Death. Its a thing that eventually, all of us will go through someday. Some of us, sooner than others. The last few weeks I had done wonderful on posting more, and more often, and then suddenly, I kind of dropped in contact for a few days, and I wish to let you know that me and baby are okay! That’s the good news anyways. The bad news, is that on Friday, the 20th, I got a call from Doctors Community Hospital in MD. My father was suffering from Liver Failure to due to his cancer spreading all over the place. I immediate called my mother, followed by his sister. We had to come up with a plan.
We spoke off and on that day, and decided my aunt would go with me to MD. Our flight left Sunday via Sacramento, so we were going to go to Sac on Saturday and spend the night. And awoke Sunday Morning at 2am, so we could make it to the airport by 3am. The closer it got the leaving the colder feet I got but I knew I needed to go. It wasn’t about me at that point, it was about my dad. And taking care of the stuff that he couldn’t at this point, and saying my goodbyes. I hadn’t seen him in 4 years and the last time I did he smelled like, well dad. The old scent of Tobacco and diesel, along with a little grease. That was what dad’s smelled like to me.
We got into Maryland around 6pm that night and went straight to the hospital. We found my dads room immedatley just by the sound of the nurses “Mr Brooks, you need your treatment” This meant he was being stubborn. Yep. My dads room alright. The nurses saw me and immeatley knew I was his daughter. Which I found odd being that I never thought we looked alike. They told me I was free to go in, which I did with my aunt. We held back tears as he was awake and alert. His sparkling blue eyes he used to have had turned Grey however, and it didn’t seem like he recognized me. In some sense, I was too late. The hands which had worked in grease and trucks were no longer stained, but they were white. Under his nail-beds were clean, although some were bloody.
We stayed there until approx 10 pm. I had dinner there, and then we went to the place where my father lived and chatted with his friends a bit, and then we cleaned his room. At least enough to go to bed that night. Once we found one thing we got carried away however. We finally went to bed when we noticed the clock read 1 am. But I couldn’t sleep. So being that it was only like 11 pm or so in California I spoke to my husband via google hangouts until he went to bed.
The next day was a big one. We had to go to Ryder, visit my dad, and I had to sign paperwork. And he was to be moved to a hospice facility. And going through and selling his train memorabilia. It was going to be a long few days, and we didn’t even know how long we would be there. We went to the hospital after getting a rental car and having breakfast. We may have even gone to Ryder first as well. The memories kind of get jumbled together due to lack of sleep. When we went to sleep we spoke to his doctor and Cancer Navigator, as well as a social worker. I signed the paperwork to get him in the facility and it was at that point that I felt this rush of responsibility, and not like the same kind as being a parent, but it was different. I didn’t have time to be sad, or miserable and depressed. I could feel my spirits up above pull me up and remind me that my dad, while unable to tell me himself, would have wanted me to stay strong, and do what I needed to do for himself. I had to be strong. Just like he raised me to be.
After we signed paperwork, we finished our errands, and went back to the hospital around 6pm. They were getting him ready for his last travel. My aunt followed the ambulance, and when we lost them, we followed google maps to the hospital. By the time we got there dad was in a room and they were checking his vitals. He had refused oxygen, so they didn’t force it upon him, and just gave him morphine and adavian to help with pain. It seemed to put him to sleep. And as my aunt spoke on the phone, I just had this feeling it would be the last time I saw him alive. It hurt. But I had to be prepared. And when she was off the phone, it was time to go. We gave him a kiss on top of his head, and spoke our last words to him. We both lost it a bit, but kept strong on our way home. That night, once we got back, I am pretty sure we went to bed rather soon after getting back, but neither of us could sleep. And thats when it hit. 2am. A train horn. But this one seemed much louder than usual. Our guts told us that it was my father saying goodbye. And in the morning, I awoke to 10 missed calls from the hospital, and my aunt, didn’t even have her phone, which was rare for her. We both felt like my father didn’t want anyone there with him when he passed, not wanting us to see him in such a state. Which I’m sure she was right about that.
So now, it was time to pick a place. Luckily, we had a list of places to choose from and we chose a simple direct crematorium, as it was affordable, and any memorials we would have for him would be done in California anyways. I also chose a rush job as I wanted to take him home with me. Something I had promised him I would do.
We signed the paperwork, and I identified him. He looked so much more like himself. It was amazing. The mouth which used to fill his false teeth was full, as if he was just sleeping. His eyes closed and his belly, not swollen at all. He looked, like well. My dad. It was a heartbreaking experience but in the end I’m glad they had me do it. It gave me one final look at my dad. No longer in pain, no longer looking sickly. He looked like the man I remembered. And I’m glad that was the final time I saw him.
The rest of the days were spent finishing errands and selling his items, as well as trying out the local cuisine and stopping by McDonald’s for a Frape. We wound up flying home on Thursday the 26th. And actually stepped foot into my home at 2am Friday the 27th. Now that I’m home, its time to finish up the things he still had here and get my mother into a better, healthier home. I wish this didn’t have to be the way that it was, but in life, nothing goes as planned.