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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon
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March 2014
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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon [userpic]
It's that time of year again.

The time of year when we're supposed to be happy and excited because Christmas is coming. With my birthday coming up next week, I should be thrilled, right?

Except I'm not.

'Cause next Tuesday is the anniversary of step-dad's death. And after that, hooray, my birthday. With the whole thing about invidereliana and sapphsmum I'm happy to be doing something to contribute, but right this moment I'm remembering two nights before my birthday in 1999 and dad entering that last fugue state where he couldn't recognize us.

There were funny parts, like when he put on his hat in order to go out, completely oblivious that he was just in his boxers. And when he put another hat on top of it, unaware that his head was already sheltered from the cold.

He had this big, goofy smile that said he was in a happier place, even though he could barely tell we were there, or where he was. He kept laughing, as if at jokes only he could hear. It was beautiful and somehow tragic, the reduction of a man of keen intellect to face with an oddly vacant grin. It was horrible to know that the man we had known might never speak to us again, or say goodbye. Yet it was wonderful to see him so happy, with that transparent, glorious joy you usually only see in enraptured children.

The trip to the nursing home, once the decision had been made that we could not care for him at home was agonizing. They sedated him, and listening to his pained breathing, to the rattle in his chest... That was when we really understood that death was coming. Not that we didn't know -- he had been diagnosed as terminal in late June -- but that rattle as he breathed, that death rattle you read about but can't really imagine until you hear it, it made it so real... so immediate. His pain was clear, even with him drugged so far into unconsciousness that I doubt he could hear us... either the pleas for him to stay... or, finally, the permission, the blessing to go.

My inability to stay awake after almost thirty-two hours of fear and frustration haunts me. My mom waited death out, listened to each breath, each pained rasp. And she did it alone.

I have a lot of guilt about that, about not being strong enough to stay. It isn't enough that I held it together afterward. I know that I helped keep her going, but that I couldn't stay then. Intellectually, I know that it wasn't expected for him to die quite as soon as he did... that the physical need to sleep had me passing out in the chair. But she did it. And she did it alone.

It was a work day. She'd been forced to retire in September and none of her friends could be there for her. I should have been.

I know she's forgiven me for it. Someday I might forgive myself.

No matter.

I love the holiday season, the showcase of human generosity that we see, even with the rampant commercialism of Christmas. It's wonderful to know that I have in some small way contributed to making another person's Christmas a little brighter, maybe a bit shinier. But I will say this, even after the holidays are over, if y'all are going to buy something at Amazon, please do it through the 4christina site. And remember if you've got a couple of bucks kicking around later, when the wolves of December have yeilded to the lambs of April, Christina will still need help. I don't want to forget that Christmas comes only once a year... and hospital visits can happen year round.

Current Mood: melancholymelancholy

I couldn't sleep because of pain so I'm waiting for the vicodan to kick in and thought I'd try to get my mind off my troubles by trying to find a few Christmas wishes to grant. I'm still trying to find my way around LJ but I did get here. Maybe fate sent me here......
As I read your post here it reminds me of my own Mom's death. In fact a lot of it I could have written almost verbatim. My Mom was such a strong, beautiful woman and it was horrifying to watch her die off piece by piece as the lung cancer ate into her brain and took her away.
She died in my arms and I feel I was given the most precious gift. Here was the woman that held me when I came into this world and I was holding her as she left. I was able to give her the warmth and love she had given me all my life as she left this world.
Believe me she left the world a better place for her prsence here.

My dear FIL died on September 17 this year. He just kept hanging in there after a massive stroke. He was in the hospital and then went home with hospice helping. The family did not know how long it would be and I couldn't go up to see him that last week because I couldn't drive. On September 17, I just felt I had to get up there to their house to be with him for what I instinctively knew was his last day. Finally my hubby came home and got me and we went to be with his mother and siblings.
As I sat by his bed, one of his daughters was with me we were talking and I took a stuffed animal he had gotten from fellow police officers and placed it on his hand, the type of ones they give usually to kids on calls to help calm them. I told his daughter well this bear should have angel wings because he has cerainly earned them. He took his last breath, and was gone.
Was I meant to be there? I don't know.
I know I loved and respected this man dearly. He was a honorable man who served us as a police officer for 23 years. And a good cop, not one of the ones you see or here about abusing his power. We had a good relationship and he treated me as one of his daughters.
The point of these two stories is, that no one knows Vasaris when the hour will come. Maybe he wanted to spare you those last moments and that is why he waited til you were asleep?
Do not blame yourself for being human. He could have lived another 24 hours. You had to sleep sometime.
I have witnessed many loved ones die. Too many for me. But there seems to be a logic to their death. Business must be finished before they go and sometimes they hang in there long past what doctors or family think just to finish that business.He may have wanted to be alone wit your Mother. Who knows?
You can't go through life blaming yourself. You did all you could from the sound of what you write. Give yourself a gift of peace this Christmas, and a gift from your father for your birthday. Let this pain go. I know as a parent I would not want my children to be as burdened as you are for what you are beating yourself over. I know your Dad would not want this either!
Please give yourself a huge Hug and let go of the pain so you can enjoy the happy memories of him more sweetly.
Hugs from me and Happy Birthday a bit early!

*watery smile* Thank you. Maybe he did. Just as he may have chosen to let go so it wouldn't happen on my birthday. I'll try to remember that, that it was a gift.

*hugs* Thank you. I hope you have a very merry Christmas indeed, my lady, and much good news in the new year.


Anyone who's gone through the pain of watching the most important people in their lives fall apart will tell you how vivid and true this entry is. Please forgive yourself. I took care of my father and heard his last, agonizing breaths; being there for the end didn't make it any better. You were there the way that matters and I hope you'll be able to feel that in your heart sooner rather than later.

*hugs again*

*hugs back*

I'll try. I hadn't realized just how guilty I felt until I wrote that. It's not exactly something I can discuss easily with my mother. Not yet, anyway, as she's only really started coming out of the depression his death sent her into in the last year or so.

I am sorry for your loss too -- that must have been terrible. *hugs some more* *and once more for good measure*

And to cheer us up, Cthulhu has put on a santa hat and is considering witty sayings. Much love to teh_tentacled_one for his efforts.

Not being able to talk to your mum about it makes it that much harder but I think you're right that it's not time yet. You'll know when it is. In the meantime, write — it helped me enormously.

And yes, it is lovely to see a santa hat on the most terrifying destructive force of the universe :D Surely you've seen these, one of which has a star turn here?

OMG. No. Many moons ago I was given a plush and cuddly cthulhu (who is verry, verrry cool) that looks like he's a prototype for these guys. I gots to put enough money together to collect 'em. Those are *sooo* neat.


Thanks for the links. *HUGS* That made my day. You're the best :)

Pshaw *blushes*

Happy to oblige *hugs back*. A good laugh does wonders. And credit where it's due: metafilter (which beats boing-boing in the wonderful department as far as I'm concerned) posted the story's link a while back.