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Life Changes

I had a whole day of knitting planned for yesterday. Dale was going to be leaving first thing in the morning to go to a living history in Connecticut. Hannah was still on Martha’s Vineyard and I was looking forward to a day to myself so I could knit, with occasional breaks for spinning and perhaps even blocking the Adamas Shawl.

And then my phone rang at 7:30 am. And it was my stepbrother’s wife, calling to tell me that they were at the hospital with my dad and it looked like he was nearing the end of his life. One simple phone call and everything changed. Not just my plans for the day or my plans for the next few days but really for the rest of my life.

I was able to reach Dale on the road (what did we do before cell phones?) and we were at the hospital at 8:45. We had a visit with my dad, he was awake and talking, but he continued to grow weaker and less responsive as the day went on. The family gathered: both my stepbrothers and their wives as well as their children, my stepsister and her family and stepcousins and basically anyone who wanted to be able to say goodbye was able to do so. There were stories told and there was teasing and sharing and not just a few tears. Just about the time we were wondering if perhaps we should make plans for leaving and taking turns being in his room my dad’s breathing changed significantly. And at 7:30 pm, right after the Red Sox game ended, my dad quietly passed away.

Ours had been a complex and sometimes difficult relationship. Technically, he was my stepfather, but he had been in my life since I was 4 and married to my mother since I was 6, so that term seems inadequate and disrespectful for someone who always acted just like a “real” father. I adored him when I was a child, couldn’t stand him when I was a teenager and young adult, and quite frankly resented him when my mother died 8 years ago. Somewhere over the last few years I accepted him for who he was, faults and all, just as he accepted me and all my faults many years ago. Isn’t it funny how life comes full circle?

And now the business of death takes over – the arrangements and plans and ceremonies that serve to distract us for a few days – while we learn to cope with the loss. This wasn’t really unexpected as he had been in the hospital for the past several months and he lived a full life of 83 years up until that time. But even so, it’s life altering.

This Post Has 119 Comments

  1. I’m so sorry. The missing is so unbearable sometimes. I’m glad that you were able to love and respect one another for who you were before it was too late. Hugs to you and your family!

  2. Oh Carole, I am so sorry for your loss. My mom remarried when I was young too. So I understand your feelings a bit. Hugs to you m’dear. And lots of love too.

  3. Carole, I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. Take care.

  4. I’m so sorry about the loss of your dad. I’m glad you and your siblings were able to be with him in the final moments and that it was peaceful.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your today.

  5. I’m sorry, hun. Take whatever time you need to get used to the change. We’ll be right here when you get back. And I’m just an e-mail away. *hug*

  6. I am very sorry to hear of your loss. My own father died in June this year, and I still feel it most keenly. Hugs to you and your family.

  7. I think most relationships are complex, sometimes mysterious things. I think you are both lucky that you were able to come full circle by learning to just accept each other for who you are. It’s all we can ever ask of anyone – just accept me. Just love me.

    My condolences on your loss, Carole.


  8. So sorry for your loss, Carole. I’m glad that you were able to accept your father in his complicated form………perhaps you can teach me this.


  9. Family relationships, relationships in general are so complex and so wonderful and so hard, and then you lose someone, and for a while it’s even harder… thinking of you today… keep your family, blood and otherwsie, close these next days.

  10. Carole, I’m going to add my sympathies to all the other bloggers. Hang in ther during what is sure to be a tough week, month, season, year…I am with you.

  11. So sorry for your loss, but it sounds like his full life ended somewhat well and your family was able to relish the time and sorrow together. That is always precious to have the positive memories at the end.

  12. I am sorry to hear of the news. I know how hard it is to lose the people in your immediate family. I hope that the greiving period is as long as neccessary and no longer. Good luck.

  13. I’m sorry for your loss.

    It should comfort you that you were there at the end. Whatever came before was washed away.

    My thoughts are with you.

  14. I am so sorry for your great loss, Carole. Please know that I am sending hugs as fast as I can send them.
    love you, be strong, remember

  15. Carole, I’m so sorry for you loss! I’m glad you had the chance to see him and say your goodbyes, though. You’ll be in my thoughts.

  16. I’m so sorry, Carole. Your post about him is a tribute to who he was and to who you are too. I’m sending warm healing vibes for your family, along with much love.

  17. My heart goes out to you and your family. It’s never easy losing a loved one, even when it’sw been anticipated.

    I’m sure having his loved ones gathered made his transition easier, and it may have offered some closure for all of you.

    You are in my thoughts. Thank you for sharing this small tribute with us.

  18. Carole, I’m so sorry. Thank you for sharing with us. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.

  19. I am glad that your father was surrounded by so many who loved him in the final hours of his life.

    I hope those same loved ones and the many memories you all share of him will provide you with some measure of comfort. I wish you and you family strength, healing, and peace.

  20. I’m so sorry, Carole. But what a lovely entry. And I’m so glad the timing worked the way it did, so you could all be there.

  21. Carole, I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. Please, if there is anything I can do, do not hesitate to call me. …sending hugs your way.

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