On Monday, I shuttled back and forth between home and my father in law's place. While I knew hospice and their nurses would take good care of him, it was ultimately my responsibility. A PVC pipe leading to my well pump broke during the night so I've been without running water in my house. While inconvenient, other matters were more important. My father in law was failing rapidly. He needed my love and reassurance to help him let go of this life to go on to the next. This was more important than any earthly need to me.
I brought my husband, his son, to see him oxygen, meds, and all. They spent a few hours talking and praying together. When I heard my husband say that both his parents would be there to show him to heaven I had to leave the room. I am only human after all. For the last eleven years I have cared for my in laws, buried my mother in law, cared for my husband with his cancer for the past six years, and now Saturday, I will bury my father in law.
After we left him, I tried restoring the water to my house. I cut the PVC pipe and tried to attach a new coupling. I fought with it for over an hour before giving up to try again in daylight hours. Even thought the couplings are the correct size, they won't fit into place. The whole pipe line needs to be replaced.
Tuesday morning came and I felt compelled to sit beside this man I've called "Dad" for twenty years. I held his hand, brushed my fingers against his temples, and talked and listened to him. Although the main thing out of his mouth was "Oh Lord." I knew he was praying. I sat and prayed for him and with him for many hours. I do not regret a second of it.
Until late Tuesday evening, I sat beside his bed until needs of my husband's had to be met. (Remember I'm the master juggler) He talked about his wife who passed away seven years ago and how much he missed her. I told him that she had waited long enough for him to join her. I heard him call out each one of his childrens' name and tell them he loved them.I felt so privileged to listen and be able to spend this time with him.
Somehow I knew earlier in the day it would be his last on this Earth. The old trained nurse in me judged his blood pressure falling, his thready pulse, his color,and his ragged breathing and the smell of death with each exhale. The non-nurse part of my mind reminded me he could last in this state for several days. He grabbed my hand in both of his and told me he loved me as I left.
On Wednesday in the wee hours of the morning, my father in law slipped from this life to the next. He was 91 years old. He was comfortable and died in his sleep.What a great way to go. May we all go so peacefully. Yes, that's a ripe old age, but do you ever grieve less when your parent dies or for me, an in law? Granted he has only been my father in law for almost twenty years, but that's more than some people have been on this Earth. This has truly been an honor for me. Although heavy hearted as I write this, I feel like rejoicing at the same time.
As I met with his oldest son tonight, my husband's brother, the tears gave way to laughter as we remembered the years. Only a thimble full was I a part of. This too is a part of grief and healing. Tonight I will say a prayer of comfort for all five of his children, the slew of grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren at the passing of Erle Murphey and a life well lived.
As always keep writing and loving the Lord.