Lovely Hospice doctor with Dad

Dad passed away on his 80th birthday. He checked into the Nashville Hospice facility on Thursday (make that walked to his room, somehow, not accepting a wheelchair) and curled up on his bed to entertain the staff as they came in to check on him. The next afternoon, they disconnected his pacemaker / defibrillator and in less than 3 hours, he passed away naturally (and more peacefully than we could have ever hoped).

Always the storyteller

He needed very little medication—he was so ready to go. His heart went up to 80 beats per minute as soon as he was free of the device, and his rate stayed around 110 to wear itself out, I suppose, (much like Dad would do on his walks over the years). Apparently people’s heart rates usually go way down in this situation, not up. Very Dad-like.

On one of his trips to get up and go to the bathroom (yes, he was determined to keep using the toilet and not a urinal), he looked at my husband Tim in the recliner next to him and said very seriously, “Oh, #%!@, I’m not dead.” How many times he has woken up from a nap and said that…

When it was time for Dad to pass away, we saw his face as he gazed up at whatever came to get him, or whatever he saw. It was a look of awe and amazement that no one could make without seeing something so unimaginably beautiful and not of this world. He closed his eyes and a few minutes later, he was gone. It was a blessing to see and feel—Dad getting what he had wished for for so long.

I knew it was the first night of the full moon, but did not know there would be a partial lunar eclipse (we would only see a slight shadow). “The entire duration of the eclipse will be 4 hours and 10 minutes, commencing at 5:45 p.m. EDT.” Dad passed away at 5:35 p.m. central time, an hour after the start of this lunar eclipse. Tim and I had said on the night he passed that we felt like there was a window of time Dad sensed and felt the need to go during it. We assumed it was just his birthday, but maybe he felt something more.

Ceremonial fireside alter

We built a ceremonial fire for Dad on Sunday in the fire pit in our backyard with a nice alter of symbolic items he would find meaningful: one of Dad’s beloved spiderman figures (a symbol of doing good and helping others); a Christian cross from Ireland; a prayer wheel from Bhutan; a Hindu prayer necklace from the Kauai monastery made from the seeds (called “tears of God”) from their sacred rudraksha trees; Yoda to symbolize the force connecting us all; acorn from our yard; rain stick; and pictures of his mother, brother and our aunt Phyllis who have passed.

My friend Cindy came by with “ceremonial wine” and sang Amazing Grace, which Dad loved. Next time, she’ll sing another of his favorites—Elvis’s, I Did It My Way.

Yes, Dad, you certainly did.

Written on October 22nd, 2013 , Uncategorized Tags: , ,
Debbie Emory

Writing humorous fiction infused with death, dysfunction, and dads.