Yesterday the hospice nurse told my mom that my father is in the final stages before death. He isn't lucid most of the time, can't communicate but is, on occasion, awake. He doesn't seem to be in a lot of pain and they are managing that the best they can.
It's heartbreaking, though, and when I think about it I just don't know how to say goodbye to such a wonderful man. He has been the pillar of our family all his life and to see him so weak and sick is the most difficult thing I've ever dealt with.
And, while for some, 72 is "elderly"...for my family it is most definitely not. Most of my family live well into their 90s. I feel as if I've been robbed of 20 years of my daddy's life. I so looked forward to him loving and teasing my grandbabies should I ever have any. He always told outrageous stories, rewrote the fairy tales, and had shocking endings to any event he experienced. And now he will "only" be stories for them.
And I do know that those stories will be told, that the next generation will love my daddy because I loved my daddy. I also know that those stories will grow taller and broader as the years pass and that he would love that beyond everything.
So, folks, I'm off for a few days. I'm going to go have myself a good cry right now and then get packed up to travel to my parents' house. It's a day's drive from here and we will leave in the morning.
But before I go thought I would start the archive of my daddy's stories by letting you know the first one I ever remember hearing...and heard it for so long that I knew it to be truth until I got old enough to know that it couldn't be true (though I think I hung onto the hope that it was true when I was a teenager and convinced I was adopted as most teenagers do).
My daddy found me under a telephone pole. He'd gone to work that day thinking that he'd love to have a little girl and there I was, all wrapped up in a Princess Telephone box. He brought me home to mama and they loved me ever after.