How do you deal with death? How do you support someone who has lost someone so close and dear to them? How do you stay strong for them when you yourself are breaking inside?
December 10, 2018
A phone call comes through from my wife, her dad is in ICU, he went in for surgery the day before, the Dr was surprise he had made it through the night. We were never informed of the severity of his condition and now wasn’t doing too well. So she rushed with an Uber to the hospital. I myself am on the other side of town and at my office. I tell her I’ll meet her there, hearing her broken voice on the phone breaks my heart. I grab my keys, get in my car and rush through to meet her there.
I’m sitting in the waiting area, they are all in the ICU with him. I’m willing to sit there all day, as long as the family know that I am right outside if they need anything at all. Eventually they all emerge and we sit and chat a bit. Her dad is in a medical coma and on a breathalyser to help supply oxygen to his lungs.
After discussion with the nurses we all decide to go home and the nurses will call us as soon as the Dr comes in.
We aren’t home for more than an hour when we get the call to say we should make our way to the hospital, which we do right away. The Dr isn’t there in person, but he is on the phone. He tells us that there is nothing more they can do for my father-in-law, and that he will die, his kidneys have already failed and his won’t won’t be able to support him. It’s only a matter of time.
At this point in time he is receiving an adrenaline drip which his helping him keep a pulse, the nurse tells us that as soon as the drip is finished, then it’ll take as long as his heart can hold out before he’ll leave. The drip has a few hours left.
The waiting game is tough, watching a family say farewell to the father and husband not knowing if he can hear them, knowing he is in there probably fighting his damnedest to make it through but his heart not having the strength.
The drip completes its run, everyone standing around the hospital bed watching the machines, knowing the worst is inevitable but praying for the best. The jagged lines change one by one to solid steady horizontal lines. His heart gives one last beat which for a second looks like he’ll pull through before his time with us comes to an end.
Oh diary. How do you support a family that just wanted to have one more moment, one more hug, one more smile, just a simple moment to say a last goodbye and hear his voice? How do you support your pregnant wife who knows her dad will never meet his first grandchild, a boy?
Oh diary, how do you support your mother-in-law whose house is suddenly silent at night. He died less than a year from their 50th wedding anniversary.
Oh diary, I’ll tell you how. You support them with love and gentleness, simple kindness. You break down when you go to the bathroom or while they’re all sleeping and recompose yourself so that you are strong for them. You take over the smallest of responsibilities for a while so they don’t have to worry about them.
Oh diary, how do you say goodbye to a man who only ever wanted the best for his family? How do you say goodbye to a man who trusted you with his daughters hand? How do you say goodbye to a strong man who was here yesterday and gone today?
If you’re Christian, like me, you turn to your Heavenly dad, He will help you with peace and strength. You never need to face things like this alone. There will be days, especially over the next year where the sadness of the loss will return, like his birthday or Fathers Day, and on those days the wounds will slowly heal. Don’t be afraid to shed that tear, for each tear will bring a little more healing.
Dear diary, how do you deal with death?