Eulogy On Death and Dying the business of life.

The cycles of nature require death, but they are senseless to the way we ultimately get there. Indeed, dying is an uneasy prospect and one of which we do not wish to be reminded. Life simply crawls to its end, irrevocably and without discrimination.

One thing that has stuck in my mind since the news of my father's death last Tuesday, is that relationships usually don't change when people are faced with bad news. That's why it's important to build on the strengths and not the weaknesses of a relationship that are in place before an illness comes about, before they are gone, or you may end up having regrets.

I've also learned it's important to be open to possibilities during a time as dynamic as that is. Sometimes people experience healing in their relationships and find times like these to be some of the richest of their lives. Luckily, after being estranged off and on for years I think I found that with my father.

My dad had been very ill for quite some time. During the near 20 years since my mom passed away because of breast cancer, my father struggled with grieving her loss, suffered with bipolar disorder, and a host of other ailments, mostly brought about by his denial to care for himself, and consequently to care for me - an only child who not only grieved the loss of my mother, but the loss of my father at the same time.

My father really became physically ill around October of 2007, I had asked him earlier that year if he would like to try to move to Rhode Island and I could set him up here (here I go, regrets again). He said that a move at that time would have been too much for him. I concluded that he was right, but I still regret not doing it.

One day the following October, he had a fall at home. His caregiver found him on the floor the following morning. She called me to let me know what had happened. Not sure how long he had been sitting there, he had obviously been unable to get up during that time, she called for an ambulance whereupon he was admitted to the hospital until he was stable. Following this he was transferred to a local nursing home for "rehabilitation".

At this point I knew he needed round-the-clock care, so I applied for legal guardianship, which took months and months and ridiculous amounts of bullshit bureaucratic paperwork, money and wind-blowing before it was finally granted this past June.

My dad was a whirlwind at times. He was a veteran, but never took much advantage of his benefits. Having few friends, and being completely estranged from his own relatives, I'm surprised and sad that few came to his aid. He did have a lady friend he acquired in the past few years, apparently she kept in touch with letters and cards around the holidays. I'm sure this kept his spirits up.

As for me, I made as much effort on my part to ensure his quality of care, and make his last days as comfortable as possible. Rehabilitation should - if provided aggressively - can benefit an elderly person and enrich their quality of life. At least it is supposed to. The social workers at the facility weren't always responsive to my requests or phone calls, which was very frustrating.

To make matters worse the area in which he lived is still quite rural, so there weren't many options available to me. I made plenty of complaints with the local patient ombudsman, nursing home administrator, and medicare office until I was satisfied with the outcomes. But the problems were never completely resolved.

His host of other ailments included interstitial lung disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the latter which caused him to be hospitalized several times in the past year. Having difficulty breathing weakened him considerably, making falls much more likely as a result. As the disease progressed he was given a terminal diagnosis that October and given a year to live. Well he sure showed that doctor didn't he? He made it 14 months. So take that Dr. Dickhead. And his doctor was too. Worst bedside manner you could imagine.

Most recently, he was hospitalized a couple days before Thanksgiving. He had regular testing to check the oxygen saturation in his blood, on this occasion they were very very low, so staff thought he may have pneumonia and sent him to the ER. Following treatment at the hospital, he returned to the nursing center on Thanksgiving Day, but was returned to the hospital a few days later because he fell and dislocated his shoulder.

Upon hearing of this, I decided to transfer him to another facility while he was hospitalized for the second time in less than a month. Nursing homes are just absolutely horrid places at times. If you never have to put a loved one in such a place, please don't.

Well at any rate, my dad having just "celebrated" his 81st birthday on December 10 was probably too ill to care about any of the above.

My circumstances have been very complex over the years, the last 10 years I've gotten married, moved to four different states, and then 4 years ago my wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I've cared for her, worked full-time for an ambulance service, and attended school full-time to acquire my degree. I felt absolutely guilty, and undeniably horrible about my dad being in a nursing home to begin with.

Unfortunately, even though my father's occupation was oral surgery and dentistry, he did not save much money during his life for retirement or otherwise. My parents struggled as I grew up, and my family has struggled to make ends meet lately, just like anyone else not lucky enough to be blessed with wealth.

A few months ago I called him at the nursing home where he has been since October 2007, we had one of the best conversations I think we have ever had. We apologized to each other for things we had said to one another recently and over the years.

My father had not once officially apologized to me ever, at least not in the way he did that day. It brought significant closure to how I felt about many things in our relationship, and I think I fully and unconditionally forgave him that day. Not that I had ever stopped caring about or loving my dad, but at times dealing with things regarding my relationship with him, and the things he put me through on occasion was a great strain. But I don't truly feel he was ever a burden to me.

On Christmas Day I had my last words with him over the phone, since I'm nearly 2,000 miles from where he passed and didn't have a way to be there. I want to believe despite his horrible loss of hearing that he heard me when I said, "Merry Christmas Dad, I love you." He said, "Yes, thank you. Same to you."

Five days later he was found lying in bed, with no pulse. He went peacefully.

And once again, I grieve the loss of my father.

Sometimes, we can't find the words to describe how we feel. This happens to me quite often. And so I find that music often expresses those thoughts much better than I could communicate them at the moment.

Beside You In Time

by Nine Inch Nails

I am all alone this time around

Sometimes on the side I hear a sound

Places parallel I know it's you

Feel the little pieces bleeding through

And all this goes on

And on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on

This goes on

And on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on

Now that I've decided not to stay

I can feel me start to fade away

Everything is back where it belongs

I will be beside you before long, and on,

This goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on

This goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on

We will never die

Beside you in time

We will never die

Beside you in time

Right Where It Belongs

by Nine Inch Nails

See the animal in his cage that you built

Are you sure what side you're on?

Better not look him too closely in the eye

Are you sure what side of the glass you are on?

See the safety of the life you have built

Everything where it belongs

Feel the hollowness inside of your heart

And it's all

Right where it belongs

What if everything around you

Isn't quite as it seems?

What if all the world you think you know

Is an elaborate dream?

And if you look at your reflection

Is it all you want it to be?

What if you could look right through the cracks?

Would you find yourself

Find yourself afraid to see?

What if all the world's inside of your head

Just creations of your own?

Your devils and your gods

All the living and the dead

And you're really all alone?

You can live in this illusion

You can choose to believe

You keep looking but you can't find the woods

While you're hiding in the trees

What if everything around you

Isn't quite as it seems?

What if all the world you used to know

Is an elaborate dream?

And if you look at your reflection

Is it all you want it to be?

What if you could look right through the cracks

Would you find yourself

Find yourself afraid to see?

Say Hello 2 Heaven

by Temple of the Dog - feat. Chris Cornell

Please, mother mercy

Take me from this place

And the long winded curses

I keep hearing in my head

Words never listen

And teachers never learn

Now I'm warm from the candle

But I feel too cold to burn

He came from an island

And he died from the street

He hurt so bad like a soul breaking

But he never said nothing to me

So say hello to heaven

New like a baby

Lost like a prayer

The sky was your playground

But the cold ground was your bed

Poor stargazer

Shes got no tears in her eyes

Smooth like whisper

She knows that love heals all wounds with time

Now it seems like too much love

Is never enough, you better seek out

Another road cause this one has

Ended abrupt, say hello to heaven

I never wanted

To write these words down for you

With the pages of phrases

Of things well never do

So I blow out the candle, and

I put you to bed

Since you cant say to me

Now how the dogs broke your bone

There's just one thing left to be said

Say hello to heaven

Rest in peace dad. Even though I will truly miss you, and wish I could have been there in person to see you off, I know that you are in a better place. You and mom are now together. Enjoy your beautiful new life in the hereafter.

If you are still reading. Thanks for following me through this difficult time.

Life is funny, things always have a way of working out no matter how much we fret about them. Having an outlet is truly a blessing. I've been very lucky to have the opportunity to blog, and develop in a community of bloggers that most likely feel the same way. I think that blogging for me has been therapeutic, a really healthy way for me to express not only my sense of humor, but my frustrations with daily life and everything in between.

I want to thank those that have offered their condolences, and wish readers of Krapsody all the best. If I can offer any advice it is that life is too short to waste on trivial concerns or worry. Everything in life is a learning process, experience it and move on. You either grow or you don't. I spent too many years feeling sorry about my situation, worrying about what people think, paying this bill or that bill. Absolutely trivial! Life and death are to be celebrated - live hard, play hard, no regrets.

I promise I'll be back soon with my attempts at hilarity and my usual repartee..and less morbidness. Until then take care.


Majase Cyc said...

Sorry for your loss dude.

In many ways your story parallels my own with my father. Communication was not his strong suit (a strong, silent, tough motherfucker he was) and perhaps I inherited some of it myself.

Although we saw little of each other and didn't speak that much in later years, at least we never had any blow-outs or major problems. But that's not necessarily a good thing, at least we would have communicated.

Then, on Thanksgiving morning a few years ago, he passed after battling cancer. Yea, I wish now we would have talked more, but I guess it is what it is.

Anyway, I raise my glass to your courage with such a personal and poignant post my man.

Vashe Zdarovye!

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