Go rest high on that mountainSon, your work on earth is done Go to heaven ashouting Love for the Father and the Son

VINCE GILL Go Rest High on that Mountain

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(Thursday)

Phyllis amd Kathleen have been singing to him since 4am. He sleeps, wakes and looks around, and seems to be in little pain. We kept a quiet and tearful vigil ovenight, stirring everyone at 3:30 when the end appeared close at hand. It's 6:20 now.

A few are back to sleep, quietly snuffling in uncomfortable chairs. After twelve hours any chair is uncomfortable.

Kathleen found some of Grandma's holy cards. We talked about Skip. Before dinner last night the son of old dear friends stopped to visit. Dad woke and mouthed "Oh- Larry!" He's been quiet since then. We had a brief moment later in the evening during the window of time when the morphine blocks pain but doesn't rob lucidity. We talked- well, more I talked and imagined his answers. I said goodbye, and so did he.

...8 am

Nothing has changed. Phyllis is still singing her lullabyes. Everyone else is sound asleep.

It seems wrong that the television isn't on...

...11 am

Hospice nurse is here. She tied off the drainage tube which hadn't drained anything in over a day. Dad is a bit more comfortable, but the disease process is making his blood toxic. I'm beginning to understand how tentative a word like comfort is.

Kathleen and Phyllis have been tireless attendants. Kathleen has the uneviable task of trying to balance a career in nursing with being a daughter. Phyllis pets and coos and reassures. Kathleen is a saint, Phyllis an angel. Its really a question of semantics...

My mother is prepared to let him go, as are we all. Her only concern is that he feel no pain. She prays to take it on herself.

Everyone is fed, a thousand cups of coffee poured and left undrunk. Mother is praying to Saint Anthony to ease the pain.

...12 pm

The hospital bed has just arrived...

Dad is more comfortable in the bed, but he's completely unresponsive now. The hospice nurse told mom she could get into bed with him. You should warn people before you say things like that....

Throughout this entire process my dad made only a single demand- he made it clear that he wants someone to hold his hand.

... 6 pm

It was a good aftenoon. It turns out that food and sleep are essentials, and brownies and coffee. regardless of their virtues, arent enough. Karl, Kevin, Phyllis, and I went to the store in search of a three-way lightbulb. It took an hour. And a half. I finally realized that I'm in Florida. They have palm trees here.

The end will come when it comes, whether I'm here or not. So tomorrow I head home. I miss Paula so much it aches. I've said my goodnight. Dad is gone. Only this breathing machine remains. It looks just like my dad.

Karl is cooking again tonite. Pork. Cooked in pork. I love German food.

I think we're done. Kathleen is holding his hand...

(Friday)

Death will come, and will end life as I imagine most life begins. With some small complaint but no real objection. And never according to any schedule other than its own. My mother will kiss her lover on the forehead and whisper something to him that no one else will hear. Nor was meant to hear.

I will not argue with inevitability...

 

(addendum)

death did come, at 1:53 pm.  Good night Dad...

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