Remember yesterday morning when I brought my camera to work and forgot the memory stick? And remember me asking for crossed fingers because it looks like trouble is in the future? Trouble arrived with a capital “T” and all was not well on what it had in store for us.
Rich contacted me at work, asking me to call him. We had brought Dad to a hospice (my FIL, Rich’s father) on Monday afternoon, and stayed with Mom and him until around 8PM. Mom had arrived at 10AM Tuesday to sit with him and was told, “Great that you are here. We were about to call you. He has turned blue in his hands and his face.” Needless to say we were all a little freaked out because even though Dad had been on straight oxygen since he arrived at the hospice, he looked fine. After informing my team of what was happening, I was able to leave work early. Rich picked me up at 2:30PM and we zoomed over to see Dad.
When we arrived, Mom of course was there. Her sister Mary, Dad’s sister Agnes, and Dad’s sister-in-law Frances were with her offering comforting words to them both. We all exchanged hugs and pleasantries. Because there was not too much space around the bed, Aunts Agnes and Frances left to give Rich and I room. Dad’s hands and feet looked blue and swollen. His blue-tinged face showed him in peaceful sleep. Occasionally, he would take deep breaths, almost as if he was making shallow gasps. And sometimes, I thought I heard a light snore.
Around 7 or 8 PM, Rich and I were getting hungry. Earlier, Mom and Aunt Mary had gone back to the house to get some dinner and to take care of Max (the new puppy). He had been in his crate all day, and needed to be let out. When they came back, Rich and I walked over the Newport Creamery down the block and had a quick dinner. We brought back coffee for Mom and hot tea for Aunt Mary. Even with the cold New England weather, Rich was still able to have a vanilla milkshake for dessert. I still just shake my head in disbelief, since I am always cold without such additions!
Mom started wondering if it would be okay to leave at 10PM so she can be with Max. He is not used to being alone, and she did not want him to feel abandoned. After we spoke with the nurse, we decided that since these hours and days may be Dad’s last ones, she had better stay. Aunt Mary went back home after being with Mom most of the day, Rich took Mom’s car so he could check on Max, and I drove home to get much needed sleep so I can take my 6AM conference call and do some work. As for Mom, she was going to rest in the chair bed next to Dad.
Early this morning around 3:30AM, our phone rang. In my sleepy state of mind, my stomach sank anticipating the news. Rich pounced on the phone and it was Mom. Dad had left only 5 minutes before. The nurse had woken Mom up to inform her Dad’s breaths were getting more shallow. Together they counted how many seconds between his breaths, and after 6 seconds between his last 2, Dad left peacefully and quietly in his sleep.
Dad’s viewing hours are from 5PM to 7PM with a shortened Roman Catholic service. He is at the new facility of McAloon & Kelly (formerly the Lachapelle Funeral Home) on 643 Main Street in Pawtucket, RI 02860. He will be cremated then buried in a private family ceremony the week after. For now, I will be heading back to work until Friday at noon. We only are given
3 2 days of bereavement for in-law family members, and I need to make sure I can take the time off.
Thanks to all of you for supporting Rich and me. We are grateful for your thoughts and prayers. =:8