Update. Again.

I’ve wanted to start an entry dozens of times in the last two weeks, but I could never figure out how. It would always start with something like, “Dad’s still alive…” and that just seems – weird. Weird because it’s so crass. Weird because it may warrant well wishes like, “Great!” And then what do I say? “Yeah…kinda great…kinda awful since he has made the decision to die and he wants it over already.” We find ourselves in a strange holding pattern where we wait for death to come to our small – but close – family. It’s a very surreal position to be in that seems to hold no precedents or social protocols that I’m aware of.

But I want to talk about it a bit. So here I am.

Dad’s still alive. I was in Knoxville for 10 days preparing for his death. He is in a hospice facility and can coach us as to how to deal with his belongings and what to prepare for his funeral. We did that for a week. Those things were done and then I found myself needing to be home for my job and my family. So, I’m in Alabama while my brother is still in Tennessee with my Dad.

And still I’m waiting.

I’m sure the months of processing of these situations will lead to entries upon entries about death and dying. But today? I’m thinking a lot about choices. We’ve been making a lot of choices as a family and as individuals in the last two weeks. And you know how the typical situation of choices asks you to weigh Pros and Cons? I’ve realized that when both choices have extreme elements of sucktitude – you find yourself comparing Worse Case Scenarios instead. Choice A and Choice B probably have no pros. Or none worth listing. So, you find yourself imagining the Worse Case Scenario for each choice, and then picking the one you could live with more.

We have no idea what the time line is with this situation. Every time my phone rings with the Knoxville area code I wonder if this is the call. But then, I find myself also confident I’ll see my Dad again before he dies.

Either way – this whole situation sucks. I would love to go into all of the details as to why it sucks, but I’ll save that. Just know it sucks in MANY MANY WAYS. My brother and I were raised by my Dad. He’s amazing in ways I can’t even spell out without losing my shit. I know life’s not fair, and sometimes life sucks. But if there is one person in the world who does NOT deserve this method of death? It’s my Dad. And I want to punch someone in the face for that. Unfortunately, I’ve found no volunteers yet.

I’ll end this on a positive note. The Hospice Care world is new to me. I have no idea how what we’re experiencing compares to everyone else. Dad is in a hospice care facility that is the most amazing place I’ve every seen. It’s staffed with great nurses and the facility is gorgeous. He has said repeatedly that he could not have picked a nicer place to die. So for that? For that small thing right now? I’m placing a lot of gratitude.

72 thoughts on “Update. Again.”

  1. I hope you get to see your Dad again, but if you don’t, he knows you love him and wish you could be there with him. Keeping you and your Dad in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. I totally understand how you feel. I stayed with my father while he died of lymphoma. However, he was in a hospital the whole time (Helen Keller in Tuscumbia).

    Like you said, the whole thing suck, and there’s not a goddamned thing you can do, except be there with him as much as you can. And don’t beat yourself up about having to go back to your job & family. Your father, like mine, understands and he probably doesn’t want to be any trouble (which is what my Dad would say to me each day I was with him).

    Take care of yourself; this is going to be one of those tough times you’ve always heard about. However, you’re a strong person (though you sometimes think you’re not), and you will get through this.

    I’ll keep you & your family in my thoughts.

  3. I was going to say that this sounds so surreal, but then I saw you already used that word. It sounds like it wouldn’t feel real. Oh, or I guess that’s what surreal means.

  4. Just let me brace myself and you can punch me. The unfairness of life is just too much sometimes.

  5. I’m sorry that you’re facing this but thankful that you have such a wonderful family. Take advantage of what hospice has to offer. They are there as much for the family as for the patient.

  6. I was just thinking about you this morning (I won’t tell you that it was when I was trying to go back to sleep after being awakened by my puking dog at 3 am. Wait–I just did). I’m so sorry you are in this horrible position. You and your entire family will remain in my thoughts and prayers, Kim.

  7. Yeah, if I wasn’t on the west coast I’d volunteer for a punch too. It’s the least I can do for you letting us into your lives for so long. I’m so sorry about your dad, and I hope you get to spend some more time with him. I guess it’s good to look for the silver lining when life sucks, and I’m glad his hospice place is so good.

  8. I really hope you get to see your dad again Kim. I wish I could hug you right now. My grandma passed in August after having in home hospice care for a few months. The nurses were AMAZING for her and my grandpa. *hugs* I am so glad he seems “at peace” with the situation and that he is happy about where he is staying right now. Take care and you guys are in my thoughts ?

  9. Oh, Zoot, I’m so sorry again. Still sending prayers and thoughts daily – I’ve been checking on you guys.

    Your dad sounds like a strong and empowered man, for doing this HIS way. What a blessing that you know he’s getting what he wants, and is as at peace as possible.

    Praying for you. I’d take that punch for you if it would make this any easier.

  10. Everyone, everywhere who works in hospice is a saint. I watched the nurses, doctors, aides, orderlies, assistants, counselors, etc. when my sister was dying. They were beyond kind, and competant, with her and with all of us, despite some stressful family dynamics. I don’t know how they do it, and I don’t know what draws them to that type of work, but I will be eternally grateful to each and every one of them.

    Wishing all of you peace.

  11. I imagine it’s a very weird time for you. I’ll say again that I’m sorry, but I’m glad you have this time )as painful as it must be) with your dad. I’m glad you have time to say goodbye, because as hard as this is, it’s even harder when you don’t. I’m thinking of you and yours, and I’ll stop there before I end up bawling at my desk.

  12. Nothing to say really except thank you for updating. I know it’s hard, the waiting and nothing can be said. Still thinking of you all daily. Take care.

  13. I’m praying for you guys! Keep doing what you feel is right in your heart. Stay strong and know your Dad is receiving the best care out there. God Bless!

  14. Zoot,
    You are facing a tough time right now. I’ve come to the conclusion that death sucks. In the last 6 years I’ve lost my mother to a slow death, a brother to an unexpected death and my fater of an unexpected death. With my mom, I had the chance to tell her how much I loved her, not so much with my bother and father. It’s hard, either way. Treasure this time you have left with your father, it can be a tender memory somewhere down the road. I have checked your site daily, waiting for an update because I know how hard of a time it is for you. Hang in there. You are in my prayers.

  15. I have been checking constantly. It is one of the hardest things a person has to go through, not that I have gone through it, however my roommate and her family did over the past summer. It was a holding pattern. Last summer was rough. She spent all summer with her family in that waiting pattern. She came home in late July, just as I left to go to my grandfather’s funeral. The day I flew back, she was racing back to be with her dad, one day later he was gone. It was a lot to take in, it is very surreal. I am glad he is getting the rest and care that he needs, I am glad that you have gotten to spend the past few weeks with him. If you want to punch someone, punch Ouiser. We can sell tshirts.

  16. The right Hospice is wonderful…my uncle passed away at a hospice care facility this morning, right by the ocean with family and friends visiting when they could.

  17. I’m so sorry. I went through much the same scenario with my dad. It was an extremely difficult, exhausting time. And, even though I knew what the outcome was going to be, it was too surreal to fully come to grips with while it was happening.

    I wish you and your family strength, peace and resilience.

  18. I’m glad you have spent so much time with him. My Dad passed away this morning. I live at a distance and made a trip last weekend to be with him one last time. So glad I did.

  19. This situation does suck. I’m sorry that you and your family are going through such a difficult time. Hospice is wonderful. They are really great at making this terrible time as tolerable as it can be. You are in my prayers.

  20. So sorry to hear about your dad. I know this is such a trying time for you. My heart goes out to you.

  21. I love hospice. My grandmother was under hospice care when she died. They could not have been better for her, for us. I am so sorry that you are having to go through this. I will continue to keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  22. Thinking of you lots, Zoot; words fail me. Nothing makes this any easier, I’m glad he seems at least at ease with everything.

  23. As a preacher’s kid, I’ve watched my dad visit with lots of people in hospice, and the waiting is TERRIBLE. Our prayers our with you.

  24. Hey there. I’ve been constantly thinking of you and your dad. I didn’t know him, but I know that he raised you and your brother so I’m certain that this is terribly difficult for you all. Your dad is in my thoughts, prayers, etc. and so are you. I hope that there is at least some comfort in that…I try really hard to have a shred of faith during times like these…

  25. Oh, Kim, this is heartbreaking. Like many of your other commenters, I hope that you get to see your dad again. I can’t decide what’s worse: having some notice that your dad is dying or having it happen all of the sudden. In my case, my dad went like that, of a heart attack on Christmas Day 2006. I asked my mom to hold the phone up to his ear while the paramedics were working on him, in hopes that he could somehow hear me and it would pull him back, but no. Enough about me: I’m so, so sorry that you have to go through this.

  26. Just wanted to tell you I’m thinking of you, and hate that your family is going through this.

    Hospice is a really good deal during a difficult time for the patient and family!

  27. I’ve been thinking of you and your dad lately, hoping everything was going as well as it could. I’ll continue to keep you all in my thoughts.

    Hospice was wonderful for my grandmother last year, and I’m amazed at the wonderful people who work there. I’m glad your dad is in a wonderful hospice too.

  28. In December 2004 my grandmother, sick with cancer had Hospice care in her home. I was her main family care-giver at the time because her children worked full time and I didn’t. Our Hospice experience was excellent. I am now a volunteer with a local chapter. Hospice for us, provided pallative care – pain relief and comforting techniques for my grandmother which allowed her the dignity of a peaceful love passing, surrounded, literally, by her three children and myself as she took her last breath. It was sad, it was horribly sad and I still feel the loss of her in many ways. Hospice showed me that death can be a delicate and beautiful part of life if you allow the person and the family time to say good bye and grieve in a place of comfort. It isn’t easy, by any means, but I’m glad you are finding support during this time. I hope your Dad spends his last days in as little pain as possible and surrounded by his loved ones.

    You and your family are in my thoughts.

  29. Anything you feel is the right way to feel, even if it seems crass. It’s OK.

    Fwiw, my mom was able to give us some warning when it was “time”, you’d be surprised at what goes on when a person’s dying. I’ll tell you a story sometime when we get a chance.

    Yes indeed, it does suck and it sucks largely.

    Just know you’re not alone. There are lots of us on the other side of this and though the club entrance requirements suck, it’s a good group and we’re here for you.

  30. Much love to you and your family, during a very difficult time. And I am so glad that Hospice is/has been a good experience for you. My grandfather had hospice and they were awesome. My mom (a nurse) was so moved by the experience that she now works for hospice.

  31. I am sorry and will keep you and your family in my thoughts. It’s just not fair, but life sometimes throws curve balls that hit you right in the gut without notice.

    Best wishes!

  32. I’m so sorry. I lost my Mom the week before Mother’s Day last year. It sucks, and there’s nothing anyone can say to make it not suck. Just know you’re allowed to feel the suckiness, and hate every second of it. I guess what I have learned most since then is that I have an amazing lifetime of memories to comfort me for the rest of the years I have to live without her. And that? That really does help.

    I wish peace for your Dad and your family.

  33. I really hope that you get to see your dad again.

    My mum works for a hospice, and my old workplace used to be their major sponsor. They have a wonderful caring enviroment, and I have heard nothing but great things about them.

    It must be really difficult knowing that he could go any time, but you just dont know when.

    My thoughts are with you and your family right now.

  34. I am sorry. I have no words of experience or of wisdom but I am thinking of you and your family. I have always got the feeling that your dad was an extraordinarily special guy from what you write in your blog.

  35. I always feel like I can’t leave a comment if all I’m going to say is “me too”, but I think that right now you should know that there are a lot of us out here who know how much it sucks and who are only thinking comforting thoughts for you and your family.

  36. Yes, waiting for someone you love to die sucks in the most horrific way possible. I’m so sorry! I pray that God sends you and your family His love and comfort to help you all through this difficult time.

  37. Adding some more hugs – sometimes hugs do more than words….


  38. You are constantly in my thoughts. I’m sorry you all have to go through this.

  39. I’m so sorry you are going through this. I’m glad you got to spend 10 days in Knoxville and I believe you will be able to see your dad before he passes. You and your family are in my thoughts/prayers every day.

  40. I hear ya about the hospice people. My mom died two weeks ago and if it weren’t for the hospice people I would have lost mah mind! They were always so calm and reassuring and they never said, not even once, “i know how you feel”. no one knows how you feel right now, but it does get better, i promise. hang in there, you are doing great!

  41. My heart goes out to you. I can’t imagine a more trying time, but take solace in the fact that your dad is doing this the way he wants, the best way possible, and that even though it SUCKS, at least he’s getting to dictate some of the terms and help you through it all. That speaks volumes about his character right there.

  42. Hang in there. Remember it’s your blog and if you need to vent this should be the place. I’ve seen lots of bloggers who always leave comments open close them for a while if they need to post but can’t have the feedback for a bit. Your true fans will understand.
    Hospice is an amazing service and I’m glad your family had their assistance during this terrible time.

  43. Kim, I’ve been thinking about you since your last post. Wondering how you are, how your dad is doing and wondering too what is going on. My heart goes out to you.

    Like many people here have commented, our family has gone through a loss like yours. My husbands younger brother passed away in Sept. of 07 of colon cancer. He died at home but had hospice coming daily to take care of him. They are amazing people. No one has ever had anything bad to say about them.

    I so wish I could hug you. I hate that your family has to deal with this, I know how close you all are. I’m so very sorry about all of this. Hugs sweetie. I am thinking of you.

  44. I am sending hugs your way.

    Hospices and the people who work in them are so amazing. They provide the best possible support and comfort at the worst possible time.

    I am in Ireland so cannot do anything for you but I will be making a donation to the local hospice on your dads behalf.

  45. I’m sure your father will rest eternally knowing he raised a daughter like you who is full of love for his grandchildren and her family. I am glad he is able to see the wonderful mother you are and will continue to be. He will live on through you and your beautiful family every day. So sorry for the heartache and pain.

  46. We say to our kids (young adults) sometimes “Life sucks and then you die.”

    I believe in that as a satirical positive statement, not a negative, but I’m not in a hurry to have it applied to me! Or my mom, or especially my dad. I don’t know what to say to you other than God bless, and you are blessed.

  47. I am so sorry. I’m keeping you in my prayers…

    And yes, hospice is amazing. The people who work in that kind of situation make me feel so good about humanity. 🙂

  48. My grandpa passed two weeks ago in hospice care, and I was so happy he was comfortable in his home, where he wanted to be, and not in a nursing home. Hospice care workers are a very wonderful type of people, whom I respect greatly! Sending you and your family many prayers and good thoughts at this time!

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