Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Last Sunset

I’ve been hit in the gut – not with the flu – but with loss.

My father died unexpectedly Monday evening.

I feel deflated…and defeated.

Ironically, the most upbeat day in the 6 weeks he’s been in the hospital since his car accident was also his last. Everyone was excited that he was making such noticeable progress, and on the same day he was to die, he also got up with a walker for the first time. He was wheeled to the room where he would soon begin physical therapy in a wheelchair by my sister, Sherry, and my mother as everyone cheered him on. Did he take one look at the work-out equipment and figure (on some level) that he wasn’t up for the task? My husband, who has worked with Hospice, tells me that it’s typical for people to rally before they die. It’s also common that on some unconscious level they frequently know they’re going to die.

“Today’s the day!” he had said enthusiastically to Sherry and my mother when they visited him on that day. When Sherry questioned him about his announcement, he added, “It’s the day that everything’s coming off!” He meant the neck brace, the tracheotomy apparatus, and anything else they had him hooked up to.

“Today’s the day you’re getting up!” Sherry corrected him, wondering if he was confused.

A few hours later, after they left, he quietly slipped away. A blood clot? An aneurysm? A mucus plug in the tracheotomy tubing? We don’t know yet. The hospital staff were as surprised as we were.

It looks like my writing is destined to continue the ongoing theme of grief and loss...

Photo: July, 2005 at sunset: Robert Leo Redman Jr. assisting Robert Leo Redman Sr. down to the parking lot at The Blue Hill Weather Observatory where my brother Jimmy’s annual memorial picnic was being held. The flag seen in the background is the one that was erected in Jim’s honor and has a dedication plaque set in its base. Originally posted on looseleafnotes.com November 30, 2005.

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