Hello again! Everyone has gone to bed for the night, so I’m taking another minute to finish what I started in the Harvest Party post. I told you I’d tell you how it went from my perspective…so here it is.
About three months ago my father was all of a sudden very ill. He was quickly diagnosed as having renal cancer which had started in his kidney and spread to his spine already. It wasn’t long before he was unable to leave the hospital. It spread just as quickly to his lymph nodes and colon.
The morning of the party my sister called to let me know that there would be no more effort to keep him alive. They didn’t know if it would be hours, days…months. I knew. I hated that I knew but I did.
I drive an SUV that earlier that morning I wondered if it would get me home. It was making some crazy drive train whiny sound. I wondered if it would even get me back out to the school that afternoon. It was not going to make the trip to the hospital an hour and twenty minutes away (if the traffic was good), so I would need my husbands truck which is lifted and not a real joy in a parking garage. So what to do?
I called my mommy. She helped me iron out the details as best she could. My five month old that was supposed to stay a few hours with my in-laws for the party would just have to go with me. Once my mother got off work she would get my sister’s girls to the hospital (my sister was already there) then she would either go to the school to help me (an hour drive north for her), or if later would meet me wherever I was on the road toward there and take my big truck with the twins (they’re five…I really didn’t know how they’d do seeing him at his end…) while myself, my husband, my oldest son and the baby would take her car on in to the hospital. Geese, I was wore out before I even started.
I really felt I needed to at least start the parties. I had all the games and my sixth graders were going to need a bit of direction. There was one seasoned room parent in our kindergarten class, but she had other classes, too, leaving three (proven to be better than me) first time classroom moms. My kids were so excited because they helped put it all together. I couldn’t really get the car any earlier anyway and like they said…it could be weeks. Not knowing a timeline I just told me husband to meet me there at the end.
I’m a planner by nature. Like make a list of all my lists kind of planning. For once I was gonna have to just go with it…uggg.
So I put on my happy party face and went to the school. Everything was good…then my mommy walked in. Yes, I am thirty-five years old and calling her mommy b/c when she walked in that’s exactly what I said. Then I instantly started crying.
I remember breaking my arm at a birthday party when I was a little girl. I never cried once for over an hour until I got to my mother. I don’t even understand why it happens, but it’s an overwhelming moment of understanding and relief.
The moms in the room were quite stunned at my behavior. It didn’t last long, just long enough for me to look insane.
My parents have been divorced for twenty years, but my mother has done everything she can to get my sister and I through this and it’s been hard on her, too. My problem being hers, she asked her husband (my step-dad) to get my sister’s girls down there so that she could help me. For probably the first fifteen years, until he remarried, my dad always went to my mom’s house with us girls for holidays, birthdays and whatever just to make it easier on us, so it’s not like my step-dad and him had bad blood or something. It’s just wonderful to have that extension around you that will stop what they are doing to do what you need.
Unfortunately they gave him a medication that basically put him into a coma. He did open his eyes and look at me. He looked at my kids that were there then at my husband. Then at me. Then at my husband, then at me and went back to sleep. It was so intentional that I wish I knew what he was trying to tell me. Other than that he slept.
The visit before I had said my goodbye, basically. I was able to speak to him. We said we loved each other. I was just really sad to see him but not have just one more moment.
I feel even worse for my sister. My family obviously agreed to give him something to make it more comfortable for him but they didn’t know it would send him completely in a coma-like state. The nurse administered it then casually announced that they had had their last conversations with him. My sister knew I was coming and wished I could have spoken to him first, but to be in the room with him already and not have a warning that you better say what needs said…the hospital should handle that differently.
Our relationship was…complex.
My husband has always said that our biggest problem is that we’re the same person, just opposite genders and twenty-five years apart.
You know…exactly the same.
I think what he meant was we are both equally bull-headed.
Anyway, for a few years it was hairy. Not fighting all the time, just not talking at all. Then this past year we starting to find our way back. We needed to meet in the middle if we didn’t want the same circumstances over and over forever. I really thought we were there.
If I’d known.
Who thinks that their dad will be gone at 60?
I just didn’t know.
He died in the middle of the night after that last time I saw him.
So the party has felt like a pretty small drop of what I’ve thought about and I’m glad I got it posted b/c I feel overwhelmed when I know I’ve got things I want to get done (the importance of those things doesn’t make a difference to it adding to the mental pile). But this is where my head and heart have been…a broken pile in the corner.