Friday, July 9, 2010
During the time we spent at the hospital, much of it waiting for my dad to breathe his last, a few people compared the process of dying to that of being born. Moving from a known, secure place to the unknown. Long and arduous process. Hard work.
I would say that our role seemed like coaching a birthing mother. The day my dad died, as we were around his bed, it felt as though we were moving him on his way, helping him be born into his new life. We touched him and talked to him, let him know that we loved him and that we would be all right when he left. We breathed with him, quick intakes of air that left us feeling lightheaded. And when he breathed his last big breaths punctuated by seconds of silence, we breathed big breaths too.
Another thing about the dying process that has resembled birth is that I have forgotten how painful it is to lose a loved one. Just as I've forgotten how painful it was to have a baby. It seems new, this sadness. And I'm waking at all hours of the night and as weary as if I'd been taking care of a newborn.
I'm grateful to all of you for taking this journey with me. I've felt your love and prayers and empathy and sympathy. It has helped more than you'll ever know.