Saying Goodbye

T.S. Elliot called April the “cruelest month”.  And I guess it has been cruel.  But another way of looking at it would be to call it the kindest. Dad has been slowly slipping away since his stroke about eighteen months ago. And it’s been hard to watch a guy who was interested in everyone and everything and would try anything begin to sleep his days away.

He enjoyed every day whether it included cross country skiing, driving dialysis patients for the Red Cross, volunteering at Tanglewood, teaching his grandchildren how to play “oh Hell”, taking his great grandchildren trick or treating, having a morning cup of coffee and doing the crossword puzzle with Annette in bed or simply sipping a Manhattan at the end of a busy day.  The man never stopped and Annette, nine years younger, had trouble keeping up with him.

Yesterday was hard.  Dad had been brought to the hospital on Saturday morning.  He was unresponsive and seemed to be working hard with every breath.  Saturday and a Sunday were long days, especially for Kim and Paula and Annette. I was there by late Sunday afternoon. The medical team was working hard to get his sodium levels down, telling us if they could get them regulated, dad would wake up and begin to get well.

By Monday morning, I think we all knew it wasn’t going to happen. The doctor wanted to do an MRI to determine whether dad had had a stroke. I asked what they’d do differently if they found out that was so.  The answer was “nothing”…so we said no to the MRI.  Shortly after that we talked to the doctor again.  We all knew it was time to stop working so hard to keep him alive and just make him as comfortable as possible.

Dad was moved to a pretty room in their hospice section. A cart was brought in with coffee, tea and water and snacks for the family. We sat with dad, telling stories, playing music on my iphone ( first my church music and then Neil Diamond).  The room was big and that was good.  Five of his seven kids were there, Annette’s nieces came.  Annette sat by his side, stroking his head, massaging his hands with cream. We worried about how hard he was working to breathe and the nursing staff increased the morphine.

I left with Annette about 7:15.  Kim and John were going to take shifts during the night but that wasn’t needed.  Dad died about 8:15. Annette and I went back and sat with him along with Kim and Karen. Annette’s nephew, George, arrived. Finally, about 10:00 Annette and I left the hospital.

Dad would have been 95 next month and even though we’ll miss him terribly, I know it was time and I know, as Paula said, he was probably very happy to get rid of his old, frail body. The next few days will be hard ones for all of us. And harder still will be the days after that when Annette, who until recently never  went grocery shopping without him, has to get used to living alone.

Yes, April is the crudest month…and the kindest  and yesterday was the saddest day but i am so very glad I was here to see a good, good man slip the bonds of earth and fly.

Last week with some of the gang



26 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye

  1. My heart is aching for you. Hold your wonderful memories close and allow them to bring you smiles through your tears. Love and peace to you and your family, my friend.

  2. So sorry, Mary. Sending you love, hugs, and prayers. Love, Gayle

  3. So sorry, Mary. But it sounds like he packed an awful lot of living into his almost-95 years. We should be so lucky.

    Jerri 521 Cedarwood Lane Venice, FL 34293 941-445-4118


  4. Too much loss, Mary, but many fine memories. It was time, and it sounds like it was a life worth having lived. So dear to see him surrounded with love in this photo. May all that’s best in him live on in all of you. I know I’m really glad he helped make you for all of us.

  5. Mary, that was beautiful! What a loving tribute to your Dad. I know you will miss him and think of him often but he had such a full and long life surrounded always by many who loved him…what a lucky man! Take comfort in the fact that he probably knew those loving people were with him until the end. Sending loving thoughts to you and your family. Please give Annette an extra hug for me.

  6. Oh Mary, I know how difficult this is for you, but am happy you were able to be with him. In your thoughts and cherished memories he will always be with you and the rest of your family. I can’t imagine losing both of my parents in such a short time period. Take of yourself, my friend.
    Remember that your loss is shared by those who care and understand.

  7. Mary My deep condolences. Sending love and comfort. What a beautiful life! Peace Linda


  8. Mary, your Dad sounded like a wonderful person! He did so much for so many people! I am sorry you are going through so much losing your parents this close together. I hope happy memories help you through this difficult time. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Love, Ellen

  9. Mary, so. so, sorry for your loss. I’m crying reading your beautiful story. Prayers to you and your family.xo

  10. Oh Mary I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am….not for your Dad because we know he is at peace but for the now another huge loss for you and your family. I wish there was something I could do but please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Sending love……Pam

  11. My heart is aching for you. What a beautiful tribute to your dad. I am thinking of you and praying for Annette and all the family. Sending you all my love and sympathy.

  12. Thinking of you. Your tribute to your dad was beautiful.

  13. Our hearts are with you again. It’s never easy to lose your dad, even if they are “ready”. Your beautiful words brought all who experienced this back to that moment of saying goodbye. May the strength of your family help you through the difficult days to come – and may your dad’s peace eventually bring you peace as well. ❤️

  14. God bless you Mary.

  15. Wendie Highsmith

    Mary-To have lost both of your parents in such a short time must be overwhelming. They each lived long lives and touched so many people in a positive way.

    I can only imagine the concern you all must have for Annette—may she find her footing in this time of enormous loss.

    Much love to you and your family,


  16. Beautiful memories for you and yours to hold close. As his spirit flies free of his tired body, may he send you peace and hope to carry on. So glad you were able to be close to share your love. e

  17. You have such beautiful memories keep them close sending much love,Paula

    Sent from my iPhone


  18. Mary, My sympathy, love & prayers to you. More loss so soon. Good that you were there for a beautiful goodbye to you gracefully long lived dad. Lu


  19. So sorry to hear about your Dad. I know how much you loved him. Wishing you and your family peace and comfort.

  20. After my Dad died I was talking to a friend who had lost her father earlier. I asked her when it stopped hurting. She said it was like picking up a rug . The pain is always there, but as the years go you just pick up the rug less often. I think of my Dad when I sit by the water. He would have loved this place and would smile that I’m here. He would have been content to see how happy Ernie and I are. He can’t be here, but he he would be pleased. That is a joy.

    Sent from my iPhone


  21. Dearest Mary, the significance of loosing both your mother and father within weeks of each other is leaving me at a loss for words. I know your faith and the precious memories you so generously share with family and friends, will guide you through the magnitude of your loss. You always find a way to approach life’s transitions with grace and acceptance. You inspire the best in all of us. peace & love always, nina

  22. So sorry, Mary…..

  23. How wonderful, Mary. To have all your family around as you slowly slip away. I think it is the greatest of honors to be with someone as they die. I am sorry for your loss, but what a lucky man he was. You put it so beautifully too. The memories will be overwhelming and when he comes to you in a dream, you will see that all is well. I admire him for the legacy he has left behind. He was a proud man.

    My condolences. Love, Elin

  24. Deirdre Christman

    I’m so glad you got home in time to day goodbye. On some level your dad must have known how much his family loved him, and he was ready to go. Now you all have each other to cherish and share your memories with.

  25. Oh Mary – I am so sorry. Please know that you and your sweet family are in my thoughts and prayers. Much love, Gail

  26. Oh how touching and beautiful was the story of your dad’s life. What a wonderful family you have and what memories!
    So glad you were there for him.

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