Jan. 4, 2013
As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. – 2 Timothy 4:6
Some may have noticed I’ve missed a few days’ blogs. My intention was to blog daily until Epiphany on Jan. 6. Let me share how God has showed up in my life these past few days in a profound way.
A week ago today, my Dad came home from the nursing home, enrolled in Hospice. He wanted to spend his last time at home. While the nursing home was OK, Dad considered it “an expensive bed and breakfast.” We transformed the dining room into a bedroom with a hospital bed to make life as comfortable as possible.
When Dad came home, my Mom was in the hospital with her third round of cellulitis in six weeks. While I have a sister who lives in the same town as my parents, my sisters and I knew we had to work together and assembled a schedule to take turns caring for our parents.
My shift began Sunday afternoon and I stayed until Tuesday noon. The last twelve hours, Dad changed considerably. I asked my sister Debbie to let me know if Dad changed as quickly the next 24 hours. Wednesday morning, I wasn’t feeling well. By afternoon, I had the stomach flu. When Debbie contacted me Wednesday evening with questions about Dad’s care, I wanted to hop in the car and drop north. Physically, I couldn’t. Denise arrived late Wednesday night so she was there.
When the Hospice nurse arrived Thursday morning, she advised Debbie to tell me to come, sick or not. Rick and I threw a few things together and headed north. When we arrived, care needs had shifted.
Since Debbie and Denise were running on very little sleep, I quickly volunteered to stay up with Dad Thursday night. About 9 PM, Dad asked for hot tea, the first he’d really ate all day. A few well-dunked cookies later, he wanted to split a grilled cheese sandwich with Rick. I was wondering if I had jumped the gun in getting this Sunday’s service covered. When a family friend came later, I had forgone a couple medication rounds because he had been alert and eating. But then, Dad moved into another stage. I began setting my cell phone alarm on very regular intervals for medication. After a while, he quieted down.
Early this morning, his coloring began to change. I knew this was another stage. A family friend arrived at 8:30 AM to provide a little relief. Celeste and I medicated Dad, did some personal care and waited for the Hospice nurse. When the nurse arrived, Mom sat in a chair close to Dad and held his hand. As the nurse began listening for his heart, I knelt next to Dad. Slowly, I realized a peace came over him. The nurse took a long time registering his heartbeat. She tried another location. I asked if it was time to turn off the oxygen concentrator and she nodded her head. Dad departed terribly peaceful, while family members sat in the kitchen jokingly and heartily eating blueberry pancakes.
This is not the first time I have been present at the time of a soul’s departure. Certainly, it will be one of the more memorable. Throughout the night, I prayed for peaceful departure. Thank you, Lord God, for answering my prayer in such a profound way. This experience has confirmed in me how Great is Our God.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for showing up at the Deaton household today. Thanks simply is not enough. Amen.