Monday, August 9, 2010


My father has been seeing things. I'm not sure if they are intense dreams or hallucinations. The dreams are very real to him. I'm learning to go with the flow, instead of state the obvious.

The Hospice Butterfly Book says:
"He or she may claim to see or have seen places not presently accessible or visible to you. This does not indicate a hallucination or drug reaction. The person is beginning to detach from this life and is preparing for the change so it will bot be frightening. Do not contradict, explain away, belittle or argue about what the person claims to have seen or heard. Just because you cannot see or hear does not mean it is not real to your loved one. Affirm these experiences. They are normal and common. If they frighten your loved one, explain that they are normal."

Dad woke up this morning around 6am looking for the remote to turn off the TV. I could see that it was not on and had not been on since 11 last night. There was also no radio playing, though Dad was pretty sure he heard a children's choir singing.

At first I assured him there was no choir. Then I said maybe it was angels singing - giving him a foretaste of what heaven would be like.

"God, no," he responded. "It's horrible. It's nothing but a cacophony, not music."
Hmmm. I wonder what he was hearing.

After a pee and a pain pill, he settled back down but kept talking about turning the noise off.
Then he told me about some men in red flannel Dutch Boy pants and caps. They had handed him a piece of paper and told him to hold it. For how long he didn't know. Finally, he tossed the paper away only to find that it stuck to his fingers.

I asked about the men. They weren't saying anything, just standing there. He did not recognize them. He felt they were checking to see if he was trustworthy. He held on to the paper. A little while later with a swoosh of his hand he pushed them all off the bed, or out of his vision. And with that the men were gone.

Since Dad and I were talking about what he saw, I knew he wasn't asleep. I was sitting behind him so I couldn't see, but he said his eyes were open. It was a weird experience for both of us. Then we both fell asleep as if nothing had happened.

When he woke up, he was my same old, organized and let's-have-a-new-plan-for-my-daily-dose-of-laxative Dad.

When the confusion of the morning was over I got to spend some Mary time in the pool. I did a couple laps. Mostly It just floated on the current, around the perimeter of the pool. Looking up, I watched a layer of clouds glide on a current of air as if imitating my lazy circles. The birds were coming back to the feeders that I just re-filled and a few brave squirrels leaped from tree limb to tree limb to scarf up the seeds that were dropped on the pool deck.

As I relaxed I became aware of the current of life. We often go about our busy-ness without really tuning into the natural rhythm of things. We hurry here and there, get behind in tasks we feel are important, forget to listen to our body's need for rest or food. Sometimes we slow down to the point of sluggishness. But when we "let go" of all that, when we let ourselves move to the beat of our own drummer, we often glide through the course of our day.

I wonder if dying is like that, too. I'm sure there must be an element of fear in the dying process. Fear and denial, and anger. All those emotions that are so much a part of grief. It makes sense to me that it is not only those left behind that grieve, but also the one who is departing. Even if that person has a great faith and belief that being on the other side will be Paradise, it is only human to want to hold tight to life. Things known are always more comfortable than things unknown.

Like my Dad holding on to the sticky paper from the men in the red pants. He wasn't even aware that his hand was balled up in a tight fist. Once the men were gone, Dad opened his hand. His the tension he'd been feeling seemed to leave him too. He fell asleep on a current of calm surrender. Is that how it will be in the final stages of his life. When he is able to give up his still tenacious need for control, will he relax and cross over to the place where my mother waits with arms outstretched?

I'm not really sure about this all this stuff. I'm just trying to go with the flow.

Wishing you a peaceful journey,
Merry Me


Molly said...

Love this post. And love the sunflower photo up top.

Love the card from you- the ladies on the front are a hoot. I wrote you this wonderful, thoughtful card in return, and when I got to the office couldn't find the card. Ay carumba. New card tonight.

Pamela Jones said...

Picturing you drifting along in a tube, watching the films that play along the way. Just keep breathing and loving. You are such a good daughter!

AkasaWolfSong said...

My goodness I remember those hallucinatory days Dad had a doorstop in the shape of a lion and he was always telling the lion to stop roaring and go lay down. It was funny! It was sad!

I am going to try and look for a postcard from my town? I don't know if we have any as I've never seen one but will give it the old good try, lol.

When my cousin was on her deathbed she was very afraid to let go and her minister said, Lois, remember when you were a young child and you'd wake up in the morning to find yourself in your own bed, covered up and safe?
She replied yes. The minister told her it is like that with crossing over...Mother/Father God gently pick you up and carry you've nothing to fear. You wake up on the Other Side to be met by your loved ones. I loved that story then, and still do.

Wishing for you many days of lazing in the pool and vacations to come beside clear waters!

Blessings Mary!!!
P.S. I received your lovely card!
Thank You! :)

paradox said...

Thank you for this post. It stirred up memories...big ones...first experience ones.

My Beba and Tatu had been together since they were 15 in Cuba. I get all warm and hopeful whenever I find a picture of them together...the passion comes flying outta the picture in to my hands.

When my Tatu died, my family in Puerto Rico said they couldn't handle the "responsibility" of Beba. My Mom brought her to NJ. It was sooo hard. All these changes for my Beba...her husband, her home of 40 yrs...the PR family gone. So much loss/imbalance.

My Beba mentally disappeared. She would NOT accept that Tatu had died. We tried to tell her, show her evidence, let her call. She'd grab the phone...we would ALL cry reliving it 3x/day. one day, I decided that I'd just live in her heart for a while. I set up tent in her soul and looked up into her mind and traveled all through there..and when I came back out I screamed...
"Hey guys!! Tatu IS here" and my Beba smiled. I told her Tatu was just busy at work.

We stopped explaining his death to her and from that point on,
she'd wake up and saying "Wow, Mario got home so late last night..we hardly got to cuddle"

She'd tell us how loud he snored and it kept her up. We would hear her talk to him at night. and...Get even told my Mom and I about them having sex that night. OMG my cheeks were so red.

These were the only two years I spent living near my Beba (and Tatu).

Mary, I've only experienced this "loved one dying" time once in my life. I can't claim to think what it's like for you...I know my Mom had a hard time. But thank you for helping me remember the love I learned from that time. I TOTALLY agree with Pam that you are a wonderful daughter.