Posted by: expectingamiracle | May 15, 2010

I know what it feels like

For a long time, I haven’t found the words.  And even now, I still don’t think I have.

There are things I never would have imagined I would experience in my life. 

I know how it feels to have my father diagnosed with dementia, to see him move into assisted living, to see him deteriorate both physically and mentally.

I know how it feels to look into his eyes and know that his mind is off somewhere else, thinking that someone is out to kill him.

I know that bittersweet feeling each time I’d take Matthew to see him; he loved his grandson.  As much as he was able to focus, he would.  He’s the only person I would allow to call my son “Matt”.

I know what it feels like to hear he was in the hospital and not doing well.  To hear he had a septic infection.

I know what it feels like for my brother to call and tell me my dad’s blood pressure had dropped to 45/31.  If there had been any doubts about it before, I knew then he wouldn’t make it. 

I know what it feels like to stay up all night, waiting for someone to call and tell me my father was gone.  The call never came.  My dad hung on until my mom came back the next morning.  The made the decision to take him off all medications other than what would keep him comfortable.  He passed peacefully as my mom held his hand, told him she loved him and that she’d see him again someday.

I know what it feels like to wake up from a nap and have my husband tell me that he got the call, my dad had died. 

The next week was crazy.  Once we found out he was gone, we packed to leave immediately.  I wanted to be home with my mom and brothers.  In the midst of this packing, there was a mixup in who was watching Matthew.  David and I panicked, unable to find him.  The baby gate to the stairs was open and we found he had crawled all the way up the stairs, up into the bathroom and was splashing in the toilet.  That kid must have had a whole flock of guardian angels around him that day who knew I couldn’t handle something happening to my baby the same day that my dad died.  While I was at my mom’s, Matthew got tonsilitis and was a very miserable baby.  I had to find a doctor to take him to and it was difficult to deal with a sick baby on top of everything else going on.  Again, God provided and Matthew miraculously took a 3 hour nap for my in-laws during the funeral.

My dad’s funeral was two days before Matthew’s first birthday.  We postponed his party for a week.

Dates are funny.  Thomas’s due date was April 18, two years ago.  My dad passed away on April 17.  I like to think he is up there, being a grandpa to Thomas.

I know what it feels like to sit next to my mother and hold her hand during the funeral. 

I know what it feels like to laugh until I cried staying up all night with my family sharing stories about my dad.  He would have liked that. 

I know what it feels like to reflect on the old pictures, the old stories, the way he used to be before cancer, before dementia.  And to know the life he was living really wasn’t life.  Not to him.  He wouldn’t have wanted to live that way.

I know what it feels like to be sad anyway.  Sad that I can’t have him the way he used to be, happy, healthy, laughing, annoying the poo out of me making rooster sounds as I try to sleep.  Sad that Matthew won’t have him as a grandfather.  I have it in my mind just how it would have been.  Dad taking Matthew out fishing, to football games, helping him pick dewberries which they’d cajole me into making them a cobbler.

The loss of that.  That’s what hurts.  What could have been.

I know what it feels like to not have a father anymore. 

But I will feel his love for me for the rest of my life.


  1. I’m so, so sorry for your loss. Your post was beautiful, and I’m glad that you have such beautiful pictures and wonderful memories to remember him as he used to be.

  2. I’m so very sorry. Wishing you peace and strength in the days ahead.

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