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When real life intrudes

I've been a bit busy the last 24 hours, and my work here at Wizbang has suffered. I wanted to apologize, offer an explanation, and ask a favor of you kind folks.

Last month, I took a little vacation and visited my best friend and his family in Maryland. He and I will have known each other 20 years in a month or two, and in many ways we're closer than brothers. It was great seeing him and his family, and I had resigned myself to going back to communicating online and by phone (thank heavens for free nights and weekends) for a while again.

Well, yesterday morning, I picked him up at the airport, and I wish I could say I was glad he was here.

You see, his father's been living on borrowed time for decades. He's had health complications that have confounded doctors who gave him less than ten years to live since the 70s or so. They've issued dire prognosis after dire prognosis, and each time he's pleasantly surprised them by blithely going on.

But all streaks must come to an end.

My friend's father is in a hospice now, all medication and treatments except painkillers withdrawn. And my friend is here to bid farewell.

My friend worked until after midnight Thursday, then caught a 7:00 a.m. flight up from Baltimore. I picked him up at the airport, we found the hospice center, and then I went in to my job at noon. This morning I'll be back at work at 8:00 for a meeting, then I'll be at his beck and call until I drop him off at the airport tomorrow morning -- I'm working at 9:00, he at 2:00.

I have a few things I want to write about here, but I trust you'll all understand if those take a back seat over the next day or two. In the meantime, if any of you would like to include my friend (an occasional commenter, most recently as "Jay Paparazzo") and his father (and the father's other family members) in your thoughts and prayers, it would not be unwelcome.

UPDATE: My friend's father passed away at 5:15 this morning.


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Comments (7)

Sorry to hear this Jay. Co... (Below threshold)

Sorry to hear this Jay. Condolences.

Take all the time you need,... (Below threshold)

Take all the time you need, Jay, and my sympathy to your friend. Give him all the support you can.

He is in a better place now... (Below threshold)

He is in a better place now. May he rest in peace.


Hang tough Jay. I've been ... (Below threshold)
Bob Jones:

Hang tough Jay. I've been there and I'm sorry you are going through this.

My thoughts and prayers are... (Below threshold)
Margo Demers:

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you; please try and take comfort in the fact that his journey is at an end, and the pain is gone.

Take all the time needed. T... (Below threshold)

Take all the time needed. The best.

at 11:45 pm I got the call... (Below threshold)
the friend from MD:

at 11:45 pm I got the call, By midnight I was working to get on a plane to go up there, I knew he would be in the hospice by 9pm. I also knew it was a race against his disease. My dad had lived 23 years with a condition that killed normally after 5 years.. with 3 transplanted organs, 1 liver 2 kidneys.. arachnoiditis. ( a degenerative nerve disorder like MS) along with bouts of pnemonia and Hepititus b.. contracted from the blood of his first transplant back in 84. Consider how rough life would be, being on the medication, the painkillers.. the immunosuppressents.. All of this plus dialysis.. And he was still functioning with a reasonable alertness mentally. ( physically he was a wreak ) yet it was only in the last few months that he contracted a bacterial infection that consumed his strength. To fight off the HEp B and grow strong enough to be able to survive a transplant of my kidney ( which was his only chance) the treatment was like Chemo for cancer.

So I knew that I was racing time and money, My boss let me take the day with pay, JT was able to shift his stuff around to get me from the airport to the clinic, escorting a shaking man who was having trouble finding his damn phone in his jacket.

and then JT got me to the room.. and there he was ( oddly a strange relief went through me, I realized I was truely scared he would die before I could say Good bye.) His wife ( who has strength I must confess more then I have) let me have a few moments alone, I took them.. I saw him

It wasn't my father.. it was a body.. that was tired.. weakened. and past it's endurance.. My father wasn't really there anymore. I realized he was really with me.. my memories.. my up bringing.. even my ethics .. all shaped by his influence..

Yet there was still a spark of life, I could feel it in when I touched his hand and held it . I said what I needed to say. It wasn't long.. it wasn't particularly noteworthy here. It was however what I promised myself I would say. Some may think, why wait till death to say such things, I respond. because there are things that are closeing of chapters. The conclusion of a story that must end after you get to a certain point.

I watched his wife and my half sister, who still lived with him full time and had been directly involved in this for the last 23 years were torn between the loss and the wish for him to have peace. I felt very much the outsider to this, I had never been able to feel much connection to them before all this. They didn't intentionally exclude me in their grief, they were just used to going to each other. I actually was glad for that. It let me have my time with my father. That evening, after being there about 11 hours, we decided to let him rest and come back in the morning. They left the room.. I lingered behind. I stood at his head.. placed my hand apon his head.. and said the last word I would ever say to him alive

Good bye.

after arriving at their home, they went to bed. I had a bout of insomnia despite the frantic last few hours. Stargate SG1 and atlantis helped a while. so by 1 am I finally went to bed.. I seemed to scarcly close my eyes when His wife awoke me with the words.. Your Dad passed away

ironicly my first thought was that PHEW I got to say what I wanted to say

He passed on at 5:15 am that morning.

I looked at his body, No real tears.. a watering of my eyes.. but it was more to the pain I sensed from the two of them weeping. but inside.. I felt peace and acceptance. The pain had ended.

Now the survivors must endure his abscence.

Death with Dignity.. death in humilation. Death in pain . .death in peace. He lived in the pain, he endured the feeling of humilation of feeling his body go downhill.. Yet in the end. he won, he died in peace around loved ones.

and I am proud to be his only son






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