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Walkin' Daddy Home
Walkin’ my Daddy Home
Walkin’ my Daddy Home Treasure Smith .
a) biography and memoirs. without permission in writing from the copyright owner. b) hospice This book was printed in the United States of America. recording. including photocopying. or by any information storage and retrieval system. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means.com 91134 . ISBN: Softcover Ebook 978-1-4568-3739-6 978-1-4568-3740-2 All rights reserved. contact: Xlibris Corporation 1-888-795-4274 www.Copyright © 2011 by Treasure Smith.Xlibris. electronic or mechanical.com Orders@Xlibris. To order additional copies of this book.
................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 22 SEPTEMBER .............................................................. 7 APRIL ..................................................................................................... 32 DECEMBER............................................................................................................................................................................................ 24 OCTOBER .................................................................... 26 NOVEMBER...................... 13 JULY .......................................................................................................................................... 9 MAY ........... 11 JUNE ................. 45 ................CONTENTS PROLOGUE......................................................................................... 17 AUGUST .........
. . 100 well-wishers joined in the festive celebration of this landmark 100th birthday! Celebrating the big 100th birthday with Dad and my sister Judy (right) 7 .PROLOGUE NOVEMBER 5 “Why this aching in my heart. He made it—a century old! And. and it hurts. a tear sometimes falling down my cheek? Because things are changing. in spite of snowy winter weather. .” I think back to last January .
so many memories. I’ll drive you. Church is important to Dad. and become his primary caregiver. I still stop by a couple times a week. and take him on occasional errands. Three months have gone by since the big party. and his speech slightly slurred. I take up new residence at his familiar home where he’s lived for 66 years. yeah. Several hours later—it’s obvious that Dad missed the potluck—I drive home to gather my things. Oh.” Although wishing he could return to health. . sees my tears and says.APRIL Time is ticking. . So this night. when the time came. even with a walker. though. . Dad’s sight becoming totally gone. Something is different. Stuff like that. unloaded trucks. But I know his heart—he wants to be busy and productive. There he has sorted produce. we would not move Dad into a nursing facility. as well as his much-loved food bank where he’s worked as a volunteer for close to a decade. my Dad is becoming very dependent. and shined at his main job—separating bananas—to prepare for 9 . An office friend. fix some homemade freezer meals for his use. when I call Dad on the office phone this April 6 morning.” Upon our arrival. boxed potatoes. him sometimes living in “another world. and return to pick him up at the hospital. Dad’s still on his own at home. . His vision is very bad. Dad’s all set to be heading out to his monthly Recycled Teenagers potluck. My husband James and I had known for years that. . The first 2-3 weeks’ adjustment is being difficult for me—switching roles. They want to run a few tests . he walks lopsided to his left. who has just arrived as I’m hanging up. and they determine that he’s had a stroke. though. “Come on. The doctor insists we go to ER muy pronto. On his way to the car.
he won’t be able to view their colorful array. . for the first time in over half a century. I take on a new role as his weekly helper and partner. Sometimes he reaches out to touch them. he does see many things.10 Treasure Smith the coming hungry patrons.” though. I’m learning to “go with the flow” in his sometimes different reality. but his fingers only contact space. Partnering in banana preparation at the food bank The rhododendrons will come soon but. In his “mind’s eye. and is often surprised that they aren’t actually there.
MAY 13th My sister Judy arrives from Indiana for a two-week stay. though. He gets pretty tired. And Dad’s oldest great-granddaughter is getting married today. 11 . and thoroughly enjoys the festivities and food. his thinking becomes less clear and hallucinations more frequent. and on the way home. Dad congratulating his great-granddaughter bride Of course Dad wants to go to the wedding.
As they begin to disappear.12 Treasure Smith 24th What an aggravation that hospital-style geri-chair is—he can’t get the attached tray undone! Judy assures him that she won’t leave him. Recalling his love for poetry in school. She might get hit at the road when going to get mail. Then.” 28th Tonight he is in a new rather beautiful realm. trying to draw the person into faith.” he voices—“No. he asks me if they might return later. and is concerned about whether they might be hungry. we all imagine things. Hey. or emergency. He’s “seeing” “about 18 people nearby. knowing it’s due to the seafaring poem. that’s the source of a lot of our creativity and inventions. enjoying the sonnet. They’d better hurry. It’s like he’s reliving the “good old days” of childhood. the school newspaper. but he’s remaining convinced that the chair is unsafe—there might be a fire. “The Yarn of the Nancy Bell” and lustily quotes the whole thing—23 rousing stanzas long!! Remembering this favorite poem after many years brings tears of joy to his eyes. He seems to be having a conversation with an unseen person. 29th Dad suddenly wakes up thinking he has to go to high school in Okanogan. “Maybe I’m crazy. I say they might when he says the poem again. He practices again with even more gusto. I ask if he can quote me some lines from poems he’d learned in years past. His sister Leila is six years younger and needs to get to school too. He immediately remembers. Dad’s quoting scriptures and lines of songs (like “I’d Rather Have Jesus Than Silver or Gold”). . It’s okay. where he is the editor of Ink Wipers. he “sees” lots of happy sailors all around. telling him all about the value of trusting Jesus. Judy removes the chair tray and lovingly brings him reassurance and peace. No one would know that he is trapped in the house and he might burn up in the fire. surprised that he is in his own home. 25th Dad keeps waking up during the night.
very distressed. He sleeps very peacefully now. He keeps feeling like he needs to DO something. 8th Dad is still hyper in his hallucinations about the plane crash. As I accept it and interact in it with him. Dad’s appetite is lower these past few days—only about half the usual amount. holding out their bowls. He envisions people all around him. So we decide to leave a Bible tape playing all night. trapped in the plane. as Matthew through Romans captures the airwaves. with hungry looks. and people are killed. Dad starts crying. He also “sees” two children who were more real than any real children he’s ever seen.m.” but enjoys sharing the things he sees and experiences with me. and entering more into his new world. He is up off and on until 4:30 a. I find myself grieving the loss of the Dad I’ve known. He’s right there.JUNE 4th In the middle of the night. He settles down and goes back to sleep. 11th Perhaps Dad is moving more into dementia.. 13 . 6th Dad is listening to the TV news with grandson Aaron. drowning. he feels less frustrated and “crazy. A plane has gone down in the Atlantic. He continues to be very concerned for hungry people he sees. He relaxes when I tell him I’ll take care of them and let them sleep on the couch if they want to. Dad suddenly awakens and is very concerned—there’s a woman in the house who has no place to stay. desperately trying to help but unable to get out of his chair.
we asked Dad’s okay. and the smaller area maintains his heat level better. The air feels good and we talk about the flowers on our way up the driveway to pick up the mail. Last night. Ouch—well. It’s closer to us in case of emergency. then again for seven more hours. 23rd We decide to change the pace and go for a wheel-chair walk outside. and they’re mostly happy ones at that. Ooh. because a pile of piano and organ keys have been put on the floor and need putting back together. and says he hasn’t gotten one since Mom had given him one—guessing maybe 20 years ago. He’d gotten confused at the food bank for a couple minutes—What do I do with these bananas?—but that passed.14 Treasure Smith 18th This has been an especially contented day for him. complete with oil. he wakes up 20 minutes after going to bed tonight and seems pretty distressed. it doesn’t hurt too much. and moved his bedroom to the smaller spare room. and never get around to it—today’s the day. Back inside. Dad goes back to sleep for eight hours straight. His hallucinations are minimal. Dad insists that he cannot play the piano (which he has loved in the past). . Although he’s very favorable to the move. Maybe it’s because an atheist had rented that spare room for a while. we anoint the room with oil. Dad’s getting a back massage. 21st I keep thinking of this. he really likes it. Wow! The chickens are hungry today and decide that Dad’s fingers may be part of the delicious fare. and had just moved out a week ago. Feeling the possibility that there could be some spiritual oppression going on there.
and wants to go his “real home.” He also wants the people who need to spend the night here to have beds supplied.Walkin’ my Daddy Home 15 Dad. where they enjoy a motivating program. It’s an uplifting time. but we encourage him that these may be things in a different realm and it’s okay to go with it. 24th Granddaughter Sue takes Dad to a community lunch for seniors today. has made music come alive on those piano keys I go with the flow. lots of good friends. and he is amazed that I can recover the “keys” so fast. and delicious food. He gets bummed when he sometimes realizes that what he “sees” is not physically there. and “spill” a bowl of pretzels on the floor. Dad feels today like he is not at his home. until now. .
He doesn’t want to predict future timing. Dad sees the difference between his optic nerve hallucinations (where identical things are repeated again and again). as if inviting him. and to be with others (like Grandma) who have gone to heaven before him.” Dad is seeing people 40-70 years old with gardening clothes on. . but is so drawn in and welcomed by these friendly people that he sees his upcoming homegoing as a pure joy. No gray hairs. “If I should happen to drift out—tell everyone hello. There were four of the gardeners outside. . all different.” There are six in his room a few minutes later—all dressed differently from one another. I just felt such happiness and peace. He and I both believe that he’s seeing others with his same gardening passion in heaven. but saying what he feels is true. Upon hearing about this. we spend a little time outside enjoying the garden. what a SMILE Dad has. and people like this. He so very much deserves his reward. so maybe he should move on. It isn’t a “sad” statement. They’re beckoning to him and smiling.16 Treasure Smith 29th In the afternoon. ready to prune and till and bring out the beauty of heaven. I know they are anxiously awaiting his arrival. I can’t really describe it. But hello. This scene makes him start to cry with joy. but looking pretty youthful. . Dad states as factual that he’s not of much use here on earth any more—he can’t till. On the way back in.” Thinking of these beckoning gardeners. but with similar jackets and all in work clothes. Not good-bye. but I felt such joy for Grandpa. and “maybe they will return to weed with us tomorrow. What a celebration that will be. our daughter writes me. (Is it getting closer to his time to go?) . and he doubts if he can mow . “I’m so glad you shared this with me. It doesn’t take away from the sadness for those of us who will be left behind.
He gets lots of “well wishes.JULY 6th Dad has a good time today at the monthly Recycled Teenagers potluck. So .” And we put our time there to good use. 9th Aaron reminds me this morning—today is his Grandpa’s half-birthday Dad and I head for the food bank. . but knows they’re special to him. Jon comes by.” and suggested apprehensively that Jon might want to slow down—now! 17 . (Dad sometimes tells the story of one of their rides together. handling a dozen boxes of bananas—lots! In the afternoon. while on the Lake Washington floating bridge. especially the fried chicken drumstick and a brownie. Don. Harold had died—with Dad at his side—in his early 30’s due to dust accumulation in his lungs from a furniture factory job. about a month ago. Dad does wonder a couple of times where he is. the gardeners have invited him. He had been quite alarmed seeing the speedometer needle riding on”90. Harold is calling to him—“Come on. but can’t (yet). but loves the good food.” Dad has gotten out of bed and is crawling on his hands and knees. where he’s gone for 34 years.) 7th Dad was very close to his brother Harold. and now Harold. This morning Dad wakes up at 2 a. who Dad used to ride to work with maybe 40 or 50 years ago.m.. Mom had also called to Dad to come. only one year younger than Dad. He also eats up on the warm greetings of his old friends (although he doesn’t always remember who they are now. He wants to go to Harold. . and our monitor wakes us up too. and I let people know it’s his special day.
Jon wishes Dad well and says good-bye. Jeanne and her Grandpa have a special visit. Very cool. “See you in heaven!” Jon says. so these are fond memories for him. Dad’s smiles when I hug him good-night every night are so rich. “I hope to be there. Jeanne and her Grandpa sharing what’s important . Mom and Dad used to have a Model A and had driven to Missouri in it in 1946. Dad replies. Upon leaving. etc.” as he gets into his car with a grin. not miles per hour. those smiles make everything okay . 12th During the afternoon. Even when days may be difficult. running board. and I know you’ll be there. The motor even sounds like in the old days. a “house-warming” renamed in honor of finally moving into their new house after their fire last year.18 Treasure Smith Jon informed him that he was reading kilometers. and they were really only going 50 !) Jon decides to stop by today and show Dad his newly restored 1929 Model A pickup. And then—what a perfect half-birthday present!—Jon takes him for a half-hour Model A ride up around a nearby lake. spokes. we go to granddaughter Jeanne and Scott’s “house-chilling” party. Wow—gorgeous! Dad goes around it (in his wheelchair) and feels the lights.
He finally finds a bell (that Aaron had installed) and dreams that it will alert rescuers .” being spoken to him when he arrives. . remembering when he bummed a cigarette from a fellow hobo during the Great Depression—“A bum NEVER bums a smoke off a bum. He gets sweaty.) I’ll keep a close eye on that .m. He’s being frustrated with 1) lack of mental ability and 2) not being able to complete what his hallucinations say needs to be done. 20th Dad had a good weekend with granddaughter Annette. 13th Dad kind of scares me this morning. His most peaceful times are when he listens to hymns and prays at night. . Dad can’t urinate (although he feels like he should. “See you in heaven.” People are a little surprised by this “good-bye. Then he wakes up. For the second time in about a week. and we mop the kitchen floor together. but it’s okay to go to his reward coming up. for instance. I lay my hand on his and am glad to feel that it is warm. evangelizing. No response. and waves. Then I touch and lightly shake him. he does go. my good and faithful servant. I do the edges. . She can hear the words. which it does—us! He’s surprised to find that he’s home in bed. He swings the mop back and forth to clean the center—good job too. She shares how she’d love for him to stay here on earth lots longer. . 24th Dad’s memory comes to life as we read his autobiography that he’d composed three years ago—he will laugh ahead of time. then grandson Stephan until 5:30 p. He enjoys the chickens afterwards. 14th Dad’s much better today. with goodnight greetings and smiles.Walkin’ my Daddy Home 19 He talks with her about keeping Jesus #1. and eating nearby berries right off the vine. As we leave. No response. . and then getting lost in the tunnels. I call him two or three times. Hallucinations and frustration are increasing today. Dad continues the habit he started with Jon. Good—a couple hours later. and that it’s eternity that matters. and four hours have passed since he had 8-9 ounces of juice.” But it’s perfect. “Well done. and is breathing hard. Later Dad dreams he’s in underground tunnels.” As we . Sunday.
When I get back.20 Treasure Smith enjoy the chapter-by-chapter stories of his early life. We do a reading comprehension quiz. He finally realizes that it is indeed a library. . Like “Charles went to the doctor because he had a headache. Yes! 31st It’s a major heat wave—107 degrees in the shade. . I take a walk while they’re here and get huckleberries.” one of which Dad really doesn’t want to go to—he thinks it’s a tavern. and pretty soon. Hallucinations increase in the extreme heat. remembering facts from a two-sentence short paragraph. ground crawler blackberries. which he says were called “cooling stations” in the Depression. This afternoon. His latest BM’s were 4 ½ days apart.. and he gets kind of amazed. he reaches over and gives me a backrub too! 26th When I tell him I love him tonight. I take Dad to “cooling stations. we try to relive the Depression by asking for the use of a cot in a jail cell. where he’s able to nap. He has a bath and shave today. but the police refer us instead to the “senior center cooling station” where they supply a recliner and a quiet room. . Three hospice workers come (separately) to re-certify him on hospice today—first the RN and then the social worker. Dad wakes up and doesn’t want to lie back down.” Question: “Did Charles have a headache or a broken leg?” Question: “Did he call his wife or go to the doctor?” He gets about 1/3 correct. and wild strawberries. At 11 55 p. he says he loves me too. Dad and I go out on the back deck and water plants together. and says that the best thing is that God loves us. he asks occasionally who the “I” in the book is—it’s him. and temps in the sun at Dad’s exceed the thermometer’s top of 121. I ask if he’d like a gentle backrub as I sit next to him. trims his hair and cuts his fingernails and toenails. Last is the CNA who gives him a shave.m. instead of the usual 2 days—more Senna to fix that.8. The nurse weighs Dad at the shower—122 pounds. UW students find the pavement to be 150 degrees. Dad’s becoming more shaky when he stands for transferring. Mmm. Yes .
and she enjoys him.Walkin’ my Daddy Home 21 He likes the dog Sherri. especially if he has the smell of food on his hands.” . Finger lickin’ good! Dad’s so appreciative for little things. he says. but you have them. After I assist in a “potty break” this evening. “I can’t SEE your wings.
m. and is getting more lethargic. I’m ordering some oxygen tanks—both on site and portable—from hospice. and turning away. Due to a shortage of air at times. or more rapid breathing. not sure when it’s coming. Another thing he “knows” is that electrical attachments are hooked to him in his socks or underwear.) I was struggling a bit as we were just waiting for his bladder to empty. He removes clothing to get them off—then is very bummed that he’s imagining things. then cooked the rest some more. I tossed it. He wants me to feed her. but it was “just starting and then stopping again. Low-lights has Grandpa spitting out mouthful after mouthful of food because the noodles weren’t cooked enough (though I had no problem). . He wet the bed a few days ago. After several minutes. afternoon. I offer her food and he’s pleased. . (He later ate it along with breakfast leftovers.AUGUST 5th Dad’s coughing is getting more frequent. he decided 22 . She writes: 1 a. The people there are ultra helpful. this goes on and on and on.” I found myself getting rushed and frustrated. Highlight of the day was sitting in the sunshine for about an hour. not even wanting to communicate with anyone. 23rd Granddaughter Annette comes to spend a day or two. but she wants more . listening to the chickens and singing. 10th Dad’s had some difficulties the past few days—knowing there is a hungry lady looking at him and holding out her bowl. But the Lord helped me see that this is a chance to focus on Him and just enjoy holding hands with my Grandpa. morning. We had a wonderful night. and then a rougher evening.
Dad eats well today and is quite fine.” The nurse is coming soon. . I then ask him then if he knows who he is. as with his and Mom’s earlier. enjoy every moment. We talk a little and I reassure him. Twenty minutes go by. Love the Lord. Help. but I wouldn’t know anything if you weren’t here telling me. He has a 4 ½ hour nap (it’s often longer like that on food bank days or church days because he gets up earlier). . it sometimes brings “memory tears” or “pride tears” to his eyes. THAT’S not too unusual. The Lord kept me awake with the urgency to write this here. and he’s back to normal again. that it may be an encouragement to someone. He’s not upset but just quiet.) I go in and he asks where he is. 27th It’s food bank day again. She says it’s probably another TIA. so I’m going to let him keep resting so she can observe his current situation. “Take the time. . When I read my autobiography to him.” 25th Dad is softly calling “Help. . Starting mid-month. we’re getting there at 10:30 instead of 9ish.” (He’d been awake an hour earlier for the bathroom and was fine. but then he says that he doesn’t know WHO he is or WHERE he is.Walkin’ my Daddy Home 23 that was enough and went back to bed. “I think I’m Donald. instead of getting him up yet for breakfast and meds . He says. to avoid overtiredness.
and he’s been enjoying keeping in touch with him in letters. Then. then it’s gone again. with “Jesus Loves You” or his John 3:16 stamp in the bag. 21st Dad’s always thankful. This week we decide to make lots of play dough (he stirs and kneads) for the food bank children.) His sister Glennis notes that he seems very concerned now that everything is in order in his life—he doesn’t want to leave with things dangling. going to church. James notices a kernel on Dad’s 24 . Occasionally—amazingly—Dad’s vision returns for a moment. ( All of his remaining siblings except Allen are there. 20th We go to Old Country Buffet in Factoria for an extended family gathering. . Today. . kneading play dough. interacting a little with guests. Yesterday he could actually see the food on his plate and direct his spoon to pick up small bits . enjoying scripture and our family autobiographies. etc. he feeds them a hand-held corn cob—and one pecks him twice. But . . sorting mail.SEPTEMBER 4th Dad seems a little sad the past couple of days because there isn’t much he can DO. lots of time is still spent sitting and his sight is gone. he gets a little perturbed at not being able to see when he and son-in-law James are gathering tomatoes. the nurse and bathe aide visits. listening to music and Pilgrim’s Progress tapes. singing hymns. working at the food bank. helping to make jello. while visiting the chickens. conversing together. . I do try to keep him somewhat active mentally and physically—watering plants. though. and he sometimes sighs for bygone days. going for walks (in the wheelchair outside). occasionally actually walking inside the house.
Corrine the RN also comes. Aaron re-fixes the visual monitor of Dad in bed. the hospice bath aide. . and James three times.) 24th Dad enjoys feeding Sherri the dog various foods that he picks out—chicken. Dad had helped make strawberry jello. She says to me that he is obviously getting closer to the end. bread—and petting her. with bananas.Walkin’ my Daddy Home 25 finger that the chicken had been after. She gives Dad a shave. It’s a very nice time. When Dad gets warmed up. to serve. (I believe he may have seen an angel—he asks if I think that might be. The pastor is very patient and thoughtful and talks to him (rather than to others. The church pastor. Now. . that’s better. Dad’s very pleased (and so are all the drivers who’ve been getting their car pans scraped recently on those huge bumps!) 27th Sharone. Off with that. 29th I was up with Dad six times last night. eyebrow and mustache trims. cauliflower. and a shower. but he’s not there yet. . especially when he breathes. he talks a little more. comes today. I’d asked her to come a day early due to strong discomfort Dad was feeling on his right side—between his hip and ribs. and we get crushed rock delivered and spread. I marked the spots with a black marker and show her when she comes. and now that’s gone. It’s true . She discovers about 3 inches of fluid in his right lung. She says that fluid had been in his left lung last week. He looks and feels better. the night before. Hopefully this is rare . 22nd Dad awakens suddenly during the night and asks where that radiant light is coming from. It’s SO helpful at night. leaving Dad out). comes to visit. although words are hard to find. 25th Grandson Stephan preps the driveway (a BIG job).
He feels like he’s been in a violent fight for the last half hour—and still is. thrashing. . In Jesus’ name we pray. (Dad “sees” them too through our eyes and voices. Great-granddaughter Joy has 26 . and James and I see some 27” salmon getting ready to spawn in a natural stream. Ooops.m.OCTOBER 2nd He seems to be more physically uncomfortable in bed. I want to keep Dad active with new things as long as he may have interest.) Cool! 13th Dad gets to take the children’s baggie packets to the food bank. and lead us in Your way through the ministry of Your Holy Spirit.) He dives into his oatmeal. . He enjoys it. Salt is important on that oatmeal! We decide to take in a local salmon run stream event today. Although he’s rather obviously having less energy. Amen. bless this food to the healing and strengthening of our bodies. James moves him to the hospice lay-back chair in by the fire (away from the “attackers. James forgot the salt . complete with a well-kneaded colored play dough ball and an excellent cartoon message about Jesus in each.” (I know I’ll miss hearing that heartfelt blessing at mealtimes. and sleeping more lately. “Do you have any complaints?” He immediately responds. and then I add a bit too much.” with a big smile.”) and he settles back to sleep there. Today the nurse asks. so we’re getting an egg-shell mattress today. “I’m not 18 years old any more. he’s still pretty witty. But he will eat it—he thinks it’ll be okay. 3rd “Father. This morning he awakens near 6 a.
11:15. . because others are getting increasingly tight. We go to Value Village and get elastic-waistband pants. We’re going to increase those by 50%. but wants to stay . the constipation problem’s getting worse. I go in. Today. He no longer remembers ever growing green beans for the food bank. Joy helping Great-Grandpa create gospel play dough packets Dad’s memory is slipping more.Walkin’ my Daddy Home 27 assisted in making them. He’s concerned that anybody here in my absence would know who to call in a medical emergency. I tell him I’ll make sure that’s covered. and Joy’s mommy Annette comes and takes pictures. Dad needs an enema when the nurse comes. He says I’m the only one who really knows what to do. 11:35 pm—Dad’s calling me. . We review again that he doesn’t want to be whisked off to a hospital when his time comes. or doubling his bounty the next year in answer to prayer (used to be a very favorite memory). . 11:25. Even though he gets four Sennas and two doses of prune juice daily.
as James walks Dad and talks with him.” with a slight smile and restful look. Then he awakens (after maybe 45 seconds). He’s calling them “Gospel Play Dough Packets. Corrine suggests potting some plants since Dad’s always loved to garden. . “I love you too. Then he kind of abruptly says. stops all interaction and is SO quiet and still. and he says.” “Yes.. so finally I call hospice. I remind him that he’s never alone—the first person who’s always with him is Jesus. “God bless you. He wants me to keep up on a social life. plus we play and sing hymns. As we were climbing into the .” and the door gently closes.” “God bless you too. I kiss him and tell him I love him. Dad. He’s definite on that . and there’s nothing else that needs to be done.28 Treasure Smith in the comfort of his own home. He’s at peace with that .” and says that using more than average Haldol should no longer be a concern—what’s important is his comfort. Hospice says it’s perhaps “terminal restlessness. with people who love him nearby. . but wouldn’t want to hold him here when it’s time for him to go where there will be no more troubles and everything will be so wonderful. I’m Shirley.) 16th This morning he seems sad and just wants to sleep. (He picks out “Trust and Obey” real well on the electric piano.” Pam (head of food bank) asks him to keep them coming—20 of our initial 25 have already been taken by food bank patrons. Once he sort of laughs and says. I try to keep him active. “Okay. “I don’t even know your name—Shirley?” “Yes. . . and then says. but he feels endangered and needs to find shelter and escape.” Then he suddenly. so suddenly. but he’s feeling his usefulness going away. . Is he going now? Is he still breathing? I hold his hand. 14th The night is loaded with major hallucinations. and not only stay with him. I say that I want him to stay here (on earth). Corrine the nurse chats amiably with him.” I’d wondered if perhaps I should bring a recliner and sleep in his room tonight. etc. Dad and I rummage around and find several pots. and make up 21 more children’s packets. I won’t go into the details. He feels that all is okay now. The kids love them. He asks if I’m living here. and then concludes that he’s feeling bored. Shirley. . One extra dose of Haldol (3rd dose of evening) helps a lot. We also get into kneading play dough more. and I’m His backup. It doesn’t pass. but it’s like he is dismissing me from the room. it’s all settled.
(He’d said to Pam at the food bank that he doesn’t feel he will go to heaven quite yet. plus more for the food bank. and is the prayer warrior for out-of-work. but also the Play Dough Man.Walkin’ my Daddy Home 29 car leaving the food bank last time. because he still has work to do here. He creates and takes ‘gospel play dough packets’ for the kids. He’s not ready to go Home yet—he knows there’s more work . financially strapped families who put in their prayer requests at this Christian-founded food bank. I’d pick him. She’ll watch it. He’s making 16 for great-grandkids (and grands who don’t have greats yet). So we think about making cookies (DOING something) to BLESS people. I write on Facebook: “My blind Dad (100) and I just got back from the food bank where he’s been volunteering for 9 years. I said he could not only be called the Banana Man. if I could pick any dad out of all the world.) Being useful both in daily life and in the Kingdom of God is important to him. Give to a nursing home? To neighbors? Yes. (They do it!) 21st Dad enjoys Beethoven and Tchaikovsky—one symphony last night and another tonight. He’s not upset or stressed—he only wants to be assured that he’s not alone. 17th James and I are each up four or five times with Dad during the night. He’s very pleased. with cookies. and doesn’t let his lack of sight stop him. I cook it between and then form and color the balls and put them into their packets. Aaron is taking care of his Grandpa this weekend. He mixes the ingredients and kneads it a lot. And a plan evolves to include an outreach about Jesus to maybe 20 or 25 neighbors. and takes him for a little shopping at Home Depot—trying to get 100 smiles from fellow shoppers. Corrine the RN wonders if Dad could have a tumor—he continues to lose weight but increase his waist size. We’re just finishing making two more batches of play dough. In the evening we talk about making cookies. neighbors. Tonight I tell him that. or the Evangelist Man there at the food bank. 22nd Pam at the food bank asks Dad to be the prayer warrior for all requests. He liked Evangelist Man the best.
Dad doesn’t like to not be busy. Dad prays for my back this morning. But bedtime —always sweet and with a smile. For dinner. or the cantaloupe.” He says he doesn’t have the desire to DO things any more. But he does like the canned baked beans I substitute to provide protein 24th Dad’s getting lots more dependent. etc. Kind of hard to explain. with a smile and a twinkle. but he’s getting more challenging sometimes. I’m proud to be related to all three of you!!” “What a story! God bless him—deeply!” “Your dad is awesome. and it’s fine for the rest of the day. he refuses to eat his chicken. or well. or his “towel-bib” is on while eating. or even the coconut cream pie. Or drying a pan which he wants to do to help (and then doesn’t understand how to do it or even that he wanted to do it). but steady—this world is not his home. It’s a gradual shift. or while Sharone (the bath aide) is here and I go outside for a walk. We go out to the driveway at noon and do some raking and smoothing of crushed rock. It’s challenging for me to continue finding things for him to be doing—it keeps ME really busy for sometimes hours at a time. And tonight. he wants me to clean a drip that gets on his chin or finger. Dad’s sometimes just not understanding the simplest things—like when we’re cleaning out a drawer together and his part is to create a pile of rubber bands. lots of other things.” Facebook comments back included: “He is an inspiration to hear about!” “Grandpa is amazing!” “You take after him so much. some are open-ended. . which is having a twinge . My “time off” is after he goes to bed. . . When I mention that to him in the evening. But I’m not often getting up early to do that because I’m up quite a lot during the night. .30 Treasure Smith to do . . James and I also often have a four-hour “date day” when the hospice volunteer comes on Wednesdays. when I say “See you in the morning. For instance. It makes no sense to him because some are wider. . Sometimes I get out too.” he responds “Lord willing. And there’s stubbornness there too. he responds. “Are we surprised??” . first thing in the morning while James is here. Shirley!” “WOW!!!! Your Dad is truly an inspiration!!!!!” “That is so Awesome!!!!” Dad has his “moments” too. even when a napkin is there.
a nurse would be hard put to do her job! Nurse: (when he wasn’t involved in conversation much) I always get your smiles. 26th Although he’s tired. It’s important to him. we complete all the packets for the great-grandkids. Dad: Once in a while I let one loose. and we all. And we take four more gospel play dough packets. 29th He almost doesn’t go to the food bank today—so low on energy. Later in the day. Mmmm. But he chooses to go. Dad’s lively enough to do comebacks with the visiting hospice personnel: Nurse: Are you hurting anywhere? Dad: I’m sorry—if I don’t have aches or pains. including Dad. Bath Aide: Is it okay with you if I give you a shave now? Dad: You’re bigger than I am. He LOVES that—maybe hadn’t done it in decades. get to roast marshmallows in the embers. .Walkin’ my Daddy Home 31 25th We’re burning paperwork in a burn barrel tonight.
he was so strong. It’s not like we’ve “switched roles” as some say. It’s a few days into it happening for real. . . But it’s not the same. Things that brought that fulfillment just last week are turning into mechanics. or . He could pull huge stumps clear out of the ground. He does accept me (and James mostly) as a solid authority of what’s true. He is becoming more detached from this world. today’s the day it’s really hitting me . But he’s a senior with dementia. and I’m aching inside. Nail by nail. transforming a rickety two-room shack into a lovely 10-room home. or gets onto the floor from bed. I don’t want to just “do” these traditional things if it no longer brings him joy and purpose. but bounces back. . His legs were so weak during the transfer. Maybe it will have been the last time—MAYBE one or two more. . and clear the backwoods Woodinville acreage he and Mommy had bought in 1943. His future is awesome! I realize I’m going through a time of learning to be able to accept this new stage. they built their house. thinking they’re something else. 32 . because Dad’s not like a little kid. and will go with what we say. But he doesn’t seem to be bouncing back to actual reality any more. .NOVEMBER 5th Well. I needed help for the first time. just until this week. who needs to be cared for and loved. He and I have still been able to “talk” like two adults quite often. Tonight (before and after midnight) I’m writing my memories and musings about my awesome dad: Back when I first knew my Daddy. I’m so glad there’s heaven coming. . Together. searching for a phone so he can call his sister. We did the food bank today. He pulls at clothes. Dad’s sometimes been in another reality. Getting him back into the car.
My parents on their wedding day in 1939 During World War II he served his country building ships at the Ballard and Lake Washington shipyards. and I giggled and backed out. I’d never seen that before. One time I barged into their bedroom and he was kissing Mommy. Before my arrival on earth. and was a hobo riding atop freight trains during the Great Depression. He was a teen during the roaring 20’s. although private about it. he had lived as a child through World War I and the great flu epidemic of 1918. He fell in love and married my wonderful mother-to-be at the end of that decade.Walkin’ my Daddy Home 33 He was romantic too. .
She began getting congestive heart failure in the late 1980’s. building us kids a slide and treehouses. But Mom’s lungs had been damaged at her Firlands Sanitorium career.34 Treasure Smith Dad was faithful too.) A caring father. they escaped and shivered outside as flames burned their house to the ground. miner. he used his writing passion to compose the church bulletin so well that the congregation read it with chuckles instead of listening to the sermon. two weeks after moving into their replacement manufactured home she’d picked out. Mom died four months later. And playing too—enjoying Clue or Scrabble together. he put his talents to work through the years as an electrician. on the house. working—on the job. . collecting exotic rocks. But most of all as a gardener at home on their “Garden of Weedin’. quoting us his poetry. He was always there for her and my sisters and me. vacationing at the ocean. majestic places. combing our tangled hair. A few months later. And rejoicing when she was well and we could all be together again.” There he and Mom propagated their plethora of rhododendrons into more—and more. a spark ignited their 1940’s house insulation. in the garden. Teaching us scripture. historic. Magnificent each May! When retirement age came. his company gave him a gift—yet another rhody.” But he never quit his faithful service. Serving as deacon and then elder. All our family met Jesus as Savior at the Seattle Billy Graham Crusade in 1951. Dad was active-working. concrete man. They were hearts together. he taught us about nature and about faith in God. visiting Mommy after work every day at the hospital. playing Workout with ball and bat in the front yard. (The pastor asked him to quit that “ministry. wherever their pickup camper or the plane or ship was heading. spending traveling time to exotic. And Mom grew her unsurpassed dahlias. And one night during a 1995 storm. Mommy went to the hospital with pleurisy for two years. and salesman. He never missed a Sunday at church. A jack of all trades.
Walkin’ my Daddy Home
He was alone and lonely, and then married again for 10 ½ years. One night he exchanged chocolates with his new wife Eleanor at the nursing home, and she giggled. They said their goodbyes, and she went to heaven hours later. Alone again, he became an even stronger prayer warrior, bringing needs and loved ones to God daily, and giving the majority of his monthly Social Security check to help the poor and expand God’s kingdom. Raising rows of Fortex green beans in his front yard, he donated 120# to the food bank one year, doubling that through prayer to 240# the next. Heaven was beginning to beckon. He reached his goal of 100 years on Planet Earth. Three months later, his 5th stroke came, and this time he didn’t bounce back. His eyesight left, and a wheelchair became his mode of transportation. Seeing the change in my father was hard. My strong and capable daddy was neither any more. It came gradually, but this week it was clear. Today I’m feeling an achy heart. My father has increasing dementia. He is becoming detached from this world. He sometimes thinks and speaks strange things, and he needs personal physical care that I’ve had a hard time bridging to do. His once upright frame is now bent over, meeting my torso with the top of his head. Hospice is so caring and helpful, as are my wonderful husband and extended family members as often as they can. But I’m here almost every day, realizing the time is coming soon when my Dad is going Someplace else. I’ll grieve then, but not wanting sadness to be my focus. Why? Because he will be in total joy, with full vision, jumping and leaping (maybe even gardening) . . . and worshiping. “Well done, my good and faithful servant” will be words he will hear. He will be with his beloved family already there, and with Jesus whom he loves with passion and devotion. 6th Corrine the nurse and Sharone the bath aide are here. I get to go on my refreshing walk amid an exhilarating downpour complete with thunder. As Sharone leaves, she asks Dad’s permission to take his picture, saying, “I’ve never met anyone as beautiful as you.”
10th Dad does well at the food bank today on bananas, apples and potatoes, but he sleeps a lot even there. He gets three big hugs from fellow volunteers. Each time just lately I think could be the last food bank day, but he keeps wanting to go, and enjoys delivering his newly made gospel play dough packets. He sure doesn’t give up easily. James and I are quite exhausted from long-time sleep deprivation, getting up so often, so granddaughter Sue comes and stays with Dad for a time. Then Aaron arrives and takes 1 ½ “night shifts” so we can sleep. 14th We’ve been making up a huge chocolate chip cookie batter. Dad really gets into mixing it with his gloved hands. This afternoon, we take his 25 packets of cookies (with cards Aaron and I had put together saying, at Dad’s direction, “Happy Thanksgiving. God Loves Even Me”) to neighbors around his “block.” Reactions are really favorable. One man goes from suspicion to a half smile, a woman is so thankful and invites us to come over again, a man and son reciprocate with more cookies, another is available for help any time, etc. Some come to the car where he is sitting and enjoy meeting him. James drives, I (Shirley) deliver to the door. Dad shakes hands with his neighbors and prays. It is a good time, but he is feeling pretty weak by the time we finish. 15th 3:45 a.m. Dad had a whole Lorazapam (Ativan) last night instead of ¾—and seemed better. His mind is in slower motion than his actions. For example, just now, after urinating, he thinks for quite a while that it is still a future event. This “thinking that the recent past is still the present or upcoming future” has been happening more this past week. He gets cold more easily lately—a blazing fire and three layers of clothes and a light blanket, and he’s still chilly. He kept feeling like he had to urinate this morning (after having an accident in bed.) Then he had no strength to get up, using the walker from the commode. James had to carry him. 17th In the very early morning, Dad awakes and says to me, “I saw Harold.” I ask him what he said, because his voice is low, and he repeats “I saw Harold—H-A-R-O-L-D.” (Harold, his brother, died in about 1942-3.) They hadn’t conversed in this vision. Dad asks me how Harold is, and how Loren is (his other brother who died in February 2007). I say they are JUST FINE. He asks where Harold is, and I respond,
Walkin’ my Daddy Home
“Heaven.” (Within minutes, he forgets that he’d seen Harold.) The bath aide gave training to James and me on lifting yesterday, as more of that is needed now for Dad. While she was here, I got in a nice ½-hour walk, kicking up thick layers of fall leaves beside the road and doing a little puddle-stomping. 18th His nights have been quite wakeful. Often he wakes up needing to urinate, but he can’t, or it takes a long time. The nurse did a catheter yesterday, and it’s apparently not a too-full bladder. Since Dad slowly-but-steadily is losing weight, but growing in the waistline, his doctor wants to check his blood for the possibility of prostate cancer. (The nurse sees that his prostate is definitely enlarged.) Should we get a hospital bed? Maybe soon. Hospice volunteer Laura comes by for four hours today and reads in Pilgrim’s Progress to Dad. He identifies with “Christian” heading toward the Heavenly City. Laura is a little sad seeing how Dad is not doing as well as he had been six or seven weeks ago when she was here last. She’s planning to come weekly again now. Tonight Dad is discouraged and fidgety. He doesn’t feel like he can do anything. I get him involved in making jello, kneading play dough, and helping to mop the kitchen floor, but that doesn’t help his feeling much. (The mopping isn’t attacked with as much gung-ho spirit as before. He can’t seem to understand what to do.) We also get him walking some. We sing some hymns together, read more on a book, and finally go to bed. 19th Dad works hard at the food bank on bananas. Then back home he wakes up after a 1 ½ hour nap—he doesn’t want to sleep—there’s WORK to do. Then he drifts off to sleep for two more hours. 20th 4 a.m. I suspect that Dad may be going into a coma. He’s so still and unresponsive. 4:30 a.m. He doesn’t quite seem to hear me, so I just watch and listen and hold his hand. I talk to him about getting close to heaven and what an awesome place it will be. He seems to be in his own space.
Dad sits up. vanilla bean yogurt. Aaron makes his Grandpa a vitamin-rich. Dad?” “No. A little yawning. Dad thirstily drinks several swallows.m. . Aaron is the creator of his Grandpa’s super-smoothies 6:18 a.” He’s off and on shaking his arm. He lies back down. “Would you like a drink?” “No.m. a splash of grapefruit juice.38 Treasure Smith 4:30-4:45ish a.m. tasty smoothie—Milk. We call hospice and they explain the possible use of morphine if there’s pain or trouble breathing. . 5:45 a. “Do you need to go to the bathroom. .m. He responds “Yeah” when we say how good Aaron’s creation is.m. He pulls the covers off again. a little snoring.m. 5:50 a.m. His first response in a while—he’s taking his covers off. . 6:45 a. 5:40 a. James is calling family . brown sugar. 6 a.” he whispers. OJ. I ask if he needs to go to the bathroom and he clearly says No. Then . . and he swallows more.
or whatever. There’s mild confusion. Corrine the nurse comes. except for potty break. 7:20 a. .m. 2 p. Oh. Aaron and I help him get comfortable pants on. just talking. watermelon. and some leftover from the previous drink. apple. 2 mandarin oranges. I’ll miss him so much!!” I cry too and we all hug.” but “I’ll see you next time. When Sharone leaves. Then he eats a breakfast cookie Aaron has heated and drinks more. Stephan stops by to visit him in the evening. Dad’s vital signs are good (110/58). Dad has no desire to get up. vitamin juice. He feeds Sherri a dog bone. .m. He urinates. “Why stop now?” He wants it all. pointing to me and Dad.” and kisses his cheek. She says he’s apparently had another mini-stroke or two. and gives him a bed-bath and shave. When I offer to take back the cup. Dad gets up and sits in his chair in his room until bedtime. Aaron makes a second cup that Dad’s downing—this time a banana. and we’re trying to keep him hydrated.m.m. “You can count on one hand. he teases (weakly but clearly). OJ. milk. . 1:30 p. he doesn’t even remember not feeling well this morning. “Purity—that’s what these two have—the most pure souls you can imagine. is here. She says to Connie. Dad gets up (with help) into a chair. and has recouped some. It’s healthy and Dad loves it.” She starts crying and says.m. I tell him he’s a conqueror . 7:10 a.Walkin’ my Daddy Home 39 6:55 a. Noon Connie.m. but not bad. No chunks. The hospital bed arrives. “I’ll see you Monday. Adams peanut butter. She’s so helpful with any grief. the hospice social worker. and he’s at the top of my list. Scott comes over and is spending time with his Grandpa. she doesn’t say to Dad. 7:30 a. Sharone also comes.
and Aaron had stepped briefly into another room. A picture of peace. Maybe there will be more times too. Dad reluctantly tries his new hospital bed for his afternoon rest time. So I sat him up. and uses his wheeled-walker to traverse the room and back. I stand by as he does it again. 22nd At church. especially in bed. and he would qualify for one of those athletes—in spite of disabilities. but this was the answer I needed. correcting dead ends. but willing. He prefers his “tried and true” bed and is not enthusiastic. and I told him that he brightened the corners wherever he was. He leaned his head on me more and started drifting off to sleep. He contentedly lay back down while “Brighten the Corner Where You Are” was playing. I was taking a catch-up nap near 5:30 p. “For my Dad. As Aaron came back in. I remind him that granddaughter Jeanne used to be a Special Olympics coach. He was so content and felt loved and safe. Yesterday morning I’d asked God for another close good time with my father before he went Home. I was getting up and suggested we both get a couple more hours sleep. circling items. I participate and respond. Dad had used something to hang on for leverage and stood up on his own! Later. He was somehow kind of upset and wanted up and out of where he was. He seems real pleased—at his success. After some time. I’m watching him on the video monitor from my bedroom next to his now. physically conquering adversity and excelling. I told him I loved him and would see him soon and slipped out.m. He held on to my hand with that hint of a restful happy smile he sometimes has. I put my arm around him and smilingly said this was a good excuse to give him a big hug. and at Jeanne’s Special Olympics experience. We listened to the music for quite a while and sang “In the Garden” and “The Old Rugged Cross” together. I switched to sitting on his right side so he could lean on me and I could hold him up from falling over. 21st I just had a rich experience with my dad. Dad hates the mashed potatoes and beef gravy. He was leaning way off to the right as we sat on the bed. Then I put on some Christian music. etc. 100 years old and going strong. I love my Dad. we switch to his preferred choices—sorbet and green beans. people are asked what they’re thankful for.” Everyone .40 Treasure Smith At dinnertime. He was imagining.
When he gets up for breakfast. We usually do the diapers at night and pull-ups during the day. but this time it is needed as Sharone gives him a shave and sponge-bath there and settles him in for a nap. etc. victory sign. He even happily gets into the church choruses this time. He’s very tired in the evening and wants to go to bed early. so we assist by hand-feeding.) Afterward. Aaron is helpful by bringing coffee. But then maybe I wasn’t ready. and the pastor comes over to tell what a blessing Dad is. 26th Happy Thanksgiving! Dad’s still with us and doing reasonably well. he’s VERY sleepy. (He keeps wanting more. That later disappears. I’d like Judy to get to see him again. and Dad in his characteristic fashion clasps his hands and raises them over his shoulder in a conquering. Twice in the afternoon. I can release him for his glorious Homegoing.) I go for a walk and tell the Lord it’s okay now. He begins having incontinence during the night (2 #1’s and 1 #2). (We have the bed in the living room near the pellet stove—probably his favorite place to be. People laugh and cheer.Walkin’ my Daddy Home 41 claps. And it wasn’t. but other than that. he’s had incontinence two or three times a night. This Sunday is so much better than last week when we arrived late and children had Dad’s usual front row seat. then not until 7:30 a.m. but later indicates that meals need to be smaller—he gets too full. Since last Friday morning when he apparently had that TIA. I didn’t want that to be his last church time.m.. even though they’re not hymns. he eats his oatmeal well. most often with diarrhea. so no one knew where he was or was able to greet him. all is excellent. Connie and Sharone from hospice both come by. . He can no longer handle the spoon. And WHAT A DIFFERENCE too from Friday morning when we thought it could be his time to go. Dad had been unfavorable toward the hospital bed before. He doesn’t care (or know) if we use “diapers” any more. and needed a little more quality time with him. (very unusual to sleep that long).” so he won’t cough). though. Lots of people greet him and chat during the greeting time. Dad also takes communion (I share his “cup. which God gave me. 23rd Dad awakes once at 12:30 a. This time. Dad complains of sharp burning in his lower right abdomen.
His—and our—outward man is perishing. We have music on in the evening.) He doesn’t have strength or energy to get up until 3 p. I’m thinking that tonight could be the night for him to go Home. and cranberries. and a few other things. We have apple pie and ice cream to top off the sumptuous meal. but the inward is being renewed. visions. enjoy—turkey (moist and done perfectly).” Some coolness is in his limbs. I read the hospice materials on “Preparing for Approaching Death. . decreased socialization. but the eternal. spoon-fed. 27th Dad talks about all the family and how blessed it is to have such a family. I’m sleeping in the recliner by his bed. today. some confusion. He continues semi-diarrhea. and we smash his pills and give that to him successfully. In his weakness. corn. (He’d been having more trouble for the past couple of days swallowing pills. Not the temporary.42 Treasure Smith James fixes a delicious Thanksgiving meal which we all. fluid and food decrease. and only four bites of carrot-pasta-turkey-broth for lunch. including Dad. he’s strong in Christ’s strength. and some mottled skin. His light affliction is working for him an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. He’s strong enough for the bath aide to give him a shower. We do not lose heart. cornbread dressing. Just in case. When I feed him dinner. It’s not easy to understand his occasional words. I feel ready now for Dad to go. mashed potatoes and gravy. Heaven’s getting closer. and I read the Bible.m. which he likes. A little hallucinating. He will eat yogurt. even though I adjust prunes and meds to avoid it. We don’t look at what’s seen. when it’s God’s time. I supplement his usual liquid with broth. incontinence. and then mostly sleeps in his chair. sweet potatoes with melted shredded cheddar on top. it’s very small and most of the bulk part is spit out. 29th Earlier today he only ate seven bites of his oatmeal for breakfast. but what’s not seen. Drinking—instead of the whole sippy cup like even last night—is only about one inch. There’s lots of time spent sleeping. A glorious day is coming for Dad.
Then he and I both sleep better.Walkin’ my Daddy Home 43 30th I spend the night in the recliner again. We talk about: • • • How I saw Mom twirling in a field of wildflowers shortly after her arrival Home 14 ½ years back. How he’s been a servant at the food bank for years. and spreading God’s love recently in his neighborhood. That time has come. How I’ve asked God to give me a vision of him when he goes too. when I give him another dose of Robitussin. I’m glad James is available—it’s a two-person job. The bath aide comes and shows me more methods for his care. he would. and continues every 1-7 minutes until about 3 a. He has a pre-bedsore on his sacrum. He seems happy about the welcomers (his loved ones) that will be there when he arrives. • • • • . because I so want to be awake and with him when he goes. He said it was so good that we felt that way about each other. and an encouragement to his church family. being an evangelist with the children’s packets. I’d choose him. Dad’s more alert. so I need to turn him more. How he’s the best Dad. close by. and if I could choose out of all the world. and we converse together about heaven—would he like to go there soon? Yes. telling him that’s it’s okay to let go.m.) I’d prayed for the right time to have a heart-to-heart chat with Dad. and he is so very still. He said he believed that all we’ve talked about regarding heaven would be so. Then he coughs. (I’m not strong enough to do it all very well. hoping he’s not.. He kissed my hand and I his. I suddenly wake up. How he’s a role model to all his family. helping the less fortunate. Is he gone? I get up quickly to check. People want to be like him.
tell them hello. His eyes are welling with tears. “When you cross over and get there. He begins to talk again and I come close.” We make a pact that whichever of us gets there first will do just that. .44 Treasure Smith Five minutes go by. and he says.
and give . and Joe. but his comfort is most important at this time. I plan to sleep again in the recliner tonight. then a specialist nurse. “Okay. Then Annette comes to be with him more too.m.m. and he’s sleeping peacefully. Problem—the few words he speaks are now even harder to understand.. A nurse. with their Grandpa. (He’d had regular meds.DECEMBER 1st In the evening I give him a Tylenol (probably should have sooner—a portion of the right side of his head had started aching deeply. He’s sitting up. including Ativan. I think perhaps Dad had been waiting for each one. spreading to the entire right side of his head). calls back. saying. 2nd Jeanne and Scott come. Probably James too. I call hospice. Grandpa. James and Aaron arrive. Aaron puts on the oxygen and fixes up the visual and audio monitor better. Dad says that he 45 . Aaron is helpful with hands-on things.—as things with Dad start happening more now. Aaron suggests morphine—good plan. and Aaron will help during the night too. let’s have a good handshake like you taught me. heart to heart.” and helping to transfer him or whatever.5 Ativan with it the next time. 2 hours before). The specialist says we can give 10 mg Morphine every hour now. I’m glad they come when they do—near 9 p. It’s a very special time to Dad and them and everyone. 3rd Stephan comes over for some special time with his Grandpa. Dad finally gets relief after the 2nd dose. Late in the afternoon. Now it’s 10:45 p. sharing one on one. and spend quality time also. I remove his lower teeth as he kept moving them out of place in his mouth.
who listens and responds I talk with Dad’s siblings or their children. with those special words of love they wanted to say as their “au revoir” (as Dad liked to say—he’d taken French in high school). It’s getting close. I know he hears them. but he seems to have slipped into a coma. 5th Sometimes I feel ready for Dad to go—what joy he will have!—and I express that to him and let him know it’s okay to go. so they will know the time is near. . we’re giving fluids for his comfort and taste . Or Jesus? . Everyone loves him and has had their times to say good-bye. Glory? Pam from the food bank comes by. although he did say one word to Aaron. . Dad has “smiled”—is he seeing Mom? . I try to rouse Dad. They’ve been such close friends. The hospice nurse feels that Dad may be going Home this weekend (it’s Friday now). it’s not much. He’s not hungry at all for food. 9:15 a. . . but seems to be all he wants. A couple of times. 4th We have “heaven’s music” playing. and then grandson Rob too. Per hospice instructions. This morning Darren (deacon from his church and long-time friend) comes. . Judy gets to talk with Dad via phone. Although we’re giving fluid in 10 cc syringes fairly often. Rob calls again with more caring words for his Grandpa.46 Treasure Smith wants to sit up. . Angels? . and gives her love. Aaron gives him a fruit smoothie and repositions him up to play a bit on the portable piano. Angels are standing by. . His sister Leila and her family come to spend some special time with him. .m. Dad’s been in a coma all day. I tell him that Jesus and Mom are excited and getting ready. Breathing is having more and longer lapses.
I realize that Dad has not yet left the room. my feelings .m. About 5 p.m. so I can have time with Dad. and thanking him for being my dad. I tell him again how much I love him. There is an emptiness—he’s no longer in his body. and hot chocolate—a drop or 2 in his mouth at a time.m. God. He’s about to experience life like those of us left on earth have yet to see. I sit beside him. Jeanne sees it too. Judy calls—she’s seen him go on her monitor. He seems to be entering another realm. He and I watch videos we’d taken about 10 days ago before Dad’s last strokes—showing his 65-year electrical union certificate. 4:25 a. and he takes his final breath. . on her monitor from home. But his “now” is not the life I want for him. making play dough for the gospel packets. as well. and exhilarating. and for heaven. . Scott and Annette come over and visit. Pepper pop. Then I notice—his eyes (which have stayed closed) are so different. angels. Dad talking about childhood friends.m. It’s obvious. and we cry together on the phone. Although there is still a beauty in his face. seeing him with the eyes of my heart. I thank God in gratefulness for His wonderful salvation. 4:17 ½ a. Dad’s breathing becomes more shallow. I look up. his spirit has left. watching. and I’ll miss him lots. Dad’s breaths are getting even more shallow. He is above me near the ceiling. His heart beats its last. Dr.m. whatever comes. Dad’s hands are getting cold and starting to turn purple. 4:00 a. how much we all love him. in joy.Walkin’ my Daddy Home 47 buds via mini “sponges on a stick” that hospice provides for keeping his mouth moist. We give him apple juice. watching his breathing and feeling his pulse. and his pulse is getting weaker. Aaron gives his special good-byes with love to his Grandpa. James and Aaron dim the lights and step out. . I love my Dad so much. There is great joy in the room. being right with him on the final moments of his journey Home. 6th 2 a. His stomach will no longer process larger amounts. soy milk. and telling him in tears that he’s been the best dad in the world. I lean over and hug him and cry. I am so happy for him.
)” And then I see—he’s the guest of honor in a big homecoming party. with wings.m. He’s approaching the gate—and there’s Mom to welcome him Home first! EPILOGUE at 6:47 a. Sparkles are everywhere and heavenly “streamers. zooming through the galaxies. . knock over the video tripod with my feet accidentally. so glad he has arrived. jovial and rejoicing.) With Mom? (No . glory is very intense. “Okay. and it falls on him. . . the glory is so extremely intense then. but there are maybe 70-100 people gathered all around him. Wow.” There’s such joy in his arrival. but brown-haired and standing tall. so overpowering. standing about seven feet away.m. I realize that—like gentlemen—they’re waiting for me to give the okay for them to take Dad to heaven. I’m not close enough to see their faces. huh. . Wow—I can see him! He’s going through space in glory. I almost tease. I get up. 4:46 a. I finally decide it’s time to get some sleep. you can take him to heaven. As soon as I’m ready. As I’m crawling into bed. He’s no longer white-haired and bent over. and arriving at the gates of heaven in only 4-5 minutes. . I love you. just inside the kitchen entryway.” And they do. . . I nod my head and softly say. . . Dad. Its weight almost pushes me through the chair. I wonder. 4:51 a.m.m.48 Treasure Smith 4:45 a. “What’s Dad doing now? With Jesus? (No . . We’ll meet you there. and love and peace and fun. Then I see two angels. More glory—strong and concentrated. and am so glad you’re in heaven. Dad!” Then God gives me a special gift . Suddenly. They’re iridescent and white. “That didn’t even hurt.
Shirley’s dad exemplified rich faith and a zest for life. . Whether a hobo riding atop freight trains in the Great Depression. . . enjoying their three grown children and three grands (and they are grand! ) She has written a number of books. . or donating most of his Social Security checks for God’s kingdom. From hiking mountain trails . Shirley. or growing beans for the needy at his Garden of Weedin’ acreage. From being “Davy Crockett” as a young tomgirl . along with other loving family members. walked with him—all the way Home. From animal enthusiast . riveting account—including the awe-inspiring capstone—will give confidence for your own future. When his eyesight left at age 100. this humble man kept the fires of his love for God and people burning strong. This insightful. . to walkin’ her Daddy Home! Treasure and the love of her life Jim live in Washington State. and for those you may be privileged to accompany on their final journey. From loving orphans in Honduras . to instilling faith and adventure in her home-schooled children. to evangelizing in taverns. A love of adventure and a passion for God and people—that’s what Treasure lives. . Watch for more coming! ISBN: 978-1-4568-3739-6 ªxHSLEPGy837396zv*:+:!:+:!@ (91134) . . to winning Toastmasters competition. . this being the first she’s published.
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