Time to Say Goodbye

When I saw my husband’s face on my phone, I knew immediately why he was calling.  And my heart sank.  I steeled myself to answer and hear the news, then I heard my husband’s voice, informing me of what we had known was pending and inevitable.  Knowing it’s coming doesn’t make it any easier.

He was diagnosed almost a year earlier, and he went through many rounds of treatment before he eventually became disoriented and confused.  After a brief visit to the hospital and a relocation to my brother-in-law’s house to have more constant monitoring, the decision was made to stop the rounds of treatment.  They weren’t helping anyway.  At that point, everyone just hoped for the best.

He had his good days and bad.  On the good days, he would sleep through the night, walk around the house trailing his oxygen hose, interact with visitors, watch the Orioles’ games.  On the bad days, he would think the ceiling fan was leaking water onto his bed and start talking about people who died years earlier as if he had just seen them yesterday.  For a while, there were many more good days than bad.  Until last week.

My husband took the boys to go visit him before leaving for a weekend long baseball tournament over an hour away from home.  We would be staying the entire weekend, so this would be the last time they would see him until the next week.  He was having a very bad day.  Confused, delusional, scared.  It was the worst he had been in a while, and it was quite the sudden turn.  We got word on Saturday morning that an ambulance took him to a hospice home very early that morning.  We contemplated returning home, but were told it wasn’t a matter of hours, but rather days.  We hoped we’d have time to see him again.  We stayed for the tournament.

Late Sunday night we returned home, and while I took the kids home for dinner, baths and bedtime, my hubs went over to the hospice to visit.  The weekend was long and tiring, so I was in bed by the time he returned home, but the text from him that I saw the next morning reported how sad it was to see him like that.  He had been unconscious for the past 3 days.

Despite the fact that there was laundry and grocery shopping to be done, neglected while we were out of town the past weekend, I decided to forego all necessary yet mundane chores the next day after work.  There are priorities in life, and this was one of them.

When I arrived at the hospice center, my first impression was that it looked like a southwestern style spa oasis, not a building housing very ill people a few miles from Baltimore City.  It was a beautiful and richly appointed place, and the people inside seemed genuinely caring and sympathetic.  When I entered his room, I saw him sleeping on the bed.  A shadow of his former self and not much bigger than an anorexic teenager.  There was a TV facing his bed showing scenes of gently flowing streams and playing calming music.  It was very peaceful.  I did find the balcony off of his room, that overlooked a wooded area, to be a bit unnecessary in this setting, but it was a very lovely room.

I was glad to be alone with him.  It’s too much pressure when there are others there.  By ourselves I could just talk to him and hold his hand.  I talked about my oldest son’s tournament the previous weekend and how his team won the whole thing.  I told him that I was just starting to feel the baby move and I was so hoping he could have met his 13th grandchild, even though I knew he would see his birth and life from wherever his next destination might be.  I told him we would give the baby his name for his middle name, despite not having discussed this with my husband prior.  I told him that I was sure that he would soon be with his wife who passed a few years prior and that I knew it would be a happy reunion for them both.  I talked about when the boys were little and he and his wife used to watch them when I got home from work, allowing me to get dinner ready, and how the boys used to love visiting each day.  I told him how much we were all going to miss him, but how we understood if it was time for him to go.  I told him that 81 years was a lengthy time to be on this earth, and that he had fought for long enough.

I talked and talked, but have no idea if he heard a word.  It didn’t matter.   All of those words were just me saying goodbye.  When I heard that he passed the next morning, I was so thankful that I had that opportunity to see him that one last time.

He was a wonderful father to my husband, a surrogate dad to me, and a loving and doting Pop to my children.  He lived in our home for the past 15 years, and his absence will create a great void in our lives and hearts.  We will miss him terribly.  But are thankful we had the chance to know him.  The world is missing one more great man today, and so are we.

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57 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Andrea @ Maybe It's Just Me
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 15:06:24

    So sorry for your loss…so touched by your memories…

    Reply

  2. Sam Merel
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 15:14:47

    I am so, so sorry for your loss. It sounds like both you and your husband had such a wonderful relationship with him. Hoping that once the hurts heal you are left with only happy, good memories. Sending lots of love your way.

    Reply

  3. Ice Scream Mama
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 15:20:34

    tears… so sad. but you were so lucky to have had such a wonderful relationship for so long. and i’m so glad you went to see him instead of the routine nonsense. he heard you. xoxo

    Reply

  4. transformednonconformist
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 15:32:27

    So sorry. Our prayers are with you.

    Reply

  5. Nelson - One Old Sage
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 15:35:24

    Please accept my deepest sympathy. He sounds like a wonderful man. I’m so glad you got to say goodbye in such a personal way. Don’t worry, he heard you.

    Reply

  6. sarah9188
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 15:39:40

    I’m so sorry, Misty! I remember you talking about how much he meant to your family. Sending you hugs and prayers. :(

    Reply

  7. Todd
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 16:05:53

    I’m so sorry, Misty. Sounds like you guys always let him know how much he meant to you, how much he was loved. That’s good.

    Reply

  8. JM Randolph
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 16:23:09

    Sorry for your loss, Misty. This is a beautiful tribute. I’m glad you got to say goodbye.

    Reply

  9. Fresh Ginger
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 16:39:03

    My condolences

    Reply

  10. Hippie Cahier
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 17:40:18

    I’m sure he heard you and was comforted by your loving thoughts. I’m sorry for your loss. Hugs to all.

    Reply

  11. bluzdude
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 18:18:01

    I’m sorry, Misty. He sounded like a great guy. I’m glad you got to say goodbye.

    Reply

  12. jenniferjuneclark
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 20:08:07

    So sorry for you family’s loss, Misty.

    Reply

  13. joannerambling
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 20:28:03

    Even though I clicked liked for the post I would rather not have read it as it was a sad post and I am so sorry for your loss I have no words of comfort all I can say is take it one day at a time and that he is in a better place now a place without pain and confusion

    Reply

  14. She's a Maineiac
    Jul 03, 2014 @ 06:11:52

    I’m deeply sorry for your family’s loss, Misty. Thinking of you.

    Reply

  15. thoughtsappear
    Jul 03, 2014 @ 07:30:09

    I’m so sorry for your loss. =(

    Reply

  16. Don't Quote Lily
    Jul 03, 2014 @ 09:03:04

    This brought me to tears. I am so so sorry for your loss. I’m glad you got to say goodbye. Just take the good memories with you, and know he’s watching over you guys. Hugs, Misty.

    Reply

  17. agirlwhogames
    Jul 03, 2014 @ 09:28:13

    I’m sorry for your family’s loss, Misty. You’re all in my thoughts.

    Reply

  18. Danielle Geer
    Jul 03, 2014 @ 11:40:28

    What a lovely tribute. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you find comfort, laughter, and peace in your happiest memories of him. So much love to you, dollface.

    Reply

  19. brickhousechick
    Jul 03, 2014 @ 11:40:49

    So so sorry for your loss. What an incredible tribute to him! Oh the cycle of life…

    Reply

  20. The Cutter
    Jul 03, 2014 @ 13:51:30

    I offer my condolences. This was a nice tribute.

    Reply

  21. rachelocal
    Jul 03, 2014 @ 14:03:47

    Hugs to you, Misty!

    Reply

  22. Judah First
    Jul 03, 2014 @ 16:35:06

    The importance of saying goodbye cannot be overstressed! Despite how difficult last Thanksgiving was for me, I will NEVER regret the days I had with my sister, knowing full well I would not see her on this side again. So sorry for your loss, but thankful that you had the chance to say what was in your heart. I am certain he heard every word.

    God bless,
    C

    Reply

  23. Lisha Fink
    Jul 03, 2014 @ 19:59:49

    We lost my mom 8 years ago, after having her in our home for 8 1/2 years. The loss is different. My sympathies to you and your family.

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jul 11, 2014 @ 09:31:51

      Yes, it is so different. It’s like this void in your life, where before there was this constant, loving presence. So much more difficult. Thank you, my friend.

      Reply

  24. Jess Witkins
    Jul 06, 2014 @ 19:24:46

    Still thinking of you. Hope the week brought time well spent with loved ones. I was picturing your balloon ceremony and saw your father in law smiling down at all of you. Sending extra hugs and strength to you all.

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jul 11, 2014 @ 09:33:38

      The balloon ceremony was nice. We did yellow balloons for my MIL as always, but bought two huge special mylar balloons with a theme significant to my FIL on them. We know they were watching as those balloons floated up in the sky towards them. Thank you, Jess.

      Reply

  25. pegoleg
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 18:07:19

    Oh Misty, I’m so sorry for your loss. We just buried my mother-in-law on Monday and I’m crying as I type this. We need to remember how blessed we were to have such special people in our lives.

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jul 11, 2014 @ 09:37:55

      I am sorry for your loss as well. It is hard to lose people so special, but we must be thankful for having them in our lives, of course. Hugs to you, my friend.

      Reply

  26. PinotNinja
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 08:00:51

    I am so sorry for your loss, your husband’s loss, and your children’s loss. What you wrote here could not have been a more fitting or beautiful tribute, because it explains that your father-in-law is not truly gone because he lives on in all of the wonderful ways he has touched every member of your family.

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jul 11, 2014 @ 09:40:43

      Thank you, my friend. He truly was special, and touched every one of us. That’s what makes it so hard. But we will always remember him in better days.

      Reply

  27. Valerie
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 21:52:08

    I love you so hard. Mad mental hugs to you and your family.

    Hugs!

    Valerie

    Reply

  28. Carrie - Cannibalistic Nerd
    Jul 18, 2014 @ 19:51:44

    Misty, I’m so sorry. I’m glad you got to visit with him one last time. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    Reply

  29. donofalltrades
    Sep 27, 2014 @ 10:46:06

    Geez, look at me all late to the blog and missing important events like this. I’m sorry for your family’s loss. How are the boys dealing with it? I was lucky in a sense that I only have one grandparent alive and I only remember losing the one grandpa, which was hard enough. My kids have all four of their grandparents alive, which is great, but I dread any of them getting sick or whatever. They’re only in their sixties, so, hopefully, they have another 40 years left in them each. This comment went nowhere fast, didn’t it? We should all be so fortunate to have somebody hold our hand and talk to us on our death beds. You’re a good woman, Misty. Very cool that your son will have his middle name as grandpa’s name.. Cool has Wife’s grandpa’s name as his middle name too.. Can’t think of a better tribute.

    Reply

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