So, the doctor comes in. He tells us basically everything that we know up to this point. This time, however, he uses the word coma. However, they have done tests and he has lost even more brain function.
He asks us again what we would like to do. My mom said "No heroics, peacefull passing." The doctor calls up the order to have everything removed. This is it. This is his last chance.
Then a Chaplin is called in. And, she sits with us while we wait. She's pretty cool - not too preachy - just wants to know where we are. She has a braid like me - same side and everything. Up to this point, I had been doing pretty well on the crying side and just having the minor tears. Then the chaplin asked when the last time I saw my father was. Niagra Falls. I just hunched down over him and begin to sob. It was December. And, of course, this was also the time that I was waiting to see my husband - him getting off tour, and at this point, hoping that we could re-start our life again together. So, even though I saw my dad, I really didn't see him. Regret. Regret fills me. Anger. Anger at my now ex-husband. The last time I saw my dad - I was barely there. Which means, flash back to the last time - was that the Christmas before? Was that the year that they came down in the summer? I couldn't remember.
The chaplin, then realizes, she probably asked the wrong - or right - question. I had muttered out December before the flood happened. She tells me not to regret that I had not seen them in a long while. That she was the same with her mother. That life is continuing to get in the way. My mom begins to chime in at this point. "Oh no, Stephie, it's not your fault. You were starting your new job and we had all those trips and Dad didn't want you to come down here. He didn't want you to see him when he wasn't feeling like himself."
Amazingly, this didn't really help. And, this is one portion of the mourning process I have been having the hardest time with. I know I shouldn't regret and be thankful for all the times I did get to see him - see him in good health, etc. But, that damn regret. Just keeps coming back.
Well, I am able, at this point to tell my brain that I can't regret and I stop crying. Of course I have to go blown my nose and wash my hands - again. I find this a little funny. For a man who is about to die, we sure are worried about germs.
Then, the men come to remove the machines. We went outside. The chaplin waits with us. Then we are allowed back in. All the tubes are gone. He is just laying there. His heart is still beating. His diaphram is desperately trying to move on it's own. He's got a quivering belly. We all stand around him (Mom, the nurse, the chaplin and me) and she says a pray. I don't even remember what she said, but I remember it being nice.
Then the nurse left. Then the chaplin had to leave and it was just me and my mom on either side of my dad. I was holding his hand. We were just watching him. I just kept praying, thinking, wishing. Come on Dad. You're stronger than this. Prove everyone wrong. Just wake up. Come on. You can do it. Then I remembered his phrases when coaching me - I would fall down and hurt myslef or I was sick or I ever so often said "I couldn't do it." He would tell me to "walk it off" or "you're not that sick, let's get you moving around" or "can't couldn't ever do anything." My father's phrases to me, now running through my head to him.
His belly's quivering was slowing down. There were now, what looked like, small gasps. I looked down at the hand I was holding. His fingernails began to turn purple. It's happening. He's going.
Then, his hand gripped mine and his head started to move. What?!?!? What was going on? And then, his head moved to the side and his eyes began to open. My mom and I jumped up. Me saying "Daddy" and she saying "Ron we're here." Then, I realized, this wasn't him waking up. This was his leaving. So, I said - "It's OK Dad, relax, let go, I'll take care of mom, just let go. We love you. Goodbye Dad, goodbye." Then his mouth made a movement as if to say something and that was it.
Then, came the not so pleasant part - well, as if this had been pleasant at all. He started to slightly convulse. Then stopped moving. His heart, still beating. One eye slightly open. My mom and I sat back down. His skin began to change to a yellowish color. But, his heart just kept on pumping.
Then, the heart began to slow down. The only thing I could think of was - well, at least they fixed his heart - it stayed beating and going the longest. Then, the other nurse came in and said, "I am sorry for your loss." I said thank you and began to stand up. This of course confused my mother and said, oh thank you and then just sat there and then she looked at me to the nurse and said - oh, is it over? The nurse said yes. My mother said alright and walked out of the room.
I let go of my dad's hand, but then realized that he was still holding mine. I undid his grip and flatten his hand out on the bed. Then I went up to his head, closed his mouth and the one eye that was still opened. Then kissed my hand and put it to his forehead and said my final goodbye.
My mom then went back in after me to say her final goodbye.
Then, we came out and began the discussion that would continue the rest of the week. What next.
And, I realized that I had experienced, to this date, one of the most beautiful momments of my life. However hard. I was with my dad when he left this world.