How much longer does he have, doctor?

The words stuck in my throat. We don’t know, he replied. A day or two. I’m surprised your father is still with us; he has a strong heart.

I lived this scenario 22 years ago but it feels like yesterday. Dad had contacted pneumonia and lay virtually unconscious in his bed in the hospice. I had kept a vigil by his side day-in day-out for what seemed like forever, watching him take one laborious breath in, then one breath out, all the while I repeated I love you, Daddy. Part of me prayed for his recovery but another part of me prayed that he be spared from further suffering. Alzheimer’s disease had taken away his quality of life so what was the point? But daddy’s girl will always be daddy’s girl and the hardest thing is to say goodbye.

How close I came to lighting a candle by his bedside. What stopped me I do not know — Mom who had gone before him almost exactly one year before, or Bill who had passed on almost seven years exactly to the month, or my guides who are ever with me? In any event, had I done so, what with Dad being on oxygen, I would have set the whole home ablaze!

I thought Dad might leave on February 22nd to join Mom in heaven on their wedding anniversary, but he did not. On February 25th, a dear friend urged me to go home and rest. Light a candle, Marco said, and tell your father that it is OK to go; that his little girl will be alright on her own.

I did so, telling him I would be OK alone, that it was OK for him to go. In the middle of the night the phone rang. It was the nurse telling me I should come. I raced to the hospice but I knew it was too late. Daddy had chosen to pass on alone. I had to respect his choice and honour his decision, knowing full well he had done so out of the deepest love for me.

I bent down, kissed his forehead one last time and whispered softly Daddy, I love you immeasurably. You are in my heart and in my soul and in every breath I take.


4 responses to “How much longer does he have, doctor?

  1. Hi Canadian Christine! Yours is a very touching story because you loved your Dad so very much. Shows how much he gave throughout his life. You appear to have these kinds of qualities too – giving to others. Be blessed.

  2. His passing in the night was a blessing; I’m sure of that. I love that you are spiritual in nature enough to recognize that. ((hugs))

    I’m blessed to not have lost a parent yet. My time will come. Currently my favorite uncle is in the throws of cancer. They aren’t really treating it and they don’t know how long he has. It’s tough on my aunt but she’s the strong one of the two.

    I see that you were given much by your family in the way of strength and wisdom. Thanks for sharing with me.

  3. Christine,
    This post shows how much you respected that your father chose his own way of passing on.

    It brings to mind the passing of both of my parents – also within a year of each other.

    I remember my mom wishing to protect us at all costs, even though we were wanted to help ease her burden. Mama Bear through to the end.

    Those strong emotional moments are forever etched in our memories

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