Good Morning -
As you know now, my Dad passed away Tuesday, yesterday, at around 12:40 AM. Dad passed away knowing he was well-loved. Dad passed away knowing that he would be with His Loving Maker in Heaven, a soul-felt belief that he preached throughout his service as an Episcopal Priest.
I read your Daily Diary Posts from Tuesday (yesterday), and all of the posts written on Facebook. I read all of the posts. It did comfort.
As I shared here recently, I believe that the aging process was cruel to Dad. At least in my mind, that cruelty seemed to extend into his final days of on this Earth. That "Death Rattle" and labored breathing went on for days! I know that most of us have watched this throughout our nursing life. I've never grown used to that sound of the "Death Rattle". Following Hospice instructions, we gave the prescribed dose of morphine and Ativan. The medications seemed to help ease the labored breathing, but that sound persisted.
I was with Dad when he drew his last breath. With the exception of Linda and myself, the family had left to go to the hotel(s) and catch some sleep. Dad's loving wife, Linda, sang their favorite country song to Dad. It was a love song, of course, and Linda held Dad and kissed Dad while she sang that song. Dad's wife then went to their bedroom to try to catch a few ZZZZZs. After she left, I went to Dad and kneeled beside him so that I can softly whisper into his ear. By this time, that "Rattle" seemed to be at full-volume. (It was a sound that will reverberate in my head for a very long time.) Leaning into Dad's ear, and while stroking his forehead, I very slowly and very clearly recited the Lord's Prayer. I knew that this prayer was recited to Dad many, many times throughout these past days. Priests and a Bishop recited this prayer. Dad heard other family members recited this prayer to him. But it was his son that whispered one of Dad's favorite prayers into his ear. When I finished the Lord's Prayer, I then whispered several times to Dad that God Loved him. I whispered several times to Dad that I loved him. Then, no longer than two minutes later, that "Rattle" stopped. Oddly enough, Dad was still breathing. Dad's eyes were wide opened after being closed for hours, he seemed to mouth a couple of words, Peace replaced the struggle on his face, and Dad drew his last breath.
Now. . . I had NO idea that Dad would pass away almost immediately after I recited the Lord's Prayer. I have to believe that it took hearing his son reciting that prayer for him to finally "let go". I do not know if there is an all-powerful, all-knowing deity that exists in this universe. But, if there is, that God received a Faithful Servant.
I did not want to be there as Dad drew his last breath. In fact, my plan was to go to the hotel with Amy and try to catch some ZZZZZs. But "instinct" told me to stay. Reluctantly, but willingly, I stayed. And, I followed that "instinct" to the point of whispering words of Faith and Love. That was all that I did.
Gosh, Dad will be missed. . .
I thank you all for being kind, and for reading these words.
Dad's funeral is Monday.
In the meanwhile, I leave you this video that I made for Dad and Linda which showcased Dad's 80th Birthday Party that took place in 2013. It was a rare but well-remembered Big Family Get-together.