Monday, October 6, 2014

FIL has left the building.....

Friday night at sundown began Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year. And it's only fitting that a guy who only could remember holidays by what food was served, should take his leave on this day of fasting. That was my Father-In-Law in a nutshell. 

We had had a really good week. We took a ride to an apple orchard. He'd been feeling a bit better with an adjustment to his meds, and he was chattier and much more engaged. We laughed a lot. We made plans to take another ride on Sunday...maybe to see the new bridge in Hastings. He groused that there was no big Friday night dinner this week, and I pointed out it was the beginning of the fast, but a blintz-souffle holiday would start Wednesday night and that cheered him up. Friday right before I served our dinner, Senior Son called home to wish me an easy fast, and then talked to Grandpa about the new band van. Grandpa was so pleased that Senior Son, who is usually totally unconscious about such things,  knew the answers to all his questions like "what kind of tires do you have" and "what oil do you put in the van?"

At about 7:30 a.m., I heard the walker on tiles moving toward the bathroom, and then I listened to see if he would would head into the kitchen where the coffee auto-started at 7:15...which was one sound, or the walker would go back to the carpet of the living room where we had put the hospital bed for him, which was a different sound. Scrape-scrape-quiet told me he went back to bed, so I rolled over and did the same. At 9, I figured I should get up and get ready for shul, and I was already sitting up when I heard him cough...pretty normal...and since he had, just two days before, told me I was "irritating" when after every cough or sneeze I asked him if he was all right...I did not run down the stairs, but went to put a robe on. 


Lt. JG Siegfried
Doc Siegfried ~  DVM
There is a slender balance between doing the right and the wrong thing for aged parents. In Sieg's case, I was flying by the seat of my pants caring for a guy who came from another planet. He grew up on a hardscrabble farm during The Depression where they didn't have enough money to do more than raise enough food for 6 kids with a few extra eggs and some corn to sell in town. He was sent away from home to attend high school. He joined the Navy and went to OCS at Notre Dame never having seen an ocean until he arrived at his first commission. He was the first one to go to college...and he became a doctor. He was as strong as forged steel and as silent. For a kid who grew up near the city in a world with museums, theaters, and summers on the beach, his world could've been another planet. After Ziggy took his leave, it took us a while to find our footing and no, it was not always easy, but we managed. We came to an understanding. After all, he gave me a reason to get up in the morning when I thought I didn't have one. 

As for my own parents, they, too, are aged and I am far away. My elder brother masterminds their care, but I have not spent nearly enough time with them these last five years. I end up torn in half, wanting to be in both places at one. Now there will be a bit more time to get down there, but I know it will not be nearly enough to make them happy. And they're quite good at letting me know how they feel.

Somewhere in the middle, I get to figure out who I am. I went from grad school to wife to mother to widow. I've lived on my own for a total of 6 weeks...and that was only because Ziggy was in New Hampshire, the kids at my folks for tennis camp, and I was here trying to sell the house. I knew it was temporary so it was party city all the way. This will be different. This is real life. I have to learn how to say "yes" to invitations. I can go out at night. I can go to the movies, a play, a concert, a lecture without watching the clock. 


Great grandpuppy Bialy
The best laid plans are not always realized and Sieg's plans were not. His plan was to live long enough to hold his first great grandchild in his arms...and then check out. He was looking forward to that. 

There were but a few moments between the cough and my arrival in the living room, but it was long enough. He was lying on his on his bed, on his side, the covers kicked off his feet as they usually were in the morning. But this time, when I said, "G'morning! Whaddaya wanna eat?" there was no answer.

FIL had left the building. 


Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
You cannot be in two places at once....
but I bet you already knew that. 

11 comments:

  1. A major chapter in your book of life (and Sieg's) has finally ended... it may take some time but I am sure the next chapter will be a real page turner.

    Bless Sieg -- and bless you WP for all you have done.

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    1. Thank you. It will be an adventure.

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  2. My sympathy for your loss. You have been a good daughter-in-law. I hope you will get some time to just enjoy yourself

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    1. That's the plan. I just need a minute or two to regroup. :-)

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  3. I'm so sorry for your loss. May his memory be a blessing to all who knew him.
    Thank you for writing this. I wish you the best as you make your way, & I'll continue to look forward to reading your work.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words. Keep reading....and you can monitor my progress. I will try to make it fun!

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  4. I am so sorry for your loss. Your goodness and kindness to him in the last days of his life were truly admirable. I'd like to think he'll be there in spirit when you welcome your new grandchild.

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    1. Thank you....and I hope so.

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  5. Though on the sign it is written "don't pluck these blossoms", it is useless against the wind, which can not read.


    Amazing job you've done, Susan.


    -doug

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  6. So sorry for your loss. I'm sure there is a large space now in the house and it feels ackward but it is now time for you. Both of these important men in your life would want you to take this time and bless yourself.

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