since we started our blog i don’t think we’ve ever gone nearly 2 months without posting something so i thought i should let those of you who don’t already know what happened, know what happened.
shortly after our anniversary we were told that kim’s dad, who had battling cancer and an ever weakening heart, was given only weeks to live. we literally dropped everything we were doing and spent every possible moment by his side for the following days.
they were some of the most difficult days in all of our lives.
wanting to be in his own home and on his own terms, pops chose home hospice over a hospital room. he never did like being in hospitals, or going to see a doctor for that matter. i’m not sure if it was just his thick skull or the fact that he had the highest pain threshold of anyone i have ever known. either way, it was his stubbornness to see a doctor when his symptoms first began that led directly to his prostate cancer being inoperable. what is it about that generation and their fear of hospitals? my dad is the same way. ( putting soapbox away now. )
i have to say it was a bit surreal watching pops’ bedroom being turned into a makeshift hospital room. they brought in a motorized bed, a wheelchair, an oxygen machine, and various other supplies, all of which were meant to offer some measurable amount of comfort during his final days.
pops was ok for the first few days… walking around his house with a walker, talking with everyone, eating, watching movies. but then his illness began to progress faster than any of us could possibly prepare for it. we could see him weakening almost by the hour. one day he stopped eating, the next he stopped walking, then he stopped drinking. within a span of 4 days he was bed ridden and unable to speak or open his eyes. offering all the love and support we possibly could, we watched helplessly as he endured unimaginable pain. the last day he spoke was the hardest for us to witness. it was terrible seeing him in that much pain. although his body and mind were physically shutting down, his will to live was not.
he fought death as if it were a choice.
whenever he would lay down the pain in his spine was so intense that he would grasp the handrail on his bed and pull himself back upright to sit on the edge of the bed. he did this repeatedly, so much so that he wore small tears in the paper thin flesh on his right arm. all of our efforts did little to comfort him. ultimately, pain gave way to sheer exhaustion. having no strength left, a sort of serenity took over his body. for nearly 2 days his body was still, the only movement he made was the rise and fall of his chest with every labored breath. the only sounds in his room were the humming of an oxygen machine, and his ever worsening “death rattle.”
the last day i spent with him i played some of his favorite old country and bluegrass music. at the end of “El Paso”, one of his favorite songs, i saw his eyelids rise as if to follow the pitch of the song. i said my goodbyes to him a few songs after that. later that night he left us.
obviously, kim and i, along with the rest of his family have taken his passing extremely hard. of all of our parents, he was the first to pass. every day since then has had it’s ups and downs. it has definitely been a learning experience. we are slowly trying to get everything back to as normal as possible. we do apologize for neglecting our communications and we are extremely grateful for all the support and understanding you all have given us during this extremely difficult time. thank you so much for all of your love and prayers. you mean more to us than we can possibly express. we feel very blessed to know you all.
i’ll be posting more about pops soon, but i wanted to get this up just so everyone would know what’s been going on.
until then, here’s one of our favorite shots of pops. he’s walking with his mom after he graduated from Navy boot camp in san diego. we love the vintage cracker jacks Navy dress blue uniform! we know he’s probably smiling this same smile now that he is walking with his mom again. we miss you dad and grandma.
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