My Dad—Raymond F. Ross—died yesterday.
Totally unexpectedly. Heart complications in conjunction with congestion that settled in very quickly. He was fine on Saturday. The doctor put him on decongestant and antibiotics on Sunday when he seemed to be getting a cold. Monday morning, after breakfast and after eating some chocolate, he said his chest felt tight, but he was gone before the ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital for tests.
I was not ready. Am still not ready.
After all, he had bounced back from surgery about a year and a half ago, even though Hospice was warning us to prepare for the worst. He had recovered from overwhelming grief over the loss of Mom a bit over a year ago, even though he still would retreat into quiet contemplation thinking of her and their time together.
Since Mom’s death, we had fallen into a nice routine of visiting together once a week, usually on Saturdays. I would bring him a treat—he had such a sweet tooth! We would share memories together of his time in the service, him and Mom over the years, our photo trips together, whatever came to mind. At times he would complain he was getting old, and I would remind him, “I’m getting old—you are old!” He would laugh, and most times remember that he had promised some elementary school teacher that he would live to be 100. I did not quite believe he would be around that long—he was 93. But I thought we’d have a few more years together.
He was alert, aware, active, able to joke with staff and ask about family and friends. He liked to tease others and enjoyed a good laugh. It was easy to make him happy.
I was not ready for the call Monday morning that said he had died, the call that turned last Saturday into our last Saturday together.
I am comforted a bit when I look back and see that our last day together was filled with some last acts that we shared—and that I can always remember:
- One last round of teasing with the staff about him giving them a hard time.
- One last chocolate before I left, as well as a couple on his pillow for after dinner.
- One last hug and kiss goodbye
- One last exchange of “I love you’s”
- One last time for him to say, “Be careful!”
Those last moments together along with all the other past memories will have to last me a life time. I miss you Dad. Give Mom a hug and kiss for me. I’m sure there is chocolate in heaven, but I will still think of you every time I enjoy a Hershey’s Kiss or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. I love you!