Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Crossing the Bridge I Never wanted to Cross

Hallowell Covered Bridge - Madison County

I always knew this was coming.  From the time I was a very little girl, I was regularly reminded that my parents were OLD.  I knew my childhood with my older parents was different than all my friends.  I knew there were plenty of things they could not do with me that they talked about doing with my older brothers and sisters.  I knew I missed out on all the FUN my brothers and sisters had growing up together.  But I had something they didn't have.  TIME alone with Mom and Dad every day!

If life is a road we travel down, it it sometimes rough.  Sometimes it has hidden curves we don't expect.  Sometimes the road is completely gone from under us and we have to cross a bridge.  The bridge I am thinking of is the bridge of losing my parents.  I have dreaded it since I was a little girl. {I thought they were going to die of old age when I was in elementary school, haha!}

On the 4th of July I could see the bridge in the distance.  I sensed that this was Dad's last 4th of July parade.  A week later he fell, and as a result of his pain, his eating was dropped to barely enough to survive.  He talked of dying on a regular basis.  At the end of October that bridge became much closer when Dad was hospitalized with congestive heart failure.  I had a feeling he would make it past Christmas when he could see his family together one last time, then go.  "Christmas" was postponed to January 11 due to weather.  January 10 he was hospitalized again, with congestive heart failure. The hospital said they had never seen so many visitors for one person before. After the draining of the fluids he was sent home to Hospice care because there was "nothing they could do to help him."

We visited him the next day and took lots of pictures with Grandpa... each one of us.  By Saturday the decline was huge.  He didn't recognize me at first. {OUCH!}  Monday he was admitted into the nursing home because he could no longer get himself up to use the bathroom.  For 12 days he laid in bed, mostly sleeping, but showing love until he completely lost control of his body and speech.  Finally on Friday, January 31, 3:30 pm, with his loving wife of 68 years, his two youngest daughters and his only living son at his side, he breathed his last.  RELEASED! from the arthritis pain he suffered with for decades, the shortness of breath he suffered due to a lung mass and fluid in his lungs.  NO more pain.  NO more sorrow.

I am so thankful to have had my parents this long!  Mom was 45 and Dad 51 when I was born!  I never imagined that my own sweet babies would be so blessed as to have memories with them, but they do.  Sweet memories.  Not of Grandpa taking them fishing, or Grandma fixing a fabulous Sunday dinner like their older cousins remember... but knowing that even from their lift chairs, Grandma & Grandpa loved them and were always interested in what they had to say or show them.  It has been hard on all of us, without exception.  

You will be missed, Fillmore Donald Dale!  But we will never forget your smile, your laugh, they way you would always acted like you were going to bite us if we got near your mouth... or your unconditional love.

Mama is so heartbroken, she feels lost.  We are doing our best to show her love and help where possible, but the emptiness has no relief.  It is always there.  That is a lot of pain and stress for a frail 88 year old woman.  As we finish crossing this bridge and put our feet on the ground again after the funeral, another bridge appears in the distance.

NOTE:  At one time, Dad lived up the hill and around the corner from the Holliwell Bridge in Madison County, Iowa.

No comments:

Post a Comment