I just can not find the words to begin to describe this past week. We knew my fathers , Tata’s time on this earth was nearing it’s end. The family had gathered and the vigil had begun. It was however, not what most people would expect to find if they were to walk into the room where someone was actively dying. The prayers had been said and the tears had been shed so now it was a time to rejoice with our father who we knew could hear us.
We laughed and told stories and at times you could see a hint of a smile or he would squeeze your hand. We told him how excited we were for him and how lucky he was to be ridding himself of this Parkinson’s stricken shell he has been trapped in for so long.
We told him not to worry because he has done a wonderful job raising his children and that we would be here with Mom until she joined him. We told him how we wished we could go with him but we had to finish our chores here on earth first.
This was how we spent Thursday and Friday. There were always several people in the room with him and even though he couldn’t speak to us we spoke constantly to him.
On Saturday we had plans to go shopping for a suit for the funeral that we knew was coming up. My brother was in the room with me and we were waiting on our sisters to arrive so we could leave. When one of them arrived my brother went to the kitchen to give her the debriefing about the nights medicines and to talk to Mom leaving me alone in the room with Tata.
Now since we had been keeping the vigil I had stayed in the background and let everyone else have their time with Daddy. I felt like they needed it more than I do because I have had the honor of being with him every day for the last six years.
I took the seat right beside his bed and searched under the sheets for his hand to hold while I told him what was going on in the world via CNN. Shortly after sitting down I looked at him and saw that the sheet was not moving. I pulled it back and his chest was not rising. He was free.
I sat there for another ten minutes and just talked to him thinking that he could still hear me for awhile before I told anyone else in the family. There was jubilation and words of encouragement from everyone in the room. We were so happy for him!
I believe he was waiting to be alone with me to let go. I truly believe that. We had been together for so long and gone through so many struggles that I believe he wanted me to have this gift. And a gift it was. There was no struggle and no pain. And to top it off he left here with a smile on his face.
We took our time getting him ready for the funeral home to come get him. We bathed him and dressed him. Washed his hair and trimmed his beard.When the people got here with the gurney I stopped them on the porch. I picked my Tata up one last time and carried him outside and placed him on the gurney myself.I just couldn’t let a stranger do that.
The nights are strange now. After listening to his breathing all night for the last six years the quiet is so deafening it keeps me awake.I know that time will pass and I will adapt but until then nighty-night Tata .I’ll be right here.