The Anvil Dropped
2007-01-19, 4:19 p.m.
And after ten years of neverending hell, it ended.
I'm surprised I slept at all last night, I figured I wouldn't. Teri the Stephen minister picked us up around 8 a.m., and it was good to have her there because she's pretty cheerful in general. I got a phone call from Jess, who was telling me about all the fun there is to be had at Disneyland :) At one point, all of us were on the phone at the same time. So, not a whole lot of doom n' dwelling in the car going on, which was nice.
I got asked when I first got there if I wanted to go see Dad then, but I said, "No, I'm waiting until the aunt and uncle get here, they need to see this spectactle." (Totally true, and she even said as much later.) So I sat around outside knitting for awhile and waiting for people to show up.
Around ten-ish, we had tons of people in the room. Edgar the priest, Pastor Chuck and Teri, Roy the grief counselor, pretty much everyone else we'd ever met at hospice, the doctor, my cousins Ron and Tammy (Laurie was there but waited outside), aunt and uncle, Mom and me.
Here's the funny thing: he was snoring. Yeah, you know he's not awake for this if he's snoring. This amused me greatly somehow. It was reassuring, even.
I was kind of amused by Teri saying at one point, "You REALLY look like your dad and your cousins." I was all, "I keep saying that to people, that I look like that side of the family and NOT Mom," and she was all, "Yeah, you look like your mom, until you see your other relatives."
I did manage to suck it up and kiss him goodbye (yes, right in front of them). Auntie Dolores, and Mom, and pretty much everyone else, was delighted that I did that. Teri and/or Pastor Chuck and/or Mom held on to me while I was in there. Oddly enough, the massive guilt I've had going for ten years has (at least temporarily?) disappeared after that.
Both the priest and the pastor did their thing, then I left before they shut the vent off. I hung out in the office area with Laurie and Suki, and later Roy, and later Tammy when she came in. People would give me reports on how it was going. They said it was quiet at first, then they were all telling various stories involving Dad and cars. The word "peaceful" was reiterated a lot.
He seemed to be going strong on the ventilator, to the point where people were all, "Um, this might take till tomorrow...y'all might as well get lunch." So most of us went to get lunch, and the hospice people left. Mom and Teri and Pastor Chuck stayed and the rest of us ate sandwiches at the nearby restaurant. This was kind of funny because Mom had kept saying, "We really should try that restaurant," but we never got out of the home before they closed to do that. So while she wasn't actually getting to enter it, she did get food brought to her from there. And they did have good sandwiches. And we all managed to have a meal together without any kind of sniping or bitchery going on. Huzzah!
Though there was this exchange. I was on Ron's right, Laurie was on his left.
Ron: "I'm about to sneeze. I go to my right for that."
I did kind of freak when Uncle Bruce said, "If he takes until tomorrow to die, they won't be able to bury him on Tuesday." (No, we hadn't told them about Disneyland.) I'm thinking, "Aw crap, we already made reservations! What are we gonna do if he does?"
After that, we delivered the food we'd picked up for everyone else, and switched shifts. The relatives (minus Laurie, who had to go pick up kids) went in and Mom and Teri and Pastor Chuck came into the office with me to eat. We ended up mostly talking about the play Teri and Pastor Chuck are in together.
Around maybe 1:50 or so, they were wrapping that up and Mom went to throw out the food. Tammy came out and was looking for Mom- "there's been a change." So they all went, and I sat there.
Around two, everyone came out. Dad had died while Mom was out of the room, as was by this point kind of expected. She wasn't too freaked out about that, as she wasn't all that sure she even wanted to see it happen.
Various people asked if I wanted to see him after death, I politely declined. I believe I said "I don't want to lose my corpseginity" or some such at one point.
And I felt...fine. Okay. Normal. ("Normal for you, or normal...?" Jess asked me. I don't know!) It's like reality realigned to how I've felt about it for so long, is the closest I can think of to describe it. I'm cheerful right now, even. Go figure. I dunno how long that will last, but right now I am enjoying it.
We were out of there pretty fast after that, I guess. Picked up his stuff, Mom said goodbye to the nurses. Teri just drove us home. Various phone calls are now being made, so I'm going online to notify other people (assuming I remember them all, I dunno on that one) until I get interrupted. At some point soon we will be leaving to go over to the PITAS's house to look for photos of Dad for the memorial service, not to mention deposit Dad's last Social Security check, which showed up today.
We will probably go over to Aunt Susie's for the weekend, which will be good. I'd rather Mom not have to sit around the house too much for the first week.
I am okay. Good, even. Go figure. I don't know how long this will last, but I am enjoying the feeling while I can.