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Friday, November 1, 2013

The hearing goes last...

While my father was “actively dying” last October, we were constantly visited by the staff at Tiffany Court, the exceptional caregivers from Hospice of the Sacred Heart, and his physician’s assistant.
As all of these longtime caregivers & medical professionals were on the same page, i.e. my father was dying and it was only a matter of time, perhaps hours, we began to prepare for the worst. My sister and I started talking about the wishes that our father had previously expressed to both of us; to be buried in a military cemetery and to be buried above ground. Although our conversations were brief and quiet, I definitely remember having them in my father’s room while he was next to us in his bed, again...actively dying.
I’m sure we covered many other topics during those hours. At one point, we decided to explore the possibility of having my Dad buried at Arlington National Cemetery only to find that – unless you were a fairly high ranking officer – all new burials @ Arlington were now limited to cremations. That I distinctly remember discussing with my sister before my Dad came back to us on October 25th.
Since neither of us had EVER discussed cremation with our father previously, and he was completely out of it for our first ~36 hours there, imagine our surprise when – shortly after he woke up and out of the blue – he stated:  "I don’t want to be cremated.”
The other part of this story was that – all along and almost ad nauseam – the healthcare professionals kept saying: "Talk to him…the hearing is the last thing to go." And being the skeptical sort, I always thought in response: “How the heck do you know that?" My father, with the exception of a few raised eyebrows, had barely moved and not uttered a single word in the past day-and-a-half. How did they know he was hearing anything we were saying to him or each other?
My father’s “I don’t want to be cremated” should have immediately registered with me as an affirmation that, in fact, he did hear what was being said in his presence, but I can honestly say that at the time…it didn’t.
However, something that happened ~two weeks later finally & forever turned me from being a skeptic into a true believer.  

And while all of this was going on..."Frankenstorm" Sandy was about to wreak havoc on everything in its path.

Above: Those are clouds...not mountains.
Below: Delivered just in the nick of time.

More in the days ahead.

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