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Thankful Thursday

Dear God,

Today I am thankful for the people who took care of my father the last years of his life:

The nurses and staff at Kingsland Hills Care Center, especially Betty who drove him to his appointments and called me with updates, Carol the social worker who bought him a birdfeeder and put it outside his window, Dorthy the business manager who shared a love of books with him and placed his orders to Amazon, and Erica his most recent nurse who was on the verge of tears when she called to tell me he was dying.

The staff and volunteers with Llano Hospice, especially Barbara the nurse who called to tell me, in a gentle way, that he was dying, the minister who eased his soul and helped him die a peaceful death, the volunteers who visited him to make sure he was not alone during his last days.

Dr. Kim Russell, his primary care physician who managed his health care for all of his physical problems (metastatic melanoma, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, pneumonia, UTI). It was Dr. Russell who finally gave me straight answers about his medical condition and prescribed hospice care when I was near the end of my rope with his disintegrating health and frequent hospitalizations.

To Ray at Putnam Funeral Home for his kindhearted approach (and sense of humor) while discussing the business details related to the cremation. For asking if I wanted to pick up the ashes or have them mailed to me. Just knowing I don’t have to drive four hours to pick up his ashes is such a relief. And, who knew they could send them through the mail?! Such a small thing and such a big help.

I want to offer a special thank you to all of the above people who did not judge me when I declined to visit more often or have a more hands on involvement in his care. More than once I had to tell one of them that we were estranged and that I would not be going to his bedside when he was dying. I had to tell perfect strangers some painful family details and frequently cried while talking to them or immediately after hanging up the phone.

My final feelings of gratitude and love are to my friends Susan and Sue, my daughters Maggie and Joanna and to my husband Colburn for holding my hand, literally and figuratively, during these past few months. It was difficult for them to watch me suffer, rant and rage about Dennis/Daddy/My Father and then to cry tears of grief at his passing. But one of the facets of my life is that I was a Daddy’s Girl when I was little and “Daddy” was a man who, more often than not, chose the dark side. I mourn his passing, but I am also relieved of the burden of his life in this world.

Now I wish him eternal peace while he gazes upon the face of God.
This prayer was sent to me by my friend Lynn:

O Lord,
support us all the day long of this troubled life,
until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over and our work is done.
Then, Lord, in thy mercy,
grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest,
and peace at the last.

(a sixteenth-century prayer used by Cardinal Newman, 1801-1890)


Susan said…
You don't have the right box to check on this post, so I will add my own:
I think this is lovely.
Carla said…
I know how you feel - I have walked in your shoes. I did not have a healthy relationship with my dad - his choice. He threw away 2 daughters while focusing on his son. His death caused mixed feeling with me - from apathy to sorrow. My dad was an out of sight*out of mind kind of guy. He was solely about himself in every way. Married 5 times with no concern for the welfare of others. I was sorry for his suffering at the end of his life and hope God watches over him better that he watched over me. He is with his son now - that is all that he needs.

Kim said…
I agree with Susan that this is a lovely post. The prayer is especially wonderful. When my grandmother passed away after being in hospice care for about a month, my mom kept in touch with her nurse for awhile afterwards. The people who work in hospice care are amazing, like angels on earth.

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