I have watched you bravely struggle against dying for so
long, wondering often if I would have the same courage to
confront all that you have endured. I think not. I would have given
up long ago. I have seen you cry with me and hold my hand. I have
watched over you in the hospital while you slept. No one, including
you, ever found me there in the dark as I cried for you and for the
impending loss of you.
As I struggled with you last night, as you told me to get
away from you, to just keep the oxygen mask off your face,
I realized that you were making your own decision about
dying. In a way, you were telling me that you no longer wished to
live your life stuck in your hospital bed. You give actual voice to
this wish in your dreams where I have heard you saying 'I have to get
out of here' as you pulled at all those lines connected to your
body. I have wanted the same for you. I live with those thoughts
during the day and at night in my dreams. One recurring dream is the
one where I take you for a ride in my car with the windows down.
Nothing much happens though. We are quiet and content to feel the
warmth of the sun and the company of each other. Just that. It
seems that we both want the same thing for you.
I realized what you wanted, long after you once again accepted the
mask and began to breathe again. This realization came to me long
after my frustration and anger had subsided. Long after you had
asked me if I was angry with you. Yes, I was angry, but not for
long. Now I understand you. I realized this morning when I heard
that you had told sister Kim that you were having trouble going to
the other side. I should have known it when you signed the DNR last
week. I should have known it when you told Kim to take care of
Barbara. You have never talked to me or Shannon or Barbara about
dying. You always confide in Kim, as if she would be less
damaged by your death. Less damaged than me or Barb or
Shannon. Perhaps you are right. Perhaps you're having trouble
leaving us all because you're afraid for me and for Shannon
and for Barbara. I can't speak for them, so I'll speak for
I don't want you to go Dad. I don't want to lose you. So,
if you want to stay, I'll help you live. I'll continue to watch over
you. I'll continue to feed you. I'll continue to visit you. I'll
continue to nurse you. But if you want to go, I'll help you go. I
just don't know how to help you. I just don't know
what to do. All I have is my love for you and my words to
you. All that I can say is, go father, go if you must.
If you chose to go, if you chose to die, I will understand. There's
no shame in giving up. You will not have left me without fighting.
I will go on after you have died, but I'll never stop missing you.
One of the ironies of my life is to have lost you as a child and
found you as an adult. Now I'm faced with losing you again. What I
won't ever lose is my understanding of you. I came to admire you. I
admire you for all of the difficulties you have overcome. In your
life you have survived the death of your daughter, the loss of your
sight and the independence that went with it. You overcame them
all. I have lost you before and yet I always managed to find you.
Even now, I know I'll find you still in the days to come. You have
given me more than you know.
Go if you must. I love you. I'll miss you.