We were planning a quiet Christmas at home this year. My family is in Florida and Finance Guy's is spread all over the southeast. So if we don't travel it is usually pretty quiet for us. However this past week, 4 years after his initial diagnosis of liver cancer, my father entered Hospice. Three days later we booked our flights to get the five of us down to Florida to spend Christmas with my parents.
So as I am packing up our holiday, I grapple with how to say good bye to my Father. How to explain to my daughters that Papa won't be getting better, and preparing them for the impending good bye.
Funny, in my past life, I was a Hospice social worker. I helped people prepare for just these events in their lives. Everything is different when it's your parent who is dying. Your children who are losing their Papa.
We have been incredibly lucky. My Dad's treatment was a one shot deal Fall of 2004, (4 weeks after Gabi began her gluten free life). I flew down for his surgery. Post op the surgeon reported to my Mother and I that the cirrhosis of my father's liver was much more extensive than he had thought and he was not sure that my father would make out of the hospital. After a very long few days Dad did.
Clearly the doctors did not know who they were dealing with...since then he has been given a couple months to live I think three times! It has given me plenty of opportunities to prepare for the his death only to be given an extension. Dad has had amazing quality of life and no pain. I know from my Hospice experience that it doesn't get better then that.
This time however, I don't see a reprieve coming. This time we are really approaching Dad's death. The final leg of the journey that must be taken one day at a time.
I feel like I should have something more witty or deep and awe inspiring to say, some comment on my generation sandwiched between our elderly parents and our young children, something cliche' about the circle of life and God's wisdom, or the ironies of having a father and a daughter diagnosed with autoimmune diseases in the same two month period.
Except...none of that seems to matter at the moment, when I am facing the painful reality of the impending goodbye.