Three years have passed since that warm spring morning my Dad left us. At first, when I walked into the living room, there were no clues that this would be his last minutes of life. Oh, we knew it was just a matter of time. You have to know that when you make the decision not to do a feeding tube. But we had seen him at death’s door before and some how he always seemed to hold that door shut. It was a door he didnâ€™t want to go through, until this time.
This time he was tired and didnâ€™t have the strength to keep the door shut. The doctors ALL said with a brain stem stroke he wouldnâ€™t ever walk, talk, or eat again. He always said he never wanted to go into a nursing home. We never talked about why he felt this way. Grandma Rice had spent years in a nursing home. Her mind was a fog not remembering what and who and where or why. When he visited her, which wasnâ€™t often, he would come home with the veins on his head bulging as if they would explode. With this knowledge there wasnâ€™t any other options but to take him home.
The stroke had happened on Wednesday morning and it was now Monday afternoon as the ambulance delivered him home to be received by the Hospice nurse. We were given instructions on the medications and discussed how to care for him in the final days.
Dad read the newspaper every morning so this was on my list of things to do with him. On this his first morning at home, instead of reading to him Steve and I stood at his bed side holding his hands. I rubbed his forehead, as I often did when he had a headache, gently closed his eyes and looked at the clock. It was 8:25. I knew the nurse would ask when she arrived.
A toast to Dad â€“ raise a glass to his memory. He lived life to the fullest, loved people and was always ready for a good time. The evening of his funeral we went to the Tumble Weed and ordered one last martini for him..