Time Frame > Shock Wears Off, Reality Sets In ( 6 to 12 months)

Continuing My Beginning of the End Thread

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lcoxwell:
One year ago today was the last time I ever got to see my Kenneth's eyes open. After falling out of bed numerous times the night before, he finally slept for a few hours in the morning. I had to get him up for the visit from home hospice, but it was obvious the confusion had completely set in. After the visit, I stepped outside to speak with the home hospice worker. I told him I suspected that it wouldn't be long, before Kenneth was gone; and he was honest with me, saying that Kenneth was in bad shape and that he would be surprised if Kenneth made it through another 24 hours.

While waiting on the home hospice worker to arrive, and during the time he was there, two of Kenneth's sons and his daughter (all in other states and several hours away) called to speak with him one last time. Those were short conversations, because he was so weak and tired and far too confused to carry on a conversation. He kept repeating himself and saying things that made no sense, whatsoever. He also spoke with my son, Matthew, who was the only one of our kids still living with us, and wished him a happy birthday.

Shortly after the home hospice worker left, my daughter and her fianc? arrived from Arizona. My daughter got to speak with him for a few minutes, while he smoked one last cigarette. Then, he hugged her and said he was tired. He said he wanted to take a nap and would talk with her more later. She hugged him, and he said he loved her. As she and I left the room, I called back and said, "Love you, Babe!" Those were the very last words we ever exchanged. He laid down to take a nap, and quietly slipped into a coma sometime after that.

Mr C:
L, There is so much love in the stories you have been sharing about you and your Kenneth. Sending you (((hugs))) as you go through the next couple days.

newnormal14:
(((HUGS)))

tmppgh2015:
We share an sadiversary! Big hugs to you and I hope you found some peace! I still can't believe its been a year!

lcoxwell:
I am now down to today and tomorrow, and then I shall stop posting all the "One year ago today..." updates, as I will have passed the one year anniversary.  It is so hard to believe I have made it to this point.  I never could have survived without all of you, at least not survived with any part of my dignity or sanity intact.  With that being said....

One year ago today, I had entered what I call, "The Death Watch".  When I woke up that morning and could not get him to open his eyes or respond to my voice, I knew that the time had come.  I called home hospice, and they confirmed that he had slipped into a coma sometime between when he laid down to take a nap the night before and that morning.  They offered to come and take care of him, but I told them I would do it, that I would call, if I needed them.  So many times, he had joked that it was just the two of us, against the world.  It just seemed appropriate that it should just be us, at that time.  I felt like I had taken care of him for so many years up to that point, that I wanted to be the one taking care of him in the end, too.  I can't really explain it, other than to say it felt like something I had to do.

A few hours later, his mother, sister, nieces, and nephew arrived to see him, one last time.  I have to be honest, I was horribly resentful at their intrusion.  For years, they hadn't visited him, even when he was in the ICU in the hospital.  They didn't come to the house or invite us over.  They didn't call to check on him.  They gave us no support, whatsoever.  I was angry that they had turned their backs on him, just when he needed his family the most.  I was even angrier that I had called them 5 days before and told them they needed to call him and to visit, because home hospice had been called in and I had been told he would go quickly.  I felt like they should have come sooner, and by waiting, he did not have the chance to see them or know they had visited.

I also have to admit being resentful for the intrusion on my time with him.  Instead of spending the last few hours I had with him, I was having to sit in the other room entertaining them and talking to them, when all I wanted to do was sit by his side, to hold his hand, to kiss his cheeks, and to tell him over and over just how much I loved him.  A part of me felt that they shouldn't be there, that it had just been the two of us and our kids for so long, that it should just be the two of us and the kids in the end, as well.  I wanted to lie down on the bed beside him, with my head on his chest, just listening to him breathe, without having to hear their voices in the other room.  As selfish as this may sound, I was happy when they decided to leave, so I could just focus on him.

Some time late that evening, after everyone had gone, I had a call from a dear friend across the country.  He had called to check on Kenneth and on me.  During that conversation, I mentioned that I felt like Kenneth was holding on for some reason, like he was waiting on me to give him permission to let go.  I remember just sobbing into the phone and telling my friend that I just couldn't bring myself to say the words, though I knew I needed to.  I knew Kenneth was waiting on me, that he wouldn't leave, until he knew I was ready to let him go.  My friend told me it was alright, if I couldn't say the words yet, and offered prayers for strength.  I am so thankful to my friend for lifting me up in prayer at that moment.

Throughout the night, I barely slept, afraid that if I closed my eyes, he might slip away from me, and I wouldn't know it.  I wanted, needed, to be there for his final breath.  To this day, just one day shy of that one year anniversary, I still feel like the only reason he made it through that night, was because I hadn't found the courage to tell him it was okay to die.

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