Thursday, May 22, 2014

Monday, May 12

Monday. 1:20 a.m.

When your phone rings at 1:20 something is definitely wrong.

It was my mom.  She was on her way to Eskaton after receiving a call that my dad had fallen and wasn't breathing.  Looking back on that, we all kind of laugh a bit, because my mom asked the worker if she should go to Eskaton or meet the paramedics at the hospital.  Given the time and nature of the call I would have said the same thing. I didn't say it, but in our phone conversation when my mom told me that Dad wasn't breathing I thought, "So, he's dead?  I mean if he's not breathing then..."  

Turns out that since the staff isn't medically certified they can't make a declaration of death, so saying he wasn't breathing was the best they could do. He had indeed passed on.  As far as we know it was relatively quick.  The staff check on each resident every two hours.  Dad was fine at 11 p.m., but by just after 1 a.m. he was gone.  Such mercy.

Nate was out of town (of course!) so his mom came over to be at home with the boys.  Kristina picked me up, and we headed to Eskaton as quickly as we could to meet up with my mom.  After hugs and a few deep breaths, we entered Dad's room.  He was laying on the floor looking more peaceful than I've seen him in years.  I knelt down next to him, closed his eyes, gave him a kiss and said, "You did it Dad!  You got out of this body!  I am so happy for you!"  Sometime after that the tears started flowing, but in those first moments I really did feel only joy.  All of us experienced something special in that room as we knelt around Dad.  There was a closeness to Dad and Heaven that really can't be explained in words.

After saying our goodbyes and spending a little time together in Dad's room, we called the funeral home.  It took about an hour for someone to arrive, but we didn't mind. We spent most of our time counting our blessings and being grateful that Dad was at rest.  On Mother's Day, Mom had visited Dad.  During that visit she reassured him that Jason, Kristina, Nate and I were taking good care of her. And, if he got the opportunity to go, to die and move on, he should take it.  About eight hours later he was gone.
Nate Boyce: ND Boyce 2014 &emdash;
(The last picture I took of Dad, three days before his passing.  He and Luke loved sharing a bag of chocolate chip cookies.)

Dad's physical and mental condition could have become so much worse.  He was just losing his ability to walk and likely would have been confined to a wheelchair in a matter of weeks.  His 'good days' were becoming fewer and fewer.  For him to go now, before his condition deteriorated even worse was merciful for him and us.  It has been heartbreaking to watch this disease progress, and it has been even worse for him to experience it.
Nate Boyce: ND Boyce 2014 &emdash;
From the beginning Mom has done all she could to make sure Dad had the best care possible.  It has been exhausting in every way for her.  But if his condition had continued to worsen it could have put her in financial ruin.  She was willing to do that, but, wow, I'm so grateful we're not facing those hard decisions sometime down the road.
Nate Boyce: ND Boyce 2014 &emdash;
In our waiting for the funeral director we cried tears of gratitude and love.  We knew this day would come, I just don't think any of us thought it would be quite so soon.  I definitely felt feelings of loss and sadness, but they were balanced and even outweighed by relief for my Dad.  We have been grieving him for years as we've watched death come slowly.  There would no longer be tears as I drove away from Eskaton wishing things were different.  I knew this journey for Dad was the best thing for him at this time. 
Nate Boyce: ND Boyce 2014 &emdash;

Once Dad was taken to the funeral home, Mom wanted the room cleaned out.  We removed everything but the big stuff, which Jason took care of later that day.  I arrived home around 6, just as the sun was coming up.

At breakfast time I explained to Noah what had happened to Papa.  In between bites of oatmeal he said, "That makes sense Mom.  So does Papa get to see Grandpa Boyce now?"  Indeed, he does.  I love that boy.
Nate Boyce: ND Boyce 2014 &emdash;
Luke and Noah spent the day with Grandma Shauna while Kristina and I joined my mom at the funeral home, followed by the cemetery.  It was a LONG day.

Nate was supposed to be in Vegas until Thursday, but surprised me by changing his flight and arriving home late Monday.  I could have made it through the week without him, but, oh, it would have been a challenge.  Having him home to help with the boys at night or pick them up in the evening wherever I had to leave them that day made all the difference.  Not to mention that I needed a few good Nate hugs at the end of those long days.

The rest of the week was spent notifying friends and family, making and confirming travel arrangements, and finalizing funeral plans.  My goal was to say yes to anything my mom needed.  It was busy and long, but a wonderful week spent completely focused on my family.  


Evie Pierce said...

What a blessing that your dad's passing happened when it did :). Thanks for sharing the final moments. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and your family :).

Lindsey H said...

Oh how those pictures made me tear up, seeing the love he had for your boys. Thank you for sharing these details and letting us get a glimpse into your world.