My heart, my prayers are with you. I, too, was surprised when a very vital farmer who could walk miles in the woods on a daily basis, woofed down whatever I brought for him to eat every night, (especially my cream gravy) carried a punchline with the best of comedians, hid mousetraps in my boots was reduced within weeks to a weakened, frail little man whose voice was thick and slurred, who couldn't swallow his pills and who fell one morning while going to the bathroom and never was able to walk again.
The call alerting me of his fall came from my foster mom, who has dementia now, who couldn't really understand what had happened - all she knew was that he was lying in the floor and his head was bleeding. I called a farm hand, called 911, and rushed out of my office - a short 15 minute trip to the country that seemed to last for hours.
Within one week's stay in the hospital, my mom and I left the hospital after a wonderful long stay with him on a Friday night - assured everything would be okay even though the doctor suspected a small stroke and couldn't determine for sure since he had a pacemaker and couldn't have an MRI to make an accurate diagnosis.
We were to discuss the possibility of a feeding tube the next day because his swallowing muscles weren't working. We, the family and I, agreed this was NOT life support and were all determined to see this through one day at a time.
I got a 2:30 am call that Saturday morning - a tearful nurse telling me he was gone!!! Shock, disbelief, a thousand thoughts raced through my head - priorities ... what to do first, wake my mom, call my grand-daughter in town, call - call - call ... all I wanted to do was shout WHY to a cloudless sky lit by thousands of stars that dark, cool March night. I wasn't ready for this, I had plans for the day to spend with him - I had plans to spend more than a few hours with him ... not 30 minutes before I had to go to work, for 45 minutes of my lunch hour, and not those short a few hours after work so my mom could be with him and get her home before dark. I wanted more time. I needed more time.
In the end, I had to realize that the time I had with him would have to be enough ... and it was and is.
Now that I reflect on the fun we had on every Saturday listening to him mock an owl, or call a turkey, or pick out hymns for Sunday Service (my favorite - His Eye is on the Sparrow - a small joke between us as he used to grease the poles in the barn to make the sparrows fall when they tried to roost for the night). It was enough time to have my lifetime of memories tucked safely in my heart to hit rewind whenever I needed that fix, that comfort, that piece of me he became.
And now I have also learned what is "enough" for me to now take care of his wife of 60 years, my foster mother who is losing a bit of herself each day - her mind tells her my father is out hunting, or in the field, and will be back any day.
It is bittersweet to watch, but I have gained so much from the time I spent with him and lean on my promise to him the night before he died, vowing to take care of his wife. As I look up in that dark, starry night now I see his smile, I know he is there and I know she will one day be with him and, best of all, so will I.
God bless you and your family and remember when people say, I've had enough - a whole new meaning will fill your heart.