Monday, my father signed hospice papers, and is now officially under the care of Crossroads Hospice in suburban Kansas City.
At some point between the time we visited on Sunday evening and the Monday morning, Pop decided that enough was enough, and that nature was going to do what nature wanted to do. Acute myeloid leukemia is a really angry malignancy.
We talked with the oncologist (the wonderful Dr. Jacob Smeltzer) in early afternoon. By 6 p.m. the chaplain was at the house, followed by the intake nurse. I left the home at 9.40 p.m., and all was done.
Hospital furnishings arrive Tuesday.
With my sisters Karen and Beth, and Pop. 23 Nov 2017.
This is surreal. Less than six weeks ago, we knew nothing of this leukemia. A routine blood check led in quick doctor visits to a cancer diagnosis, a round of chemotherapy, up days and down, and then a hospitalization this past week.
Pop is sapped. We all are just emotional shells right now, doing what must be done.
We are of course folk of deep Christian faith, and while we don’t fear the Beyond, this transition is fraught with emotion.
I’m reminded of the words from a favorite hymn:
Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom, and point me toward the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
And at some point in the next few days, I will be writing an obituary for my father. I chose his casket already (pending approval from my sisters).
Pop’s brother and sister-in-law were in town this weekend, from their home in Joplin. I watched today as they said goodbye to my father, knowing that this would be the last time they saw him alive. And I finally shed some of my own tears.
What a strange journey this is. And what an odd Christmas this will be.