Our dad is dying. He is in his final days. My sister Angela is doing an amazing job caring for him in her home. She is overseeing care, administering medications and pain meds to keep him comfortable. She is meeting with social workers and hospice nurses and chaplains. And while she is exhausted and it has taken a toll mentally and physically, she is doing it all with grace, kindness and love.
Today, I had one task that I wished to accomplish. I took the day off of work, made sure I timed my long drive appropriately and made the trek north to my sister's home. I was there to hold his hand. That is all I planned on doing, and what a joy it was.
While he laid with his eyes closed, I told him I was there and touched his chest.
"Hi, dad. It's Kelli. I am here to see you. I love you."
I took his hand from where it rested on his stomach and held it until my fingers cramped. I do not know if he knew I was there. I do not know if he could understand everything I said to him today. But I do know that he could hear, and he heard what was important.
I told my dad that I loved him and I thanked him for being a great dad to me when I was a kid. I told him Angela and I will be okay. That we will miss him, but we will be fine. I told him my kids will be forever grateful that they got to see him last week and smile together. I acknowledge that he is in pain and it must be so hard to feel that way and not be able to communicate. I told him he doesn't need to fight any longer and that it is okay to go. That it is okay to just rest now. I gave him permission to not feel the need to hold on for us. Because it is his time.
My dad may live a few more days, maybe not even last the night. I am so thankful for the time I had with him today. I am so thankful I was there to hold his hand.