pretty steady stream of text messages and emails heading out so I think all those immediately concerned know what is going on.
I’m tired…off to a recliner with a blanket for me. (now 1:35)
Update 4:35PM 11/26/08 (by PhyCon): MomII showed up around 1:30 today and I related the day’s and night’s events to her plus had the nurses who were on shift at the time pass on their info. DadII is fading and I expect to have a phone call sometime tomorrow. Knowing MomII she won’t call as soon as he passes but will wait until well after so as to ‘not spoil’ the holiday. I will be very surprised if he makes it very far tonight. That said, she kicked me out @ 4PM today and told me to “go home” meaning to my parent’s house approximately 100 miles away. I’ll be on the road and out of touch with the blog for the most part for the duration. If I get news, I’ll post it as quickly as I can…probably by telling CW and asking him to do it.
I appreciate all the prayers and wishes. I have passed them on to MomII and she was gratified. Keep it up because there will be a new angel very soon!
Update & Bump from CW (19:41, 27 Nov): PhyCon reports that “B” passed away about 7:45 pm Mountain time this evening. Prayers for friends and family are still appreciated.