Eleven years ago, I walked the journey of letting go with my dad as he spent the last two weeks of his life in the hospital. I have been transported back to that time and place often over the past couple days. I remember sitting with him just thinking of all he meant to me. Today has been a lot of the same kind of thinking.
Has it really only been 14 hours since I got out of bed this morning? It feels like this day has been 40 hours long. Tim has struggled with being uncomfortable most of the day. I think in his spirit he is ready to be with Jesus, but his body is still that of a 40 year old, and it isn’t ready to give up the fight just yet.
Between the carbon dioxide toxicity and the combination of meds he is receiving (methadone, morphine, lorazepam, and baclofen), he should be sleeping constantly. Yet, he is forcing his eyes open a lot. He pushes to stay awake. His body is in a fight mode that he is not able to turn off. He is long past the point of complete exhaustion, and still he cannot get any decent sleep.
He has been uncomfortable most of the day. He is very dry, but is still dealing with a lot of mucus build up. The nurse heard a lot of congestion (commonly called the death rattle) in his lungs today. He does not have the strength it takes to cough anything out, so it all keeps sinking into his lungs now.
Tim’s friends, Mark and Kurt, have become a welcome reprieve for Tim. They come every day and spend a little time with Tim. No matter how rough things are going before they get here, Tim always calms down when they come in. I have welcomed them in gratefully every day as it gives me a bit of time to get other things done (like making supper).
Tonight at bedtime, I prompted the boys to spend a few minutes with Tim. Both Micah and Simon took their turns saying their special something to Tim. Today they just think that was really hard. What they don’t realize is that 10 or 15 years from now, they will be able to look back and be so thankful they said a few last special words to their dad. Luke had already done something like this a few nights ago. I’m so proud of them all.
And now, I am off to sit with Tim for a while. I, too, will say my special few words with him. And hopefully, he will carry them with him to heaven soon. His suffering here on earth carries no further purpose. He has run this long and hard race – he has kept his faith. Lord, please welcome Tim to you and give him his reward – eternal life with you.