The morning my uncle died I got the news that my dad was missing from the hospital. He had received an overdose of meds and had received bad news and decided to go home. He called the ambulance a few hours later and was returned but was in end stage renal failure and refused to go through dialysis. I talked to him briefly that night and he said he would call me back.
(My dad and I when I was about 9 months old)
My Dad was another that had a hard life. Drugs, alcohol, partying, jail time and countless other hardships. My mother left him and took me with her in the middle of the night when I was about 18 months old. He tried for years to find me and to get me back. I met him again at the age of 9 and we had some rough times and times that I stopped all contact. Finally, in the years before I got married I let him back into my life.
(My dad, brother, Xavier and I the last time we were all together)
Over the week I prepared for my uncles funeral and waited for my dad’s call but my mind was elsewhere. He was in and out of the hospital often because of his COPD so him being there was not a shock especially since he spent 2 1/2 months there around the holidays. I won’t go there with the kids so I told myself that I would go see him on the weekend. Saturday was the day of my uncles funeral. In the afternoon, I got a call from my aunt saying that things were not looking good. I needed to stay at the funeral but I decided to head to the hospital before heading home. It was nearly 10pm and the security guard wanted to stop me but I told him that I was going up anyway. It was a shock to see him. His legs and belly were so swollen because of the fluids and he was suffering. It tool him a few seconds to realize I was there and who I was but when he did he sat up and for 15 minutes he said goodbye to me. We held each other and said “I love you’s” and then I left to let him sleep.
On Sunday, I decided to go spend the a bit of time with him and then go to supper with a friend to change to give my emotions a bit of a break. It was a rough time at the hospital with him. The swelling was at a point where water was coming out of his skin and dripping down. He was hallucinating and seeing people who were not there. He was alternating between talking about current events, talking about the future, talking about death and repeating over and over that he wanted to die and then being completely confused and not there at all. He told me that he wanted to go be with his mom… he had always said he would not die before her, but now that she was gone, he wanted to go be with her. He was tired but could not sleep as much as he tried. I knew that being there was not helping him relax so I said goodbye and helped him lay down and gave him a kiss and left. I talked to the nurses just before leaving and I knew that he was nearing the end. I told them to call me if there was any changes.
I went for supper and talked with my friend for a few hours which felt great and then drove the hour back home arriving at about 11:30… I looked up what my dad was going through and it confirmed what no one wanted to say. Simon asked me if he should stay home Monday and I said no, that I would call him if something happened and he said “I just hope that it doesn’t happen in the night again”… I told him… “It always happens in the middle of the night”
I wrote my half-brother on Facebook (he doesn’t talk to our dad) and told him in a few words that it probably wouldn’t be around much longer… and the 5 min later my cell phone rang. I just knew why. The nurse on the other end told me that he could not wake my dad up and that though his oxygen was at the highest setting, his breathing was laboured and that I should come in.
I left within minutes and like 8 days before I drove down the highway in the middle of the night to say goodbye to a loved one. I talked to Annie and my mom on the highway to keep my mind occupied and arrived at the hospital at about 1:25am. The nurse met at the elevators and I went to be next to my dad. He had been agitated but as I arrived he calmed down. He had suffered for so long and I didn’t want him to suffer for longer than he should. I asked the nurse what was the best way for him to go. He told me that if we took him off the oxygen he would be gone within a few minutes. I told him to do it.
I held his hand, I kissed his forehead and watched him take his last breaths and said goodbye to him for the last time. He died just before 2am.
I gathered his things and went to my car and wept and then headed to my grandmother’s house to try to relax a bit before morning. I fell asleep around 4 and woke up at about 7 and started to make a few phone calls. I went and got my aunt and headed over my other aunt’s house and we talked about what he would have wanted and I then realized that being his daughter, I was the one that needed to make all of the decisions and do everything. I knew that he didn’t want anything special, he didn’t want the funeral at a funeral home and all that comes with it. So I decided that we would forgo that, even though one of my aunt’s doesn’t understand, and instead, everyone that wanted to honour him memory would gather at a restaurant and we can raise a glass to him and be together and think of the good times.
(with Xavier, Colin, Khéna and Wilhelmina)
My grandmother, his mom, who died on new year’s day, had not been buried yet, so their ashes will be buried at the same time, next to each other in the family plot. He will be next to his mom.
I have so much to think about now… so much to do and so much to process… He was just 60 years old and he too is gone…
I’ll miss you Normand…