Grief. It’s a funny thing.
Leaves me feeling, mostly, meh…
The missing of my father has not been a frontal assault. I think the missing dissipated as I watched him dying and I only wanted for him to pass over gently into that Golden Platinum Light of God.
It was less than 6 weeks from “I’m not feeling so good,” to his death. But those 6 weeks were brutal to witness; his body was suddenly taken over by the cancer, which meant he was taken over by medicine, doctors, the emergency room, varying opinions, hope and then not.
Being a patient in a teaching hospital can be a great thing. It can also mean 35 talking heads in and out of the room, speculating different prognoses, advising this or that next procedure, ignoring the inevitable and finally deferring to hospice upon discharge.
We all felt somewhat powerless during the hospital sojourn; more often than not my mother and me were 3 paces ahead of the doctors, knowing what was coming but being told differently. We swayed on the pendulum of hope and despair for all those many weeks. My father though- well, at one point he was told he may have a year or two and he held on to that news with a vice grip. While most would argue hope is good, I watched that bit of hopeful, yet false news weigh heavy on my father with anger and disappointment almost to the end.
We tried in-home Hospice but his personal care needs were too extreme by that point and two days in, after being released from the hospital, he was transferred to Hospice House. It was there that we were all able to “just be” for a day or two- to be with him, to allow him to prepare for his soul’s journey.
I spent the last day of his life praying with him almost every hour, asking that he be bathed in Christ’s White Light. I asked the Angels and Archangel Michael to watch over him and give him a safe journey. I held his hands as he clasped them in the prayer position. I assured him that all would be fine here on earth and he could move on to his next post, which of course, includes angel’s wings.
I get glimpses out of the corner of my eye; I see his sadness and I see his joy. He knew he was loved, and held, and prayed for. I also see the images of him struggling to survive. For these reasons I am most relieved that he is in his new home, safe and secure and no doubt, tending to a heavenly rose garden.
The Sunday before his first trip to the Emergency Room, he would not be going to church. He just didn’t feel good, he said. I went with my mother and sister-in-law and during the service I had this overwhelming rush come over me. My heart was palpitating, I felt very weak and I nearly fainted. I knew this was about my father. I knew he was not alright. I just knew. I knew on that day it would not be long.
When we left church I explained what I had experienced and I said, “It’s his heart- something to do with his heart…” Of course that made no sense given his previous diagnoses of prostate and bladder cancer. And it turned out to be neither of those. Instead he was diagnosed with liver (bile duct) cancer- cholangiocarcinoma.
I moved forward through his end-game knowing his death was just up ahead at the next bend in the road. I shared this with a few close friends but I hesitated to really let loved ones in on my knowing because geez- it would sound like I had no hope at all. Yet there was a peace for me in that knowing- the kind of knowing I have had many many times for most of my life.
For me it was another lesson in trust and intuition. I was given the knowledge of my father’s pending death and that knowledge allowed me to get ready in a hurry, to process, to be able to get through the unending plans that follow someone’s passing, and to be present for my family as we adjust to a life without him.
I thought though that perhaps I had misinterpreted what was going on with him with my words about his heart; the words I uttered following me nearly passing out in church those many weeks ago. I thought so until 2 nights before his death, when I watched the nurse and aid help him out of his hospice bed. He collapsed to the floor and when he did I knew I had felt that day in church what he was feeling in that very moment. The doctor later told me he collapsed because he was losing blood rapidly causing his blood pressure to fall fast . That was the last time he got out of bed. And that was the final bit of confirmation I needed that I can and should trust my intuition- my claircognizance– however it shows up.
Oh, and that day he just wasn’t up to church… he was up to walking outside and picking a rose from his garden. He handed it to us through the car window as we were leaving.
On intuition and death… we all have our stories.