Death

My father died about 10 years ago. This is a happy story, really.

3ย years prior, he had diagnosed with cancer. He underwent treatment, and the cancer went into remission.

About 1 year later, the cancer returned.

For someone who was quite the hypochondriac, and overly dramatic about the slightest of ailments or injury, he braved through his battle quite gracefully. Never complained, never spoke of discomfort, and an almost complete absence of pain relief medication use.

I wasn’t the best kid growing up, but once I hit college, I reconnected with my dad and we spent a lot of time together talking, watching sports, and generally we were a good hang together.

I got him back to church, when I joined the choir. He and my mother would come to Mass and we would all enjoy a leisurely breakfast somewhere afterwards.

Everyone in the family made as much time as possible to be with him through his illness. He told my mother in a private moment that had he known his children would be so devoted to him as his life was slipping away he would have had more of us. ๐Ÿ™‚

As his ability to speak, then his ability to eat taken from him, we took him from the hospice to be home for his final days. When it became apparent that the end was very near, all children, grandchildren, and sisters and brothers came to his beside 24/7.

I was working with a drum and bugle corps at the time. It was a week before our first show. I had been making flags for the closer, because we had a guard caption head at the time that was making all the silks. He wasn’t getting it done so I stepped in and learned to sew.

I had run out of the material I was given and went to my father, told him I needed to go to the fabric store but would be back. He blinked his eyes.

So lucky I didn’t get a ticket that morning. Probably could have qualified for the Indy 500 that day.

When I returned, everyone was gathered around his bed. I made my way through, reached for and held his hand and told him I had returned. He tilted his head towards me, blinked, and exhaled what turned out to be his last breath.

I wasn’t sad. I don’t recall but maybe a few tears from others. He had been dying for over a year, so each of us made our own piece about the reality of the situation. All the arrangements had been made, so like clock-work, everyone got on with whatever there assignment was.

I did the eulogy, and it was quite elegant. ๐Ÿ™‚ That may be the reason 4 years later my mother’s brother’s wife asked me to eulogize her husband when he passed away.

Victor, my uncle, had been sick for a couple of years. He refused to go to the doctor, so he never received any treatment. He was never “sick” looking, but those that new him best, knew he was not well.

By the time he finally went to ER it was way too late. He had cancer. I went with my mother to see him in the hospital. I knew he was going to go soon. Others were much more optimistic. Because he was finally getting treatment, he had bursts of “betterness.” But the damage was done. Each improvement would be followed with double the setbacks. In a matter of 4 or so weeks he died.

It hit me very hard. I had 7 uncles, 3 on my dad’s side, do the math ๐Ÿ™‚ Victor was my favorite. I knew I was his favorite. Ironically, my father was his favorite non-blood relative, and he was my father’s favorite brother-in-law.

Those guys were special men. The turnout for both their funerals was overwhelming and overflowing.

It makes me wonder, sometimes who will be there when I die. I hope people have better things to do with their time. I’m gone. I won’t see you. Stay home and read my blog! ๐Ÿ˜€

I was so calm and poised when my father passed and spoke so well at his funeral. For Victor, it was very halting, emotional. I think it was the suddenness, and maybe the fact that everyone was so hopeful he would recover. He was my grandmother’s favorite, named after a favorite uncle of hers. Victor was a lot of people’s favorite.

I don’t know if I mentioned before. I feel like I am on borrowed time. I posted on FB a couple of weeks ago, I am proof that God doesn’t let stupid ruin His plan. I have quite the reckless past.

I know why I am here. I’ve known for a long time, even when I was young. To serve others. I’ve always enjoyed helping people. Honestly, I believe it’s what we all should do. Be there for one another.

That goes back to my book’s theme. When people call me “nice” or the dreaded “too nice” it’s just that I contrast with the suck that exists in the world.

I am human in a world that sometimes seems void of humanity.

Well, enjoy. See you tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜€

 

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7 Responses to Death

  1. Jackie Kehoe says:

    ๐Ÿ˜ข

  2. Sarah says:

    This one may be my favorite so far

  3. cindy says:

    this story reminds me ot the 12 or so years that my mother was very sick, not of cancer but she was a great mom and grandma, she has been gone 4 years also, i miss her so much…
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Camille says:

    I remember both services very well. You were alarmingly calm at your dad’s service as I think we all were. Like you said , we had some time to prepare ourselves. You were very graceful and well spoken at tio Victor’s. I can’t recall exactly what you said but I remember thinking, “yup. You got that right.” I’m so glad it was you. You made us all proud that day.

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