Posted by Kitty Sharkey , Monday, March 5, 2012 4:41 PM
It's 4 PM on Monday March 5th, 2012, and I'm sitting in my Mom's recliner in her apartment up in Arlington, Washington, while staring at this big fella. Why?
Rewind the clock by about 3 or 4 weeks. As you might be able to tell from the counter behind and the chair beside this Papa Bear, my Mom at 86 is rather fond of stuffed animals. They are all over the apartment. So my father decided to buy her this HUGE teddy bear for Valentines Day. He said he wanted to give her something special. This guy is quite literally 4-1/2 or 5 feet tall. He's super soft and cuddly and extremely hug-able. Mom loves him!
Fast forward to today. Why am I in my mom's recliner? Because I got sent home from the hospital to try and get a little rest. We're all taking turns, you see.
Saturday in the middle of the night, my father had a massive stroke followed by several seizures. No, this was not unexpected. He'd be 91 in April. We thought we were going to lose him about 6 years ago, and then again 3 years ago. Both times he pulled through. But this time? No. He's hanging on right now. But the pneumonia has settled in so it's only a matter of time. Mentally, I believe my father is already gone. But I sit by his bedside and hold his hand and talk with my Mom or my sisters or whoever is visiting. I'm thankful to be by his side.
This morning, my Mom was in a bit of a fog and exhausted. She decided she wanted me to take her home (literally 3 minutes away) so she could shower and change her clothes. That's when I met "the bear". Yes, I gave it a huge hug. Why? Well, if you were in it's presence you would have to as well. It's just sort of necessary somehow. He beckons to you for a hug.
I think Mom needed a break, mentally, physically, and emotionally. After a shower and a little rest, she was in better spirits and felt better able to deal with the hospital. So we went back. Her best friend is by her side and Mom seems much more comfortable and pulled together than she was earlier today.
Dad is sleeping with an oxygen mask to help him breathe. He has a DNR, so we're keeping him as comfortable as possible. He has just enough pain medication to ease his pain, but not enough to dope him up. My hope is that his breathing will just become slower and he will pass peacefully in his sleep.
Me? I'm running on straight adrenaline. So that's why I've got my laptop and a glass of wine. It's the way I unwind. I needed to talk with a few friends and center myself again. I'll probably lay down and try to nap once I finish this post.
But back to the bear. Somehow, sitting here staring at this big fella, I wonder if in my Father's heart he somehow knew that his time was near. I imagine when it's all said and done, the bear will take up residence in my Daddy's recliner right next to hers. He'll keep her company and remind her of his love for her. Personally, I can't think of a more appropriate parting gift.
Oh, and yesterday? He was responding to her voice by looking her way. And he was mentally aware enough to pucker up and give her a little kiss goodbye. It's amazing that he could muster up the where with all for that final show of affection.
Me? Once I've rested I'll head back to the hospital. I'm going to take one of my fathers books with me and read to him. It just seems right somehow. If you've seen my garage that I converted to hold his library, then you'll understand.
Anne McCaffrey was his favorite author. I just went to his book shelf, and Lyon's Pride was sitting there on it's side. Yes, I think perhaps that will do. A nice evening reading to my father. Now if I could only sneak my glass of wine into the hospital with me.