Interstellar Adventures

June 28, 2008

Missing Him

Filed under: Family & Friends — by InterstellarLass @ 9:46 pm

On May 18, the person that bought our house came for their first showing. And while we were out at breakfast that morning, we realized that Pop had broken his arm again. He confessed to me after I pressed him why he wasn’t using his right arm. The next day, we had an offer, and the day after that we accepted. We also took Pop for an x-ray. Followed by an MRI, a bone scan, and blood tests, all in the midst of negotiating contracts, scheduling inspections, and re-negotiating terms for inspection results.

And during that month, as we finished all of the official paperwork, scheduling movers, and packing, Pop was quickly dying. He lost the ability to walk just over two weeks before he died. I caught him as he fell after taking what turned out to be his last unassisted step. Either the doctor or the hospital lost the blood work that would have gotten us closer to an official diagnosis, but looking back, it wouldn’t have made a difference, ‘knowing for sure’.

I felt horribly selfish, praying that he not die before we closed. Really I wanted him to get better. One of the reasons we picked this house was the bedroom, bathroom, and patio arrangements for him. I had plans to make him a sitting area just outside the front door, on the covered patio closest to his room. He had stopped eating about the time he fell. I was force feeding him, struggling to get 1200 calories into him every day. Pleading with him for one more bite. Then at the recommendation of a nurse, I switched him to body builder shakes. A $49.99 container of lean mass gainer from the health store, whole milk, ice cream and fruits. I became a gourmet chef of smoothies. He liked those, and it was easier than me feeding him.

I combed his hair, helped him shave, made him shakes, and shrugged my shoulders, saying ‘we don’t know yet’ when he asked me what I thought was wrong with him. In reality, we knew. Between the bone scan results and his medical records, I pieced it together with help from Dr. Google. An abnormal PSA test indicated prostate cancer as a likely source. The bone scan report had terms which lead me to metastasized bone cancer. He had ‘hot spots’ on his (broken) right arm, left clavicle, thoracic vertebrae, and ribs.

We didn’t expect him to get better. It was hard to watch, and the speed with which he declined caught us totally off guard. A few months before, Nick and I had discussed that we thought he was slowing down. I wondered if he was holding on until we moved, and then he would die soon after. Little did I know what I was foretelling. He knew where he was when we brought him to the new house last Friday. I was glad of that. Saturday and Sunday he was pretty out of it. Monday and Tuesday he was never concious. Just over a month after we figured out he was sick, he was gone.

We are missing him terribly. We haven’t had a meal where we haven’t thought about the empty space at our table. I’m looking at menus, wondering what I would select for him to eat. (I ordered for him whenever we went out.) Songs on the radio make us think of him. Nick and I hug several times a day, one of us with tears in our eyes, telling the other of the memory or the thing we’re missing.

I miss him greeting me each day. Nick sometimes complained that I looked forward to coming home to Pop more than to him. While that was never true, I can see why it seemed that way. I would walk in the door, say hi to Nick, but make a beeline to Pop’s room to see how his day was and tell him what we were doing for dinner. I would come around the door, and he would look up from the paper or the TV and smile and say “Well Hi!” as he reached his hand out for a shake and a hug and a kiss. “You have a good day?” he would ask. I would shrug, make the hand-sign for ‘so-so’, or give a thumbs up.

Some nights he wasn’t hungry. Or so he said, until I told him what was for dinner. And then he would say “Well, that sounds good, I guess I can make a little room.” And then he’d eat a whole plate. Later, he would say “Got anything sweet?” He like his sweets.

When we were out, he would sometimes speak so softly I couldn’t hear him. Because he couldn’t hear himself, and he was afraid of talking too loud. “Am I talking too loud?” he would whisper. I would grab my ear and shake my head. And then he’d loudly say “Is that better?”. I would laugh and nod. “Make sure they bring extra napkins” he would tell me. Because the man could never have enough napkins or tissues.

He was my guy. Nick was there during the day, but when I was around, either at home or when we were out, Pop was right by my side. I fell for the old man, hard. At dinner some nights, especially out, when Pop was sitting by me, he would wait until he knew Nick was looking, and then he’d lean over and give me a kiss. “Oops, better be careful or the kid will get jealous!” and then he’d laugh with a mischevious twinkle in his eye. Nick would make a fist and point at his nose.

The last year plus was wonderful. At first, it was a major adjustment, but we transitioned from a family of 4 to a family of 5. And now one of our family is missing. And it hurts.

We love you Pop. We miss you so much. 249.


  1. I’m sorry for your loss, Lass. This must feel like one incredible transition from the familiar to the unfamiliar- a hard way to start life in a new home. This is a lovely piece of writing about the end of Pop’s life. Sending you hugs and prayers.

    Comment by amarkonmywall — June 29, 2008 @ 1:11 pm |Reply

  2. Aw, Lass, I’m so sorry. I hadn’t visited here for a while and didn’t even know he was dying. I know you’d chosen your new house to accomodate him. I know his last few months with you were wonderful for him.

    Comment by AbbyNormal — June 30, 2008 @ 8:21 am |Reply

  3. What a wonderful story about this wonderful man. Be gentle with yourselves. Something that hurts this deep will take time to soften. I don’t want to say heal because it never does. It’s amazing that 16 years after my dad died and 12 years after losing my mom that a day go by when I don’t think of them or think “oh I’m gonna call mom/dad and tell them about….” I can still bawl my head off that they’re not here to share my life as it is now. Be still and know that he will always be with you.

    Comment by carnealian — June 30, 2008 @ 11:00 am |Reply

  4. Thanks for sharing those memories with us. Keep writing what you remember, whether you do it here or somewhere else.

    Comment by Bone — July 6, 2008 @ 10:41 pm |Reply

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss! From reading your blog as long as I have I’ve gathered that Nick is a wonderful man, which I’m sure he got from his dad. I can’t imagine what your family is going through. (hugs!)

    Comment by Indigo — July 10, 2008 @ 7:29 am |Reply

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