January 31, 2009

Dad


I haven't written a post in a long time. Many reasons. First, life has been busy with work, family and training. And secondly, because I just haven't felt up to it. My Dad passed away on January 17 at the age of 86. Two weeks ago today. And I felt I could get back to writing this thing without first mentioning it.

His last 18 months of life hadn't been very good. In August of 2007, he entered a nursing home after falling and dislocating his artificial hip. Unfortunately, they were not able to operate to replace it because of his age and the weakness of his heart. So, he was confined to a wheelchair. And that was just not good a good scenario for him. He was a life long athlete, a very independent person and strong as an ox. To see him in a position of weakness was not right. His mind was starting to go as well so he had the beginnings of dementia, which, in a strange way was almost better for his physical condition. He simply thought everyday in the nursing home was his first and his last. He had lost track of time.
The last few days were tough on everyone as they were spent by his bed in a local hospice. Hospice is end of life care so there are no needles, no IV's, no nutrition to keep him alive. Only oxygen and morphine. The staff of the hospice was wonderful. And what I learned during his ordeal is that you have to be a very special person to work in a hospice. Everyone was very comforting and very positive.

At around 6:45 PM on Saturday night, I left the room with my brother Al and my nephew Glenn saying goodbye to my Father for the last time. My father's breathing had become very labored. In fact, the nurse said that his mind was elsewhere now and it was a matter of time before his body would give out. At 12:10 AM Sunday morning, Al called to give me the news. Of course I knew right away. The ring of the phone has a diiferent tone when someone is calling with bad news.
Although, I know my Father is in a better place now and his pain has ended, it's tough to comprehend. I have had much younger family members die before but a parent is different no matter what age. I think it's the feeling of exposure. One of the people responsible for bringing you into the world is now no longer here. Even though I am grown and with a family of my own, I feel a little less protected now that he is gone.

All I am is a middle of the pack, 47 year old amateur triathlete. But, what the heck, I will dedicate my races to my Dad this year. No one will notice. No one will really care. And that's fine with me. And maybe as I cross the finish line at Lake Placid in July, I'll point to the sky like major league baseball players do after they cross homeplate.

4 comments:

Melanie said...

wow, i'm so sorry to hear about your dad. Dedicating this year's races to him is a great idea, and i'm sure he'll be with you every step of the way :)

Leah said...

I am so sorry for your loss. You father sounds like he was a wonderful man and an inspiration. I think dedicating your racing year to him is a perfect tribute.

Sonia said...

So sorry to read about your Dad's passing... =( I haven't lost a parent yet but I can see how hard it must be. You will honor him at every race =)

Dan Seifring said...

Very sorry for your loss. He will be with you in your races for sure.