Friday, July 20, 2012

Peace

This morning I woke up into a puddle of tears. I dreamt that Dad was living his final days up in a beautiful room provided by hospice. My family and I, one by one, would walk up, giving him a kiss goodbye telling him "I love you" for the last time, staring at his weak, frail, grayish-blue frame sunken into the last bed he'll ever lie in. When I finally awoken from this nightmare, it hit me: it was real - it happened. Madelene came over to my side of the bed trying to control my sobbing with a hug, but it wouldn't stop. All I kept saying was, "It's real... It's real." Thoughts flooded my mind, memories, flashes of moments where Dad tried walking out of the house to get onto his backhoe because "he had to go to work", then realized he couldn't. His head sunk down realizing his passion in life was nothing but a memory. The last time he was conscious he said, "I don't think I'm gonna make it kid," as I helped him walk the property to rehabilitate his broken hip he got operated on. Then he said, "I love you," and then looked down, almost brokenhearted. He sat back down, petted Lola and said, "I love this dog..." Dad never really took a liking to dogs all that much, so it meant a lot. Lola never acted up in front of him. She always licked his hands while he petted her, almost 'knowing' his condition.

For almost three years now we've all been mourning since Dad was first diagnosed with cancer. But the last few months, perhaps even year, was just truly agonizing to see him suffer to the extent that he did. There was nothing you could possibly do to make it better. Mom stayed up countless nights with him trying to comfort him any way she could. Mom's stronger than I ever imagined, trying to hold him up while he was falling over, as well as emotionally holding him up with soothing words or making him laugh somehow. What tore me up (among many other factors), is watching two people who have been together for over 50 years saying goodbye to one another. "Take care of my baby," he said to me not too long ago, worrying that Mom would be alone, sad or God forbid had fallen ill. I made a promise to him that was absolutely effortless.

Life's cycles are sometimes strange and frightening. "This isn't suppose to happen."  Well, Dad wasn't suppose to be here past 60 years old and he made it to 75! God bless him for being a fighter.  He outlived most of his younger friends and family who doubted his longevity. "You're never gonna make it past 60, Charlie."  And proverbially he turned around and said, "Watch me ya bachagaloop!"  He proved everybody wrong.

But Mom... My family and I are worried about her health declining through all the stress and the extended mourning period. Mom and I sometimes get the "church giggles". We'll laugh at inappropriate times and perhaps it can be seen as 'insensitive', but we don't mean it to be. It's through hours and hours of crying in the morning and having to sit up in hospice watching Dad starve cause he can't swallow any longer, that at some point during the day, there needs to be a balance; a "lightness" to the heavy fog that's crushing all of us. Mom said, "What if they think I don't care," as she started crying again, and worrying about what others thought about her having a fit of the giggles over something stupid I had done just to get a smile or chuckle out of her. "Mom, I'm sure it's a relief to the entire family to even see you crack a smile. You. need. balance. Haven't you cried enough?" We all have. And not to sound as though there shouldn't be more tears, but the tears are constant....and so should the happiness. To be calm in the midst of chaos - to ride the storm with hope - to be content with "what is" and not wish for something unrealistic, is a healthy way to live in my opinion. I don't want my mom to die of a broken heart. I'm sure you've probably heard those stories where one partner dies, and then the other partner passes away out of nowhere because, well... they died of a broken heart. But what if - what if - Mom's heart was mended by a little laughter, a positive outlook on life in which the next chapter in LIFE isn't such a bad idea to look forward to? That's all I want for my mom at this time. Peace. That's all I want for my dad at this time. Peace. That's all I want for my sisters at this time.

Peace.

Will we allow it?

Please continue to pray for our family as we try to get through this difficult time.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com