AFTER DEATH... Dad's Demise
The Last Hospital Visit
Within a few days, Dad slipped into a semi conscious state. They did all they could to keep him comfortable with a strong pain killer drip.
Dad seemed to be hanging on even when he was comatose. Two weeks had gone by. His moaning made me wonder if the pain medicine was really working or if he was dreaming. I wasn't sure he could hear me, but one day I whispered in his ear, "Dad. It's okay to go. Mom is waiting for you in heaven." Soon after that, we left the hospital. We were half way between the hospital and the highway when my cell phone rang. The nurse said, "Your dad just passed away." Betty and I looked at each other -- "Whoa!"
We made a u-turn back to the hospital room where Dad lay peacefully. As I stood there reflecting, I realized this marked the end of our "Big Adventure" with my parents. When Dad died, I was not crushed or depressed. I felt relieved that his suffering was over. I was thankful for being his son. He was a treasure. I was glad I had been able to spend time with him and Mom their last few years of life. We had talked about everything and laughed a lot. Dad may have lost his short-term memory but his wit was as sharp as ever. I was at peace knowing he was in the arms of his Lord and in the arms of his sweetheart, Blanche. It was October 23rd, 2002 or almost 15 months after Mom's death.
Just then, Dad's cardiologist walked in. He gave Betty and me a hug. After we exchanged a few words, he said, "Your Dad was very blessed to have you two. Some people talk about their faith, but you two lived your faith." That statement meant so much to me. Though we didn't care for my parents to be congratulated, it's heartwarming when someone is touched by our commitment.
I, of course, called my brother and sister right away. They were already aware of Dad's condition. Since they had both visited Dad a few months earlier and since we weren't sure how long he would hang on, I counseled them to not try to come until Dad had died. Now that he was gone, I told them I would pay their airfare to Hawaii and hotel expense from the trust account.
Although all the grandchildren flew to Hawaii for Mom's funeral, I suggested a different plan this time. I proposed that we have the Hawaii funeral for just us kids and local Hawaii friends and family. Then, a few weeks later, we would have a memorial service in Vista, California, at my sister's church which all the grandchildren and other West Coast friends and family could attend. That idea was well received by all.