A Sign

You know that thing people say when someone close to them dies - that they can FEEL the presence of their departed loved one all around them? That they know he/she is watching over them? Their guardian angel?

What a bunch of crap.

Maybe I should try to put that more delicately... What a bunch of wishful thinking. It ranks right up there with, "I know we'll see each other again." I can't decide if that's an incredibly pleasant and comforting way to think, or if it's just childish and pathetic.

I try to feel my dad's presence. I get nothing. Zilch. Zip. Nada. And if there's anyone's presence I should be able to feel, it's his. I even asked him to give me sign -- anything at all -- to let me know he is still with me.

The closest I came was when I was doing laundry and couldn't find a sock I'd washed. (One of Dad's old GoldToe black socks that my son needed to wear to the memorial service. Kids these days don't own black socks - at least, mine doesn't.)

I looked for that sock everywhere. Not in the dryer; it's empty. I checked twice. Not stuck to any other clothes; I checked them all twice. Not still in the washer. I checked twice. Not on the floor. I checked everywhere. Twice. So, I gave up.

I did another load of laundry and when I opened the dryer to put the clothes in, there was the sock - the heretofore mysteriously missing, nice, clean, fluffy, dry sock. Ta da!!! There you have it; clearly a sign. (Not a sign of a desperate mind... a sign from my dad, of course.) "Yes, doubting daughter. I am here watching over you and you CAN feel my presence. See??? Here's my sock. Proof!"

Either that, or the sock was snagged on the top of the dryer barrel when I'd looked for it earlier (did I mention I looked twice?) and it fell down in the interim.

Hard to say. Though I suspect if Dad were going to give me a sign he wouldn't use the age-old "missing sock" trick. It would be something much more dramatic - like maybe an apparition standing in the doorway holding a fishing rod, or a bottle of Tanqueray Gin appearing on the kitchen counter, or a lengthy conversation in a dream.

I'd like that.


I Had a Purpose

In the beginning, I could bring him back. It was only temporary, but it was possible. I could spark a memory. I could make him laugh. We talked for hours. I took him places. He still engaged. I could distract him from his dismal existence.

Eventually all I could accomplish was getting him to smile. I talked; he tried. I read to him. I fed him, washed his face, cleaned him up, and sat with him until he fell asleep in his chair.

In the end, I was just there. I'd like to think he took comfort from my presence, but that's only wishful thinking. He didn't know who the hell I was and he no longer smiled. My visits meant nothing to him; I couldn't alleviate his torment; he was anxious and angry. I went to see him less often when I undoubtedly should have gone to see him more. Maybe my visits weren't pointless. Maybe he was even worse when I wasn't there. I'm sorry, Dad.

Once upon a time I had a purpose. I eased his mind. Then I was utterly worthless. Then he died.

-The End.


So This is Grief

I'm not sure how to describe this feeling. I don't know if it's physical or mental - this unwelcome malaise. It feels like I'm coming down with something. I haven't been to a doctor in ages - maybe there's something wrong with me. Or maybe this is plain old garden-variety exhaustion from not sleeping. Or maybe, just maybe, this is how I will feel for the rest of my life.

I understand death; I knew my father would die. I just didn't expect part of me die along with him.

So this is grief.

Does the fog ever lift, or do you simply get used to it?


The End

My father died today.

I'm surprised the earth is still spinning. I'm surprised the sun is still shining. I'm surprised his death didn't cause a rip in the space-time continuum and destroy the universe.

It seems as though there should be some sort of acknowledgment by the world that my father is dead, but as far as I can tell the only thing that has changed is me. Half of me is missing. Does that ever come back? I doubt it. I think you must just grow accustomed to being empty. The problem is that the emptiness fills with sadness.

I will never see him again. I will never hear his voice again. I will never be his daughter again. I will never matter to anyone the way I mattered to him again.

He was everything to me. I don't know who I am without him.

I suppose the sun will rise tomorrow and life will go on - same old, same old. How can that possibly be?

It can't.

Nothing will ever be the same again.


My Father is Dying

My father is dying. I think it's just a matter of days. I sit next to his bed and watch him breathe. That's it. I am of no use to him whatsoever. None.

We are hyper-alert to any grimace or moan. (More morphine, please.) We will NOT allow him to suffer. (More morphine, please.) Our father MUST NOT be permitted to experience even one second of pain. (More morphine, please.)

They bring the dose up too slowly. Apparently conventional wisdom says it's better to approach this cautiously over a period of a few days. "Yes, clearly he's experiencing pain. We'll give him a little more and wait to see if that stops it." It doesn't. They try a little more. Nope; he's still groaning and calling out for it to end: "I can't do this. Please help me."

We're trying, Dad.

I suppose the fear is if they give him too much he might die. One must never hasten a suffering man's inevitable death. Much better to drag out that death and let him languish a few days longer until we find the minimal amount of medication needed to stop any sign of pain or torment. Then let's let him lie there a few more days beyond that while his organs slowly shut down until he finally draws his last breath. Under no circumstances should he be given so much medication it might end his life before he has suffered through every last second of it.

It's too bad he's not a dog. A vet would never permit him to endure this prolonged, agonizingly slow death.

How fucked up is that?

Copyright © 2010 OnMyMind.Net. All rights reserved.