In a divinely orchestrated moment, I stayed calm and to my surprise and pleasure, un-argumentative. I think my calm voice and gentle demeanor helped me as much as it helped Dad.
I read to him from the Hospice Butterfly book which describes how the dying process works. How his body will begin to shut down. What he might expect. The book has been in the house for 18 months. I've read it more than once. I'm not sure Dad has read it at all. But that's neither here nor there. He got the message when he needed it. After awhile he was visibly calmer. He told me he was content because he knew what was coming. It's like his heart began to accept what his engineer's brain has been paying lip service to - that he's ready to go. In my vernacular, he's still straddling the line between this life and the next, but he is beginning to let go.
This morning, after a night's sleep, he's more like his old self. Like he knows his days are numbered so he has to get busy finishing things - clean the desk, find a flashlight, go through a box that has been under his desk for months. Things that don't seem too important to me, but need to be done to make him feel like he's doing something other than waiting.
Of course there is no way to know for sure, but I think my mom has been hovering around for the last couple of days. I have this feeling every now and then of her presence. One night as I turned down Dad's covers, like she used to do, I felt like she was there next to me. I had an instant desire to straighten the hospital corners on the bed! Last night, Dad looked like he was sound asleep. I was sitting in the chair next to the bed. He suddenly opened his eyes and asked me what was going on, who pulled at his arm. I'd just read in the Butterfly book that people who are dying dying sometimes see things. Do they feel them to? I had no doubt it was my Mom pulling on his arm. Probably she was just pulling up the covers, getting ready to kiss his cheek and whisper in his ear how she's looking forward to seeing him soon.
Maybe I should be sad. I'm sure the day will come when my heart cracks open. It's strange though, I have this sense of peace about me. I see life happening all around me and see my father's final hours as a part of that. To think that he'll be leaving us can't be too dismal when I think of the place he's going.
Wishing for you moments of contentment and acceptance,