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It's been almost a year since my Dad passed and I have not been able to face coming to this board. However I was posting something I wrote not long after his death to help someone else on another board and figured I would post it here as well.
My name is Sharron and some of you may know me from other parts of JM. Good to meet you all though would rather meet you all in better circumstances, of course.
This is not meant to offend anyone and is simply my way, as a very spiritual person, of coping with, dealing with and making sense of my Dad's death.
Let's begin by saying that Dad had been ill in hospital for a week, and during that time all the girls here, on UK Mummies and the Host board were praying for him. I did not attend choir on Wednesday night, I visited my Dad, and as it happened, had my last special moment with him when he had a moment of clarity, looked right in my eyes with his beautiful blue ones and smiled such a smile, I told him I loved him and he tried to say something back. At the time I thought he was trying to say he loved me, but now I think he was probably wanting to say goodbye. While I was there, my whole choir were praying for him and had lit two candles, one for him and one for the family.
On Thursday morning, I went to work as normal, but the night before had had a feeling of finality, and he had been off the ventilator and I could see how much he was struggling with his breathing off it and how he was really only semi-present in mind, and I had an ominous feeling all morning. The night before I had cried all the way home and sent Archangel Raphael and Archangel Michael to Dad to help his healing. I had told Archangel Raphael that I did not want my Dad to suffer any more. Read into that what you will. When I dropped Daniel off at nursery on Thursday morning, he cried and clung to me, as if he also knew. He had had a bit of blood in his wee the night before and we had made an appointment for my Mum to take him to the doctor at tea time, which we thought could be a water infection, and I put the crying down to that at the time and told school to ring Nanna if needed, but they didn't. Daniel also woke up at 6am and screamed, which we assumed was when he had his first wee and was doing it because there was pain.
Dad was due to have his injection of drugs which guard against attacks of his paranoid schizophrenia on Thursday. When he came off the drugs in the past, it allowed the voice in his head, an entity we know as Kanent thanks to a friend from another website, to speak to him and he used to say some truly awful things. So, because all the hospital had ever said was that it would be a long haul and Dad would be in hospital and possibly even intensive care for a long time, we kept on about this injection and insisting that he must have it on Thursday no matter what, and they kept promising he would. On Thursday morning, they rang my mum and told her they wouldn't be giving him the injection because he was already on anti-psychotic drugs as a matter of course in intensive care and the senior consultant had decided that the mixture of the two may well relax his muscles too much and cause death. They asked my mum to come early at visiting time so they could have a chat about it.
So in the afternoon, Mum and Auntie Pat went to the hospital, leaving Daniel with a neighbour because it would be a longer visit than they had expected. It was only when they had the "chat" that it turned out not to be about the actual drug. They told her that they had tried him off the ventilator every day, and he had struggled and become tired far too easily, and they could not increase the length of time he was off because the carbon dioxide levels in his blood rose increasingly dangerously every time he was off, and he was also becoming increasingly unresponsive, as if the loss of oxygen or the tiredness was affecting him. I had a bad feeling on Wednesday night when I saw how much he was struggling to breathe and how tired he was - and apparently he had deteriorated fast in the following 24 hours. They could not do any more to make him better, and they cannot send patients home until they can manage with an oxygen tank alone. So they told her they would give him sedation and turn the machines off, and let nature take its course. They could not even move him to a private ward or anything - he needed to be in intensive care so they could up the sedation if need be, as patients with breathing difficulties do not usually have peaceful deaths due to the panic and distress of being unable to breathe, and the sedation had not been working well on my Dad for a few days.
My work had scheduled an impromptu section meeting for the afternoon, and I was not able to take my phone into the meeting, so I texted my Mum at lunch time to let her know. She saw the text and told the doctors to ring me as soon as possible because I would not be able to answer my phone once I was in the meeting. I had a missed call on my phone after going to the bathroom at lunch time, but the number was withheld. Because I was so jittery after the night before and the injection thing in the morning which had just seemed plain weird to me, I knew I could not go into that meeting without checking whether it had been about my Dad, so I called my Mum and found out, and literally a minute before I should have been going into the meeting at work, I was instead leaving and jumping in the car to go to hospital, leaving my computer and work for my colleague to sort out. I sent Archangels Raphael (to prevent suffering), Archangel Michael (to protect against the entity I mentioned earlier becoming present in my Dad's final hours), and Archangel Azrael (to ensure he was delivered safely to Uncle Roy) ahead of me.
Dad had his eyes closed and was losing consciousness when I arrived, but I did not mind because he had opened them and recognised Mum and Auntie Pat when he was still semi-conscious, and I had had my special goodbye with him the night before. I phoned Chris, who had been summoned from work to pick up Daniel from the neighbour's, to explain about the full situation and go through with him how to monitor Daniel for water infection, and phoned the doctor's to cancel Daniel's appointment. On my way back into hospital I bumped into my cousin's wife Colette, who works in the pharmacy there (that will become more significant in a moment).
They upped his sedation and turned the ventilator off not long after I got there and continued to monitor his vital signs. One funny thing was, the drip tube they had been "feeding" him from was almost empty, and they had left that connected. I'll come back to that in a minute. Auntie Pat left (as Mum was no longer on her own and she has only just really gone through all this with my Uncle Roy) and they drew the curtain around us, as I had watched them do for another dying patient just days before. When my Mum walked Auntie Pat (her sister-in-law) down to the main doors, she saw her sister Pat in the corridor, whose husband Keith is in on a ward for gallstones. (By then, my Mum's two sisters Barbara and Alice, brother Warren and brother-in-law Tony, and Dad's one surviving brother Bob and his wife Margaret, my cousin Amanda and her boyfriend, and my second cousin Matt (who stayed with Mum and Dad for a while when he was in trouble with the police) were all racing to the hospital to try and see Dad in time - Uncle Bob & co all the way from Wales. As the deterioration happened so suddenly in the space of 24 hours, they had not really had chance to come and see him. Auntie Alice and Uncle Warren arrived not long after they turned off the machine.
Dad's nurse couldn't give us any indication of how long it would take and assured us he wasn't in pain, nor was he really aware by then, but explained his body might fight which would make him look like he was gasping and struggling to breathe and she couldn't really do anything about that, which was obviously upsetting. That is quite usual for patients dying of breathing difficulties, especially if they have chronic conditions such as COPD. He did gasp for a couple of hours, but nothing horrendous at all. His eyes remained closed and he didn't seem to come around at all because of it, so we never asked for increased sedation. At about 4pm his breathing slowed down and his whole face relaxed. He would have just looked asleep had it not been for the irregular chest movements and the lines on the monitor going ever more erratic. He stopped gasping, and it was like he had just gently relaxed into it. It was obvious that he was not getting enough oxygen once he stopped the gasping, because his arms started to look mottled and his lips swollen.
Over the course of the next two hours, there were moments when his breathing stopped and one or two lines flat-lined on the monitor, but then his chest would start again. The nurse intermittently dabbed his lips with water. We held his hand and stroked his arm and told him it was all right, but in truth I think he had already left his body though his presence was very much still with us. Mum felt a breeze at her back on one occasion not long after 4pm when his breathing stopped for a minute and we believe it was Uncle Roy, he was certainly there with us to meet his brother, that's for sure. His hands began to feel cold, and whereas when he was first off the ventilator there was a time where he would grasp my hand tight for comfort, he was no longer responding to touch. The last drips of food from the feeding canister went down the tube at around the same time. Approaching 6pm, I am not sure of the exact time and it did not give a time on the death certificate, he took his final breath, which was no different to a normal breath - in fact it was a shallow breath and then his chest stopped moving. He had had some "rattling" and "sighing" breaths before the stoppage when I believe he left his body, which is more what you hear described by people who've experienced death. First his breathing indicator flat-lined, followed closely by his brain waves. The heart rate was going haywire, up and down, before dropping from 43 to 0 in the space of a minute, and the blood pressure did something similar then flat-lined. You could almost chart when each organ shut down, like there was a pattern, a purpose and an order to it. Finally the heart rate flat-lined. No beeps, no sounds. Perfect peace. A doctor came in to confirm he had died and we gave him a kiss. My Dad passed away incredibly peacefully shortly before 6pm on February 4th 2010 in bed number 4 of the intensive care unit, though I believe his spirit left his body (again, extremely peacefully) when my Uncle Roy showed up at 4pm and he stopped gasping - it was almost like it was a relief for him to give up the fight.
My Uncle Bob's family never made it and ended up coming to our house instead of the hospital, but he would not have seen his brother anyway as he was already semi-conscious and probably only held on to that last semblance of consciousness to see my Mum one last time. I believe he knew he was dying on Wednesday night.
In case you didn't spot them, a summary of the coincidences:
- Daniel screaming at around 6am on the day his Grandad died at around 6pm
- Daniel crying because he didn't want to leave me
- Me getting the message seconds before going into a meeting
- Family members being around hospital and bumping into us (Colette and Mum's sister Pat)
- Mum feeling a breeze (which we believe was Uncle Roy) at her back after a series of rattling breaths and a sighing breath at around 4pm, after which Dad just looked asleep
- Dad being in bed 4, February 4th, and 4 of us being present at the death; he also died pretty much 4 months after Uncle Roy give or take a few days
- The fact that he deteriorated, then died, the day after me asking Archangel Raphael to make sure he did not suffer, and the day after the prayer power would have been boosted by all of choir praying for him
- The peacefulness of his death which was not anticipated by the medical staff because of his condition, following all the prayers
- The systematic shut down of his organs which was like a pattern and a natural miracle in itself - you could almost count it down
- The fact that he saw my Mum before he lost consciousness completely and the moment of clarity he had with me the night before, and the last thing he heard was her telling him his beloved Man Utd had just won a cup match
- The feeding tube running down at around the same moment he died
- The fact that my Mum left Daniel with a neighbour instead of bringing him to the hospital as was planned originally that day
- We were very worried that we hadn't been able to arrange anyone to visit him on Friday afternoon and Mum didn't want to take Daniel 2 days in a row
It was almost like it was perfectly and beautifully orchestrated by the universe to be the most peaceful, beautiful and synchronous event, and after all the suffering Dad had in his life and the fact that he was such a good man, such a great father, such a gentle spirit, he deserved it.
Then, when we came home, to find out Tiff's baby (boy!!!) had been born on the same day, after her weeks and weeks of waiting, was phenomenal. Sarah, I know you worried about it being the right time to tell me, but honey, it was. It just made so much sense. The circle of life is a theory believed by many and they say that as one life ends a new soul enters the world and another one begins. I actually saw it in action on February 4th 2010. It cannot just be a coincidence that one of my best friends had her baby the same day that my Dad passed away. It just fills you with hope. I even saw afterwards that Stephie posted up to say it had happened at around the same time Dad passed on. Go look in the thread and see - I'm not making it up (you couldn't make this up).
As a post-script to all of this, when we got home, we were talking about the funeral songs etc, and we said that as Dad was not really into music, we would like "Come On You Reds", which was a song Man Utd released many years ago but which my Dad loved and sang a lot. I went into the cabinet to get it. Mum was worried about it not really being appropriate as a funeral song. I noticed when I went to the cabinet that his Alex Ferguson autobiography was in there. Facing straight out at us with Alex's smiling face on the cover. Now I had taken it in to read some of it to him a few days before when Dad was still on the vent and a bit more compus mentus. The section I happened to read to him was about Alex's relationship with his father. I had left it on the table and for some reason my Mum and I can't remember, it was in the cabinet. Then I was looking for "Come On You Reds" amongst the old CDs. A set of 4 CDs fell down, so I pulled them out (4 AGAIN). The last of the 4 was "Come On You Reds".
Don't fear death, girls. If you trust in the universe, and pray for it to be comfortable, peaceful and surrounded in love, it can be as miraculous as birth.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart... i wrote my mom's storey a while back and i honestly have been HAUNTED by that day..... ( which will be 3 yrs now 23 jun )my daughter is still HAUNTED by that day every month i KNOW the 23rd is coming ..... after she passed she was with me for a bit at work stilling everyones pens ( which she did in life ) then this summer the same buterfly that was hanging around right before she passed showed up at our house....
now i'm not saying i goto church and all but i do believe in signs and ghosts ( YES i have seen them since i was 5 yrs old )
But i guess what i'm saying is Thank you... you may not have takin all the haunt away... i have often quetioned myself and others what hurts more seeing your parent die and not eat or drink and have to be put asleep and wait and watch there last breath or finding out threw the phone.....
there is no go between b/c there is the same hurt but just a different way.. but your family did the same as we did.. dab her with water to give liquid... she went to sleep moments before my husband & i got married ( we moved it up so she could see it but she didn't, but she was still here) we sat there for almost 3 days/ bone and liver cancer took her .... my brother was there when she open her eyes the last time but we all got to see her last breath...
she was so brave !!!! I hope i'm like her when the time comes....