Papa is with God. He left us last night just before ten. Mimi had been with him most of the day, and the rest of us had been with him for much of the evening. When we got to Hospice, the change from yesterday was surprising and dramatic. He did not eat anything yesterday, was mostly sleeping, having more labored breathing and only responded with effort when prompted.
We all left to go home around 8:30, and took Mimi home and then did a few helpful things there. We were at our house maybe a half hour when the phone rang and it was the nurse from Hospice, named Hope, who told us that she had just gone into his room to check on him and he was gone. It was about ten of ten. We drove over to Mimi’s and told her in person, and asked her if she wanted to go back to Hospice to see his body—she said no, which was the right decision. We also asked did she want to come to our house to sleep or have one of us stay there and she said no.
So today will be one of making arrangements. I do not know what Mom will decide. I have some ideas, but will see what she is thinking, and go from there.
I am so grateful that he had such a good day on Sunday, so that everyone had interaction time with him, and he was able to truly enjoy them being there. He had three good meals, and really loved his vanilla pudding at supper time Sunday. Taylor was there for part of the day and in addition to all the family, some dear friends, too. He was obviously feeling much better than he had on Saturday in the hospital, and was sitting up in the bed smiling. Of course people often do rally when the end is near, and this must have been what was happening on Sunday. But we just thought he had found some new strength that might sustain him for some little while.
I was reflecting with Judy that on Saturday when he was so uncomfortable and we all hurried to be there, he did say his I love you and good bye to each one of us. He had also told Judy that he did not want Mimi to see him die or after he was dead. it is good that the kids especially will now have that memory of his speaking to each of them, and telling them he loved them.
When he was admitted to Hospice, they gave Mimi a booklet about what signs pointed to the fact that death was near, starring about three months out. Last night when we got back from being with Papa, after we headed home, she did a breathing treatment before bed, and as she was doing it, she was reading the booklet. Then, after we went over to tell her the news, she told us she had been reading the booklet and that she could see times in the past three months that pointed to what was happening, including his loss of interest in the political news, which he had been following eagerly up till then. He also had told her that he had a goal of reaching his 94th birthday, which he did. She said, “I’m mad at myself that I did not read the book as soon as they gave it to me (Saturday night)”. I asked her if she would have felt any different about things had she read it sooner. She wasn’t sure.
The Hospice people were very good with both of them and all of us. I will say that the daytime nurse did not give us any clues that the time was as close as it was. The night nurse who came on at 7 spoke of his labored breathing as “part of the process” which we all understood. But she also said that his vitals had not changed, giving us the indication that while the end was approaching it did not sound as if it would be anytime soon. So it made sense for us to go home. I think maybe he was waiting for us to go, to leave us.
Mimi said several times over this weekend and again last night “We’ve had ten wonderful years here in Florida” and as we were talking with her on the phone when we were driving back to our house the last time last night she said, “You wish you could go on to the end together… but you can’t."
So we will go through the day step by step today. Thanks for your prayers as we do so.
John and Judy