MY FATHER didn't make it. His
condition worsened, compounded by bedsores, respiratory failure, and he spent
6 weeks in the ICU. Tubes that I was accustomed to seeing through all my working
years were foreign objects to me then. The man I had looked up to all my life
was at their ends, and it didn't make sense. My Mom was in denial and that was
hard. She was making plans for him to come home. Sadly that was all she spoke
of, not for one minute believing that their 49 year marriage would soon end.
HE HAD been unresponsive for
a while. I would sit at his bedside and talk to him; silly chatter about anything,
the weather, my dogs, the news. Wishing I could once see him smile at me again.
But that was not to happen. Instead it would be I that would have to make the
decision, on whether or not to stop all extra treatments that may have been prolonging
his life. It would be my decision, one which, as a nurse, I had easily advised
countless people on over the years. With all the empathy I thought I had in counseling
others, I realized then I had never really known the feelings involved in making
I LABORED and worried and weighed
the alternatives, and in the end I made the decision I thought was best for everyone,
and mostly what I thought was best for my Dad. It was to haunt me for a long time.
FOR MONTHS after my father died,
there was a guilt that would not go away. Logically I know I did the right thing,
emotionally I wasn't prepared for how I would feel. It hurt for a long time. My
father must have known; must have seen my pain, often and severe sometimes, as
it's a difficult thing to come to peace with. But he must have been watching,
knowing, and waiting, for the right time, when he was most needed.
LIKE OTHER nights, I had fallen
asleep thinking of him. Had I really done the right thing? Could it all have been
better? I awakened in the sand, on a beautiful expanse of beach somewhere. The
sun was shining and the sky was bluer than I've ever seen it to be. The ocean
was so clear, like drinking water. Way in the distance a man was walking toward
me. He looked so handsome in his dark sunglasses and his tanned skin. As he got
closer I thought to smile, he looked familiar. Slowly he removed the dark glasses
and I saw, it was my Dad. His eyes sparkled as we embraced and he stepped back
from me to smile a calm, contented smile. In life he never looked better, his
skin was so pure and clear and it had a beautiful tone. There was such an aura
of peacefulness surrounding him. He walked slowly to a lounge chair, reclining
into it as he closed his eyes and put his glasses back on.
MORNING came. I awakened in my
bed and I was both ecstatic and peaceful. Some might say it was a coincidence
but I do not believe in coincidences. I do believe in miracles. I will always
carry that vision with me. I will rest comfortably now, knowing my Dad just had
to tell me he was ok, and not to worry. I know he is around here somewhere, all
the time....well.....at least when he isn't at the beach.