Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘father’

Last Breath

I continue writing about helping my father as he completed his life. At this posting my father has already died, but this piece and the following few posts concern his end days.

December 31
He snuck that last breath by me. It was a soft little breath.

For a day and a half he had been curled against the raised bed and mounds of pillows, his head tilted and turned to the right so he wouldn’t choke on secretions and on the morphine tucked and massaged into his cheek. Read more

I Cry All the Time

From writings about helping my father as he completes his life. At this posting my father has already died, but I want to share in this and the following few posts descriptions of his end days.

December 20
His eyelids flicker. I rarely see his blue eyes now since he sleeps most of the time. “Eyes are a piece of the brain,” someone once told me. Not as poetic as ‘window of the soul’, but right now that understanding of eyes captures my experience. I’m mostly shut out; those gatekeeper eyes slam the door in my face.  I’m alone out here in the chair by his bed. Read more

Winter Night

From writings about helping my father as he completes his life.

All the to-ing and fro-ing from caregiving his ADLs has enflamed my chronic act-up-under-duress injury. I feel like a parolee; I can only go a few steps before a skewer pierces my trochanter, my IT band, my quads. I lie down and tuck the pain under a heating pad. My brother brings me a set of crutches which help. Ibuprofen helps. Not walking helps. It’ll heal but not tomorrow or the next day. Read more

Internal

From writings about helping my father as he completes his life.

He is more and more internal. Even when awake he is internal. I am more internal. I write less. Say less. Express less. Except to John, the other caregiver. We talk about him, about how we each see him and this part of his journey. These conversations go very deep. We are powerless, cradled in the palm of the Great Power. Read more

Time for Prayers

From writings about helping my father as he completes his life.

He doesn’t decline uniformly like an orchestra on a river boat, the sound floating away and away. He declines in small bits. When was the last time he woke bright-eyed with the life-long look of himself filling his face, stand with grace to full height, and walk in solid, small, careful sailor steps to the mantlepiece to let his fingers savor the smooth wood? Two weeks now…He was remembering, enjoying. I didn’t realize that the last time he did that would be the last time he could do that. Read more

I Become an Angel

From writings about helping my father as he completes his life.

I slide my arm under his shoulders to move him gently onto the pillows. He is all skewed and will wake with a crick in his neck if he sleeps too long that way. As I move him, he opens his eyes and gazes at me. Pure pure pure love. He smiles. All his face arranges itself around the feeling of happiness. Read more

Papery Hand

From writings about helping my father as he completes his life.

I kiss his dry cheek this morning, hold his papery hand. The vinegar smell, the smell that always worries me, the scent of something fermenting, turning, is gone. Today he smells clean and strong despite his bones rising up to the skin. Read more

Caregiving is Detail

From writings about helping my father as he completes his life.

Caregiving is detail. As detailed, nonverbal, and spatial as dance. Our ace guy is Jermaine Cardoza who comes three or four times a week to give Dad a head to toe sponge bath. Washing 180 pounds of deadweight or rigid body is no easy gig, but Jermaine extends both his hands with ease, gives a one word cue, “Stand,” and my father places his hands in Jermaine’s. With a wisp of effort, Jermaine leans slightly back and Dad rises out of his chair. No muscling. No grabbing under his armpits to drag him up. Read more

There Will be Absence

From writings about helping my father as he completes his life.

Late night. Alone in my bed. The wind sighs heavily in the maple trees, sifting through branches with fewer and fewer leaves to rustle. The sound sits on me. I feel my feelings. Windows of connection with my father shrink. There are no longer infinite moments. I digest this. I feel this. Read more

Dragonfly

From writings about helping my father as he completes his life.

I am a Dragonfly
I have no waking moment I am not watching Dad, helping him, but I have found sizable chinks in the fabric of our day to do self-focused movement. This then helps me to do every other physical action as a ‘dance’–lifting his legs, washing his hands. Read more