Writer experiences frustration, relief over father’s passing

Writer experiences frustration, relief over father's passing
Second in a series

Saturday, February 17, 2007 -

Your father passed away this morning.


On the phone is Carlota, a nurse at the care center in Los Angeles where my 86-year-old father was convalescing. .

Your father passed away this morning.

You see, since Mom died 15 months ago, my siblings and I have been in a match to keep him going. His friends were in on it, too.

Your father passed away this morning.

Daily calls to keep tabs on him. E-mails to cheer him. Outings to distract him.

We all tried so hard to make him want to live; of course, that was mainly for us. How could we bear to lose both and so close together?

Anyway, it's what Mom would have wanted for him – to carry on, to live a full life after she was gone. We'd say these things to him, but it didn't much matter.

Come on, Dad, snap out of it, came unexpressed shouts from the deep interior of our hope.

Your father passed away this morning.

Dad resisted our efforts. There was bigness to his loss, his desire to live was spare. This is what we were up against.

Your father passed away this morning.

My life with Dad marches before me: going on Sunday drives, partaking in festive Italian meals, hurrying to Sunday mass, rushing about to please, tiptoeing around his temper, seeking the other side that was not eternally grumpy.

Your father passed away this morning.

I collect myself around frustration and yet relief. I want to cheer him on and reprimand him. I want to praise him and scold him. But most of all, I want him back.

Your father passed away this morning.

"Mrs. Damon, our records show that you are the medical point of contact. Is that correct?"

"Yes."

"Mrs. Damon, we are required to release the body to the mortuary within a certain amount of time after a patient has been pronounced dead. Do you have prearrangements?"

"Yes."

"What is the name of the mortuary?"

To be continued…

© 2008 Paula Damon

A resident of Southeast South Dakota for more than 30 years, Paula Damon is a popular columnist, keynote speaker and freelance writer. Her columns have won first-place in Iowa Press Women and National Federation of Press Women competitions. Damon's columns took second place statewide in the South Dakota Press Women 2007 Competition. For more information, e-mail pauladamon@iw.net.

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