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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Can losses be added or only subtracted?

My sisters, brother-in-law, and I met with Hospice at Erlanger North today. Because of Dad's condition they are approving him for crisis care. This means that he will have someone with him 20 hours a day. Due to the fact that he can no longer eat or drink and we have opted out of a feeding tube, they are estimating he will only live about two more weeks. The feeding tube decision was more about what he would want although I don't want to see him like he is any longer than it has to be. The Marvin Graves I have always known would hate being unable to function. This leaves us with the option of drugging him and letting him sleep the rest of his life or letting him toss around, unable to communicate, with us not knowing whether he is in pain, or hungry, or thirsty. Even now, with his body so weakened, he tried to throw his legs over the side of the bed. His eyes were still closed but he is so used to moving he does it almost automatically. We will continue to have to make choices but for now we have chosen to medicate him in the hopes that he will not be uncomfortable. There is no good decision. As much as it pains me to lose my Dad, I hope God takes him home soon. No one ought to have to be subjected to the loss of dignity. Especially not my proud, handsome, smart father. The nurse said she will call if his respiration changes. That will be the sign that his passing is imminent. So now, everytime my cell phone buzzes I will have to wonder if this is it.

This leaves us waiting having to decide what to do about a funeral, again. One suggestion was a private funeral but we all felt that in the long run that wouldn't do Dad's life justice. We certainly are proud of the life he led. It isn't his fault Mom just died. It seems like the best solutinon for now but I know I would regret it later. I will certainly understand if people do not want to drive over and do the funeral thing again. I know I don't want to. But I will. I find much of my days are about what I don't want to do.

We are going through Mom's things now. We have to move her out as soon as possible. So, we are having to decide who gets what childhood memory. It is a delicate process as each of us tries to make sure we have something precious while not causing anyone else distress. So far, the couch is beginning to fill with items we will need to draw for because we all want them. None of these things are mom or dad and yet they are the only tangable things we will have from our lives with them, besides each other. Not one thing in that apartment is worth my relationship with my sisters. I try to keep that in mind as I look at this picture or that piece of jewelry or antique. Dad said in his letter to Mom that if he lost everything and still had her by his side he would consider himself lucky. I want to put my peace in God and people not things. Which doesn't mean there aren't times when I desperately want one thing or another thinking it gives me a link to Mom and Dad that outlasts the grave. It seems like it is harder to get out of bed each morning. I know I can and I know I will because people depend on me but it would be nice to just lay there for a day with no crisis. I wonder when or if that time will come?

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