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Sun Dec 2, 2018, 10:18 AM

A father's last words...

My father, who I adored, was 88 when he passed away. My brother and I were with him in the hospital. When we were getting ready to leave him late on the night before he died, he looked at us and in a loud, strong voice said "You're wonderful!" Those were the last words he ever said to us and they were the greatest gift he ever gave us. I carry them in my heart.

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Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply A father's last words... (Original post)
Raven Dec 2018 OP
hlthe2b Dec 2018 #1
MLAA Dec 2018 #2
irisblue Dec 2018 #3
Siwsan Dec 2018 #4
ok_cpu Dec 2018 #5
JudyM Apr 2019 #21
Siwsan Apr 2019 #22
JudyM Apr 2019 #23
cpamomfromtexas Dec 2018 #6
bigtree Dec 2018 #7
DesertRat Dec 2018 #16
MontanaMama Dec 2018 #18
lark Dec 2018 #8
FailureToCommunicate Dec 2018 #9
Botany Dec 2018 #10
erronis Dec 2018 #11
StarryNite Dec 2018 #12
Honeycombe8 Dec 2018 #13
DFW Dec 2018 #14
Hamlette Dec 2018 #15
defacto7 Dec 2018 #17
PatrickforO Dec 2018 #19
Hekate Dec 2018 #20

Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 10:22 AM

1. wonderful... I'm glad you were able to receive that final gift...

May he RIP.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 10:23 AM

2. What a wonderful gift he gave you both.

I had a similar experience back in the 90s with my beloved grandfather. He was in the hospital, and as I am told in and out of things (mostly out). I lived on the opposite coast, so while I could see him, I called. He rallied enough to ask me if I needed to borrow a dollar. As a kid I spent many weekends with my grandparents and apparently I racked up a very large debt one dollar at a time 🙂

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 10:28 AM

3. A gift.

I was blessed enough to tell my Mother In Love, the night before she passed on her sleep, "Night Mom, I love you" after she told me that.
Ah Barbara 🕯️

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 10:39 AM

4. My Dad lost his power of speech about a week before he died. But he still communicated

I was teasing him about what I was going to cook to help him put on weight. He grabbed my hand and squeezed it with a strength I thought he had long lost. So I said "Ouch, Dad!! You're too strong!!". He raised my hand to his lips and kissed it, and then gave me a smile. As it turned out, it was his last smile, and it was for me.

I was with him when he died. It was a beautiful, warm day so I opened the window and described what I saw. I then suggested that he might want to 'go out and see the beautiful birds' by the pond. A few minutes later, I'm convinced that is exactly what his spirit did.

Shortly after I was taking a walk and a big white plume feather floated down, right in front of my face. I looked up and didn't see any birds. I think it was just Dad telling me he was OK.

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Response to Siwsan (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 11:07 AM

5. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us. n/t

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Response to Siwsan (Reply #4)

Sat Apr 20, 2019, 04:17 PM

21. Siwsan, I've kept this post of yours open in a tab for months.

Shared experience.

My dad passed away last May. He also lost his ability to speak while I was taking a couple of weeks to deal with post-hurricane damage at my home a few hundred miles away, after having stayed with him and my mom to help for the prior 2 1/2 months. Suddenly the doctor changed the prognosis from “weeks to months” to “days to weeks” and I grabbed a plane back that night. (The last time I’d been with him when he could speak in sentences he was reflecting that he’d had fun every day of his life. I’m not too sure about that, but that’s how he felt then, grateful.)

I had just a couple of days with him before the doctor said “hours to days.” That night I got close to him, arms linked and holding hands, and shared with him some of the warmest memories I had of him, and things I always had loved and appreciated about him. Though he was a bit out of it and couldn’t say anything, he gently squeezed my hand at a couple of emotionally meaningful parts. My mother and I spent the rest of that evening, until around 2AM, on his bed singing favorite songs and laughing together, yeah he was laughing and being weakly playful. Though he couldn’t speak except for a random word or two (or sing) he would intermittently vocalize at the high points of our songs, like part of a wolf pack.

At one point late that evening he was holding my hand as I sat near him, talking, on the bed... he looked intently at me at one point, speaking garbled sounds... I asked him to repeat, and we still had no idea what he was trying to say. He tried one more time, then, seeing I didn’t understand, he slowly, weakly raised my hand, and tried to lift it to his lips to kiss it. I moved closer and made it easier for him and he could barely even manage to do anything except very lightly, centimeter by centimeter in slow motion, press his lips to it. A couple minutes later he made the effort again. I would love to have been able to understand his words but I guess/imagine they were probably not far off from the meaning of the hand kiss.

I slept at the hospital and he passed away early the next morning, seemingly sleeping as my mom and I were talking softly together in the room, including about how, somehow even in the situation, the evening had felt like a party, and we wanted to let him sleep in after our late night... of fun. I hope he heard us saying that that morning.

I will always treasure the memory of that real last effort/action of affection of his kissing my hand.

♥️ ♥️ To the sweetness of my our dads’ hand kisses ♥️ ♥️

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Response to JudyM (Reply #21)

Sat Apr 20, 2019, 04:35 PM

22. You've brought tears to my eyes

They say the same sex parent is the strongest role model, for a child. Not for me. It was my Dad. He was the parent who loved me unconditionally. He never failed to show me how proud he was of me, or to tell me how much he loved me. He never made me feel anything other than loved. I now pass that kind of support on to my late sister's children (and now, their children). Dad's great grandchildren will have a strong appreciation for what an amazing man he was.

I lost my mother 4 years ago, February. While I miss her, the biggest parental void in my life was left by my Dad. I always thought he waited until it was just the two of us, in the room, to make his departure. And I'll always cherish the signs I believe he sent to me, that he was now happy, healthy, and in a good place.

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Response to Siwsan (Reply #22)

Sat Apr 20, 2019, 04:42 PM

23. Yes, yours is a beautiful story that brought tears to my eyes as well.

I could feel your heart in your story. The light touch connection of the feather... wow.

The presence of these memories in our hearts is a gift of continued presence.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 11:15 AM

6. I am happy you had that. That won't happen for me.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 11:15 AM

7. my dad

...had Alzheimer's disease and hadn't spoken in months. I was feeding him, changing him... all a privilege to give back to the man who had raised me.

We had taken care of him for 3 years in our home and it had just become impossible... The night before we had to take him to the nursing home, he looked up at me and said, "You did a good job."

I could barely answer, but I managed to croak out, "What?!"

"You did a really good job," he answered.

Dad lived for a year and a half more, and those were the last words he spoke to me. I'll never be able to put into words what that meant to me.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 06:10 PM

16. Beautiful

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Response to bigtree (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 3, 2018, 01:22 AM

18. My dad had Alzheimer's too.

He, like your father hadn’t spoken in months. I was visiting him at the memory care home where he was living. I’d stopped to being him ice cream which was his favorite treat. He didn’t want to eat it. We sat in silence for a long time holding hands. All of a sudden he said “Honey, I’m going to go.” It took me a minute or so to grasp what he had said to me...not only that he’d actually spoke but what he’d meant. At first I was thinking “dad, they lock this place...where are you going to go?” But then I got it. He was telling me goodbye. I put my head in his lap and cried. I told him how much I would miss him and that I loved him so. He said “I’ll miss you too.” He never said another word and was gone 48 hours later.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 11:30 AM

8. I remember so well my last conversation with dad.

He was dying from cancer which had eaten him up from his bones to his brain. He hadn't been talking much for about 2 weeks, was super anxious and not sleeping. We called hospice & hi minister and changed his regimen for pain medicine, boosting up the dosage. The next day we got a wonderful hospice nurse who took the extra time and helped dad get up and around in his wheelchair. He ate dinner with us (yogurt for him) and was so happy, telling us how much he loved sitting at the table & looking at the beautiful yard mom had made with all the beautiful flowers and how happy he was to be there at the table with all his family. Then he got put in bed, sitting up, and the nurse said dad wanted to talk to each one of us separately. Dad loved Elvis' religious music, so we put on that tape and each one of us spent time with dad. That was so precious to me and my sister, each of us will never forget it. My dad and I had a contentious relationship, he was a Jerry Falwell follower and Evangelistic Christian and very conservative and I was exactly the opposite. However, on this day, we got beyond that and to the bedrock of love. He told me he loved me and he was proud of me for staying true to my beliefs, whether he believed that way or not, and I was able to share the same type of feelings with him. I sat beside him on the bed, we held hands and sang to the songs together, something we'd always loved to do when I was a child. We also sang 12 days of Christmas, (it was August) always our favorite Christmas song to sing together. He asked me to help take care of mom, said she'd need me and my sister and please be sure to be there for her whenever she needed. I promised him I would do that. The next morning, he couldn't talk at all and was turning blue and he passed away that night, never having woken up. I thank God for the gift of clarity given him the day before he died. The whole family was at peace because of this gift.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 11:41 AM

9. A priceless gift. We strive our whole lives to provide for our children, yet here is a gift that

cost nothing...and means the world.

Wonderful.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 11:45 AM

10. I am dealing with "this stuff" right now.

Dad, 90, fell and broke his hip on Thanksgiving and is kind of on a downward path
right now. He is in a rehab/assisted living center right now and I don't know if he is
ever gonna go home. @ times he is lucid, at other times he is not all there, and @
sometimes he is angry and wants to go home right now which is impossible because
he just surgery and really can't move or take care of himself.

The best of times now is when I just sit and read in his room and as a retired professor
he smiles and says that I am like him because we both like to read.

I am so glad that your Dad was able to give you such a wonderful gift.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 11:58 AM

11. There are so many beautiful stories here and quite a few heartaches. I hope we all can help

our survivors carry forward when we are gone.

Both of our parents passed many years ago but left us with a legacy of love and caring and with a few songs in our hearts.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 12:37 PM

12. Thank you for sharing.

My dad died this past Sept at age 103. He lived alone in his house, just the way he wanted until a week after this past Father's Day. It was a series of health issues from that point on that resulted in not only his death but in changing who he was. At times during his final months his true spirit would shine through but other times he was like a different person. At the time of his death he was in an assisted care facility and under hospice care. I was at his bedside the day before he died. His eyes never opened and he did not speak. I don't believe he had any awareness by that time but I said my goodbyes not knowing how much longer he had. What I didn't like were the hospice workers hovering behind me. I was an emotional wreck and I just wanted to be alone with my dad.

You're very fortunate to have received the gift of your father's last words.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 12:41 PM

13. This story gave me a lump in my throat. You were very lucky, and so was he.

R.I.P.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 12:42 PM

14. Posts like this are windows into humanity. I always read them, as my dad left in a special way, too.

He was one Washinton's last print journalists who was the sole Washington correspondent for a small town no one outside the area has heard of. He had offers from "bigger" papers, but stayed true to the paper of the one-horse town that first gave him a chance. After FIFTY years with them, and recognition for his unwillingness to compromise his principles, he learned he had pancreatic cancer. His first reaction was, "well, so much for clean living."

He fought it for 11 months, but was told that none of the treatments were successful, and that the end was near. Nine days before he died, he left his readers one last column. I will edit out a name or two, but this is how a writer goes out in style:

Published: November 19, 2000

Copyright (c) [my dads newspaper]
BAD NEWS...........FROM WASHINGTON
By [DFW's dad]

This is a column I was hoping not to have to write, especially this soon. Readers of this space know that I have been under treatment for pancreatic cancer for about nine months.

The treatment, mostly medication, plus chemotherapy infusions at an oncologist's office, was part of a study program approved by the Food and Drug Administration and involved chemo applications whenever the blood counts were adequate to sustain it.

It was designed for three treatments, one in each of successive weeks, followed by a week of "rest," during which the cells would have a chance to recover.

For me the treatment went in fits and starts. Only once did I complete a three-week cycle. Every six weeks a laboratory radiological office took X-rays to measure what was happening to the cancer, although pancreatic cancer is extremely difficult to read on X-rays.

About 10 days ago I got the bad news from the oncologist. The chemo treatment, which had been interrupted three times for infections and, most recently was accompanied by a substantial swelling of body fluid, had done about all it could to stem the tumor growth and stabilize it.

One other alternative he had held out was to switch to a different chemo protocol, but he determined that, not only was that treatment less effective than the one just halted, but might well have made me sicker.

He said I had put up an amazing fight and he would never have expected me to last as long as I had.

I was fully aware that the odds on stabilizing the cancer - it could never be cured - were tiny, but I had hoped I might have been in the small minority of those who survived. Ironically, my predecessor in writing politics for the [his paper], William E. P., died of pancreatic cancer.

In the course of recent treatment my feet had become so swollen they could hardly fit into shoes or slippers, particularly when I was wearing socks; my legs began to look like a linebacker's, as opposed to my normally skinny appearance, and my belly had grown to a point that made me look as if I were pregnant. It was not unlike the famed Demi Moore magazine cover.

Medication I had taken to get rid of some of the fluid was not working.

And that left: Nothing.

In other words, treatment, except for medication to ease various problems - luckily I have been virtually pain-free during the whole procedure - provided no solution, and all that we could do was prepare for the end.

The obvious question was the length of time I had remaining, and the oncologist volunteered, "It could be weeks, it could be months."

If I had my druthers, naturally, I would choose months, but that is not up to me.

We have already had three visits from specialists from The Hospice of Northern Virginia: an overall supervisor, a nurse and a community affairs expert. This organization is a marvel.

It pays the full cost of prescription drugs - when our company insurance policy was subordinated to Medicare B, the drug coverage my wife [i.e. DFW's mom] and I had enjoyed at 70 percent of cost was eliminated - as well as the rental of a wheelchair. The drugs are delivered to the house.

Signing up for drug coverage for my wife under the AARP schedule would have been too expensive - the highest premium and only a small percentage of drug costs covered.

The Hospice people are on call 24 hours a day, have a small place where patients can stay if their spouses or significant others are exhausted from caring for their loved ones and offer expert medical advice. The swelling in my lower legs and feet, surprisingly, has already gone down with the experimental use of a diuretic drug, generic name aldactone, three times a day, rather than one or two.

The symptom to watch out for is dizziness, and, so far, happily, I have had none.

The inevitability of the situation, however, means [his wife/my mom] has had to consult with accounting and legal firms to make sure all the necessary papers are up to date. I have to think about getting rid of mountains of clothes - dressing well was a weakness I never overcame - and piles of books and newspaper clippings and letters from VIPs. If that all sounds suspiciously like the angst Frank Augustine described in his throwing out a lifetime of correspondence, it should.

The family has already put in a bid for photographs, from college, from Army service in World War II, from journalistic trips around the world and superb color photographs of us with Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton and Sen.-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton.

There are all the drafts of lyrics I wrote for 25 years of Gridiron Club shows, notes from the president, members of Congress and diplomats, virtually every one of which is destined for the round file.

With my continuing columns I remain the "dean" of the New York news media in Washington, as well as the correspondent with the longest stretch of news reporting of any newspaperman in the capital.

That must now come to an end, though not immediately, and, of course, I shall fight to push the envelope as far as I can, with the wonderful support I have received from relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbors. They have held us in their prayers, and we are tremendously grateful.

Hearst columnist Marianne Means and her husband, columnist James Jackson Kilpatrick, gave us an orchid plant about three weeks ago, and, in a small miracle, it is still putting out creamy white buds and flowers long after it should have succumbed.

It could be a sign, but we are realistic enough not to bet the farm on it.

There is a line in the song "A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square" that insists, "The age of miracles hasn't passed."

Only time sets the parameters. Until the body gives out (for the spirit never will), then I will have to call it a life.

The hour for feeling sorry for myself has passed. I envy those, like the 90-year-old woman profiled by John Golden in the Times recently; like my erstwhile partners on the tennis court and fellow performers at Gridiron rehearsals.

The incoming Gridiron president, Andrew Glass of the Cox Newspapers, wants me to serve as the club treasurer until my physical capabilities tell me, "Enough." Then a successor can be named.

I could complain that fate had dealt me a less-than-optimum hand, but that would serve no purpose and would ignore the many problems of those less fortunate than I.

I'm still here, and I want to write until the keyboard fails to respond to my fingers and my voice can no longer draw information from those to whom I speak on the telephone.

I don't know how near the end is, nor will I spend time worrying about it. It has been a wonderful life, personally and professionally, and the recognition of that from so many whom I love and respect leaves no room for regrets.

So, agree with what I write or not, don't stop reading. Each day has to bring a new miracle with it.
-------------------------------------

And to think some people still ask me why I didn't follow him into journalism, with his experience and connections. That one is easy to answer: how do you fill shoes like those?

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 03:48 PM

15. "give me one last kiss and let me go" were my dad's last words to my mom

still makes me cry, I miss them so.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 06:44 PM

17. My dad's last words were,

"Oh, the brakes wouldn't work".
He was parking the car in the garage and ran through the back wall. He was 89 and had a stroke on the spot.
Not all last words are prophetic. I loved my dad very much. He was a jokester. I'd imagine that's the way he would have wanted to go.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2018, 02:06 AM

19. What a fantastic and beautiful gift he gave to you!

I can only hope that I'll be able to give such a gift to those I love dearly when my time comes!

This post made my day, you know?

Thank you.

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Response to Raven (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2018, 02:13 AM

20. To all of you, a DU hug



I wish... but wishes are vain.

I hope...to leave my children with kind memories at my passing.

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