What is your defining moment, or moments? Not the ones that you proved to be victorious, or the one’s where you feel like you received some kind of glory. I am talking about those moments where you learned something so profound, that it has brought you to a whole new level of life.
I had mentioned that I had lost 3 years of memory after my Father passed away, I seriously don’t know where those memories went, but I remember every second of my Father’s illness, and being with him. I remember the smell, his cough, his swelling, and when he went into a coma. I have often wished that this particular time in my life had been erased from my memory, but it lingers. I remember not being able to sit by his side, and say goodbye, I held his hand, but never said it was going to be goodbye, how do you come to that at 19. My Father never failed me, when he said he was going to do something, or be there, he was. I just couldn’t comprehend that he wasn’t going to ever show up again.
Fast forward to me failing out of school. I was ashamed, angry, and left tortured. My Father’s illness had tormented me like a bully, it never rested, I wound up so determined to go to school, but forgot that my insomnia, my grief, and my inability to really grieve was making me extremely sick. In one year, I had bronchial pneumonia 3 times, and when I finally arrived back home to my Mother, I was on my 4th round, unable to really walk without losing breath. I had to finally face reality, I had failed out of school (although I did attempt to fight the University over my grades, what was done, was done) and just couldn’t manage any more. I spent a month in a fetal position, feeling for the first time, and thinking, no matter how angry and sick I was, I was feeling. I decided to switch schools, and continue my education through distance, and focus on my health. Having spent years ashamed of failing, I never once, gave myself credit for being my Father’s nurse, and helping my Mother let my Father die in the most humane, peaceful and loving way.
I remember my Brother and Sister coming to visit, and my Mother would leave them with instructions on how to use the feeding machine, and how much morphine to give Dad, in order to give us a break. I would come back home, and find out my Father in his raspy voice, would scold them for touching any of the machines, and refused morphine before I came home. He would tell them to just wait until I got home, and them moment I got home, I had to get back to work giving him some pain relief while my siblings stood there helpless. At the time, I was annoyed, and felt horrible for my Brother and Sister, they just couldn’t help, even though they wanted to. Now I realized, what a gift it was that my Father trusted me absolutely, he trusted me with his end of life. That is a pretty beautiful gift to be given, that kind of absolute trust. I hope in the end, we made him comfortable, and loved.
It might have left me with a few nightmares, and I saw lots of bumps on the road, but I rose to that occasion. I didn’t run away, I did what was in my heart, take care of a man who deserved to die with dignity. The last moments of his life, it was dark and story. The moment he took his last breath, the sun came out. Almost like the Universe welcoming him into his next chapter. He died at home, with all of us around him. He died not as an Ambassador, but as our Father, which was his proudest accomplishment.