The other day, I wrote that I was going to put my blogging on hold while I dealt with us having to call in hospice for my dad. A couple of good friends encouraged me to continue to write, as it makes for a good outlet for processing grief. At first, I was going to blow it off, but since I’ve had enough Pastoral Care and Counseling classes to know that they are right, I thought that I might defer to their wisdom in this trying time.
In case you missed it; I wrote a piece about my dad when we first started talking about hospice and palliative care in the fall of 2013. I like to go back and look at it on occasion because I think that it perfectly sums up how I felt on the day that I wrote it.
Today is one of those days where I definitely need to document how I feel about Dad.
My dad grew up fairly poor. I would like to offer exhibit A:This is a picture of my dad in front of my Papaw’s old house. Those are not bricks. That is some sort of tar-based siding which is similar to roll roofing but stamped to look like bricks. You might take note of the ripped jacket which Dad is wearing. Sometimes you have to wear a ripped jacket when it is cold and you are poor. (I mean, not today, of course. Today, homeless people have cell phones.)
My dad used to tell me about how he would hitch up the horses and plow other people’s fields for money. When I was a kid, we still plowed certain things with a horse-draw plow and I learned how to hitch up the horse, so I know that this is something that he wasn’t making up. In fact, Dad would often just hitch up the horse because he felt that it was too much trouble to get the tractor out. Let that one sink in for just a moment.
My dad went from this to owning 3 auto parts stores and an interest in an office supply company. He did this by working hard every day and not complaining. My dad never, ever complained. Dad had some strokes in the early 90’s which left him with some issues. He worked through them with no complaining. He didn’t complain when he lost his business to a real deadbeat who cost him well over half a million dollars 1999 money. He eventually forgave the guy, which I still have trouble doing. He didn’t complain when we had to sell the farm to pay for the outstanding business debt when his last store failed as a result of the 2004 flood. He never complained and he always did his best to keep a positive attitude.
Unfortunately, I think that I had my last real conversation with Dad earlier today. After that, he took a nap and had a rather serious stroke. When he woke up, he could no longer speak and it was clear that we could no longer take care of him at home.
Today, I had to help decide to move my father into a hospice facility rather than keeping him at home, even though he had wanted to remain at home until he passed. Today, I probably had the last good conversation that I will ever have with my father. Today sucked.