Remembering My Father

It was seven years ago today that I sat in a small room at a hospice in Baltimore, Maryland and watched my father take his last breath.

He had small cell cancer from a lifetime of smoking and drinking. The doctors had declared it terminal less than a year before. My Mom took care of him from home and for the last couple of months, my wife, Tia, and I stayed with them to help.

It is immeasurably difficult to watch a loved one deteriorate in the way that he did. To go from someone you can sit and talk with about the latest British mystery show running on PBS (his favorite topic) to someone who would just sit on the couch, cigarette in one hand (often unlit), beer in the other, doped to the gills on morphine and unable to speak while his body ate him away from the inside.

The transition was quick, only a few weeks and he no longer seemed to know who we were or where he was. As all signs of the man I knew slipped away, we decided to move him to the hospice. We felt the quality of his life, for his last few days, would be better under professional care. It was not an easy decision.

An ambulance took him to the facility and my mother, Tia and I followed after. It took about an hour to get him checked in and settled into his room. He sat on the edge of the bed like it was his couch and his fingers, clutched at an imaginary cigarette, went to his lips, again and again.

 

It was very late, or very early I suppose, and we had left the house without money or food. I told Mom and Tia to go back to the house, to eat and get cleaned up. I told them that I’d wait with Dad.

I watched him while they were gone. Vacantly staring straight ahead, totally oblivious to me, his breathing ragged, in and out, in and out, in and out,…. Then it stopped. No warning, no other sign, just one second he was breathing, the next, he was gone.

I don’t remember much of what followed. I know that a nurse led me from his room, that Tia and my Mother returned and that they took me home, but those memories exist in a kind of haze.

I thought that the memory of his death and the month of pain that preceded it would eventually fade, that the memories would become easier to deal with as time passed. It hasn’t worked that way, for me. It some ways, those moments have grown sharper and more painful.

I still purposefully face those memories every year, allowing the pain so that I can remember the good moments. The times we sat on the porch, chatting and drinking a beer, the times we spent watching Sherlock Holmes or Inspector Morse, the times (few as they were) that we went fishing.

My father and I, we were very different people. We didn’t have much in common, didn’t spend much time together. I’ll have my regrets about that for the rest of my life.

He had his flaws, we all do, but Bobby Gene Glover was a good man, and I miss him.

13 thoughts on “Remembering My Father

  1. Having watched my father pass almost the same way I can feel a little of what you are feeling.  Remembering can be painful but recalling the life time spent with him before the end is the most precious thing I have.

  2. I have plenty of empathy for you and have some good points to take away from this post. I hope you find a way to ease the pain. I try to remember positive and happy thoughts of passed friends and it helps.

  3. I understand what you mean. I also lost my father in 2001. He had large cell cancer. Watching him take his last breath, surrounded by his family was very difficult, to say the least. Time does help heal the pain somewhat, but I still feel angry at his diagnosis, deterioration and eventual passing 7 months later. And even 7 years later, I often can’t believe that he’s not around anymore. He was such a large presence in the family and he is so dearly missed.

  4. Well, Moloch, one day it’ll be their turn….I wonder if you’ll find it so funny then. You sound like you’re nothing but trash with an IQ of 5 and you have nothing better to do in life than to hurt people. Loser.

  5. Moloch, quite frankly you are a blot on the face of mankind. I do not see why you post here, as, assuming that you have made other similar posts, it is obvious that you have niether the respect nor the acceptance of others here.

  6. Les, I can relate as my mother in law had cancer (smoker) and my wife and I watched her last breath, very hard…my dad also died at a young age (49)…the night before my dad died he was sitting on the porch and I snubbed him (like any punk 20 year old)..i still see that image every day of him sitting on the porch..don’t know what else to day…

  7. Tydas, this was a guest post by KPG.

    My own father died when I was five so I have very little in the way of memories of him myself. Just vague emotional impressions.

  8. My empathy, too.  My friend (who happened to be my mother in law) died in hospital from lung cancer.  We only had the comfort of knowing we were following her wishes when we had them pull the tube and spent the last few minutes of her life with her.  It’s been ten years since, and every year on the anniversary of her passing, I cook a meal that she would have made for my husband for his birthday or some other special occasion.  It’s a way of keeping a little of her alive for both of us.

  9. A Native American told his grandson, “I have two wolves fighting inside me. One is viscious, hateful, a destroyer of all that is good. The other is wonderful, loving, and brings joy to our life.” After a few minutes, the grandson asked, “Grandpa, which wolf wins?” He answered, “The one I feed!” We become victims when we feed the part of us that remembers saddness and pain. We overcome that suffering when we remember the good times and actively do things to help others have good times. Cubiclegrrl’s ceremony is a positive way of remembering and brings warm feelings. Try to find something similar to ease the pain.

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