I wonder how many couples still use those vows, until death do us part.
As I’m sitting here, watching my dad slowly breathe his last breaths, I’m wondering about changing those black and white vows to include more Grey areas. Like, love me through my end stages as you watch me die slowly. Death has many faces. There are those quick ones, unexpected passings or the arduous letting go by slowly losing one’s faculties.
My dad is part of the latter. He has been slowly losing a battle with emphysema. I’ve been able to visit my parents every week for the past several weeks. I’m lucky that my job is extremely understanding and I’m able to take vacation days at a moments notice. My parents only live an hour away so when my mom called me last night and told me how his condition had deteriorated I dropped everything and went there.
So here I am. Sitting in his bedroom, watching his last breaths. Why oh why am I writing a blog right now. It’s because it helps to get my feelings out.
I’m not going to write about his strength of character or how he had been a pillar in my life. But instead I’ll write on a more general level of how weird life can be. I mean the actual physical living part. It’s a miracle but at the same time one might wonder why the body just doesn’t let go.
I’m going not to try be depressing but it’s in these pivotal moments of life that one wonders about their own legacy. How will people remember him? Its in the pivotal moments in life that a person can cement those impressions that will last a lifetime. Or it can be in a tiny thing that a person had done that defined them.
When the memorial comes along, what should I say? How can I portray to the masses that he was a gentle soul. I never saw his anger. He has a quiet strength. A steady strength. We didn’t have the typical dad/daughter relationship. He married my mom when I was 15. I moved from my patents house at 17. So the day to day communication was not there. He told me 2 weeks ago that he regretted not being closer to me. I was his only daughter per se. He was my dad through marriage but a good dad. At least in my life. Do I have regrets? No. I’d say not.
I would say that I feel honored to be available and able to watch him at this stage. It’s not a glorious stage by far. There is nothing glorious about dying in this manner but it leads to its own testament that he hung on till Friday. Now, he’s barely able to attain consciousness. Only fleeting micro seconds where we may be able to get a slight head shake in response to our one limited question, are you hurting?
Yes. Life has a way of being brought down to the simplest form at the very end. I’m sure he’s almost on auto pilot. His body is fighting or maybe it’s his mind. Regardless there’s a part of him that’s beginning to let go. It’s not really a defeat but a triumph of dignity. Although one may not think it’s dignified to lose all faculties and be bed bound unconscious but ina way it can be seen as nothing but the purest form of sacrifice because he’s allowing me to rise to the occasion and define my own legacy by being by his side. The devotion of a daughter to her dad. Now, isn’t that the greatest sacrifice.
I love you dad. Thank you for your many years of guidance. Good bye and ill see you on the other side.