My father lost his battle with pancreatic cancer Monday evening 27 August. I feel it is a blessing from the time he was diagnosed with his passing was only 39 days. We were gathered around him Monday night, as we all had been for the five weeks he was here at home.
Dad made the conscious decision to be at home through this. His doctor told him chemo and surgery would only extend his life two months at best but make him miserable. So he chose to have home hospice take care of him and spend his remaining days with all of us around him.
Here are a few things I learned from this:
My Dad told stories which we’d never heard. I am so glad when Dad began giving us a family history lesson, we recorded it on our iPhones. I learned what Dad and Mom did on their first date, with my Mom’s twelve-year-old brother tagging along! He told us about his first job working as a draftsman in the aviation industry, a story I’d never heard. I’m so glad we recorded almost all of those history lessons.
I felt it a blessing to serve my Dad. As time passed, he could not do certain things. While ministering to my Dad, we had many very touching moments, just like Val and I had with my son Jeffrey during his illness. I’m glad I got to spend the time with him because we were told he had about 100 days. He lasted only 39. You never know how long a loved one will be here. Your relationships here on earth are the only thing taken with you when passing. I firmly believe I will see him again because of my LDS faith.
Serving my son Jeff and Dad was tiring and exhausting but was incredibly rewarding. My son John and I were on the night shift so Mom could rest. We created a flexible schedule which served us very well, and all of us got at least six to seven hours of sleep. Medical trials can be physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. Take care of yourself while you take care of your loved ones in their final days.
My Dad’s bucket list was food! He got to eat everything he loved, washed down with Pellegrino. He knew his appetite would soon be gone, so Dad enjoyed all his favorite food… Mexican from Mi Ranchito, Brick Oven spaghetti, and COSTCO Key Lime or Apple pie out the wazoo. His doctor told him there were certain pills he no longer needed to take since he was terminally ill, so we figured he could eat whatever. And we let him.
So many people wanted to be involved in helping him and us. We all have an inclination to serve others. Dad had a pretty constant flow of visitors, all wanting to help in whatever way they could. I learned when Jeff was sick to let people help however and whenever they wanted. There were times we told people not now and they understood. I felt it was their way of blessing our family and why not let them.
Dad’s funeral service was held on 6 September with his family and friends all around him and us. Thanks to all of you who made the trek to Provo to pay your final respects. We love him and miss too.