Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bittersweet Homecoming

The first letter I wrote to friends and family was sent via email on Dec. 11, after we took dad home.

"We brought Dad home today, and he was so pleased to be in his own home, his own bedroom and with his beautiful Judiet. They had a sweet conversation about how grateful he was that we were able to coordinate this homecoming. But he was disappointed that his health wasn't magnificently restored to be home in the capacity he would enjoy the most. Acceptance is not linear for any of us, and we bump into resistance against this painful reality at regular intervals, interspersed with moments of understanding that disease and death are part of life and that our story of grief is shared by all who have ever lived and loved. We hold his hand and rub his head and shoulders, and we silently accept that these are precious moments to cherish.

I am so incredibly grateful that I have this amazing man as my dad.

We are being supported by the hospice team from the Visiting Nurses of Douglas County. They arranged for the hospital bed, a wheelchair and walker and other equipment. They will visit at least every other day and are on call 24/7. They have trained mom and myself to administer his medicines and "food" through the PEG tube, and we are meeting the challenge to be his primary nurses. We already called for help this evening when we weren't sure the tube was flushing adequately, and the nurse was here within a half hour and was beautifully reassuring and helpful.

I've stocked our fridge with food and look forward to making some nourishing soups and other comfort foods for the two of us and any visitors who happen by at mealtimes. It feels a little bit like tucking in for an impending weather event, I suppose.

We expect dad to be very sleepy in the coming days, and the medications that help with nausea do make him extra drowsy. He seems to sleep peacefully, and we relish the moments when his eyes open with a twinkle and he offers a bit of wisdom, a loving comment or a cute joke--When the nurses ask to "take a listen" with the stethoscope he usually offers, "Shall I sing?"

Mom looks forward to playing her piano for him to hear. She's been practicing, "I'll be home for Christmas." If you want to pray or meditate good vibes our way, send us sweet dreams so that we can rest in a loving nest of peacefulness."

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