My father has passed.
Over time he was son, brother, friend, soldier, singer, pianist, craftsman, organist, patron of the arts, philanthropist, husband – and to me, always my father.
The time we shared improved with age, and we made our peace as adults, and my own illness brought us, if anything, closer. We learned to laugh at each others eccentric humor, and largely tolerate each others eccentricities.
I took him to the old Prayer'n'Doctorin' hospital, now the Eastern Campus of Great Big Hospital Complex, in June for what we all anticipated was a brief hospitalization for a resurgence of cellulitis. It didn’t quite work out that way.
Six months later we are here and Dad has passed, having said a long and difficult goodbye, with a final rally we all hoped was the first signs of recovery. He was speaking again, with difficulty, but that was a relief to him frustrated conversationalist that he was.
For those unfamiliar, an ischemic bowel occurs when a greater or lesser portion of the gut dies off. In this case, this was complicated by multiple medications (Coumadin, among others) leading to severe internal bleeding and a prognosis best scored in negative numbers.
Sunday, Mom was conversing with Dad. Monday night, we got the call Dad was being shipped to Southern Major Medical Place. Screaming in from various directions, we found Dad medically crashing in slow motion. Tuesday we sat with him as he joined his final battle, until he passed at at approximately 7:30 in the evening.
After six long months of struggle, I can only believe that he is in a better place, chatting with his friends and family who have preceded him, sharing coffee and fellowship as he awaits each of us to join him in our own time.