Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Angels Grace

I haven't done much in the way of writing or blogging lately because family matters have been all-consuming. My father, whose health has been in decline for the last year, is now in a hospice.

The hospice, AngelsGrace, is a lovely place. It reminds me of an upscale hotel with medical staff. My dad's room has windows on two sides that look over a beautifully landscaped patio where a bird feeder is close enough that he can see the birds come and go from his bed. On Sunday a harpist visited and played in his room. I missed her visit, but my mom said that after she stopped playing, my dad, who everyone assumed was sleeping, lifted his hands and did a silent clap.

The staff at AngelsGrace is wonderful. The nurses keep him pain-free and try to get him to eat a little something, but nothing appeals to him and it all seems to take too much effort.

When I told my kids that Grandpa was being transferred from the hospital, none of them was familiar with the word "hospice."

I told them, "It's a place where they don't take measures to treat the medical condition. They just make sure the person is comfortable and out of pain."

My oldest said, indignantly, "So they're just going to give up?"

It was hard to explain that at some point it's not giving up, it's acceptance.

They were still processing it, when we visited at the hospice. "It doesn't seem like Grandpa could be dying," Charlie said. "I was able to make him laugh."

So, that's where we're at right now. My sisters and other family and friends visit often, never knowing if each visit will be the last, trying to be there for my mom and each other.

For the time being. that's all we can do.


Keetha said...

I'm thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

From home for a change...

What sad news! I'm sure that he appreciates the bird feeder, and isn't it great that he'll have that many more birds now that the good weather is here.

I think it takes a lot of courage to accept the facts as they are and "give up." I think there is a lot of honor in that.

I'll always think of your dad singing the Chiquita banana song with Shelly when she was little. It always made her, and me, laugh.

My thoughts are with you, your mom, and the whole Erickson clan.

Anonymous said...

When I was going through difficult times a few years back, I found that journaling really helped me to process my feelings and keep moving forward.

If its not too personal, might McQuestionable Musings be a good place for you to share some more stories about your dad with your readers? While the stories might not be as witty as usual, with your wonderful gift with words, I'm sure that they would have a specialness of their own, and they might add another layer to the relationship that you have with us.

Anne B said...

Thanks for keeping us posted, Karen. I wondered how things were going for you and your family; when the posts became farther and farther apart I should have realized the time was drawing near. What a long year it has been for all of you.

Sid Leavitt said...

Karen, best wishes to you and the entire family.

Therese said...

Karen-my heart goes out to you and your family. You will all be in our thoughts and prayers.