Thursday, August 9, 2007


Today is the 1st anniversary of my stepfather's death. It's not really affecting me as I don't normally pay attention to death anniversaries. But my mother, who moved in with us (which is also the time we moved here to Arizona), naturally is feeling a bit down. So we are going out for drinks when she gets off work. Drowning your sorrows - woohoo!

He was a psychiatrist and incredibly intelligent. He was 25 years older than my mother so she knew it was quite likely that he would die before she did. But it was a bit of a shock because it happened fairly quickly. He was diagnosed with lung cancer, which had metasticized from his kidney, last July. He died less than a month later in hospice. I flew out here for a couple weeks when he was admitted into the hospice inpatient unit. We didn't quite realize that it would be over soon - but he deteriorated rapidly and I thank god that I was able to be here for her and him...see him once last time.

Sh* I'm crying. What bothers me more than his dying...we WEREN'T THERE WHEN HE DIED. We had been doing the bedside vigil for a few days, but my mom and I were getting stressed so we decreased the amount of time we visited. It bothers me so much, I feel so guilty. I never asked if he died alone because I didn't want to know.

It's funny, we weren't very close. I hadn't actually seen him in a few years, just talked on the phone occasionally. When he and my mom met I was 15. We didn't get along very well (I was a tough teenager to deal with sometimes). We got a little closer when I got older (and more mature).

He had done amazing things in his life - he really led a full and exciting life. He backpacked through the uncharted areas of the Cascade Mountains, liked sailing, gourmet chef, was a pilot in the Royal Canadian Airforce. Amazing man. He was 86 when he died.


Midlife Midwife said...

Don't feel so bad about not being there when he died. Many hospice nurses will attest to the fact that some patients wait to die until the family have all left. Maybe they just don't want to have their families see them die.

My sympathies are with you and your mom today.

BillyBob said...

I don't know anything about your spiritual beliefs and the subject alone can open a can of worms, but when my loved one died, even if I had not been there, she would have not been alone. Something happened that night in the hospice that some of us recovering alcoholics call our *white light *experience. Anyway, I just believe that you weren't suppose to be there. My wife's mom did a similar thing,(waiting until we were gone). At any rate the experience left me drained of my human spirit, and she nearly took me with her. My heart goes out to you and your loved ones. Bobby