Tonight and tomorrow are my dad's yarzeit. It has been 11 years. Hard to believe. 11 years.
Apparently, I've had this blog for quite some time now because I have blogged on my dad's yarzeit for the past 2 years. It must be therapeutic for me.
Last year I wrote about The News. The day my dad told us that he wasn't going to survive. That the treatments weren't working and the cancer spread. And that's it.
That was an agonizing day. Oh G-d, it hurts to think about it. I still can't comprehend how a parent can tell a child they are going to die. He was so strong......
I was looking through some boxes and found my diary from that year. And so I think I am going to write about the day my dad died. And the weekend leading up to it.
WARNING: It's a sad one. I'm going to basically just write from my diary........ adding a few things here and there. Maybe I'll put the exact words in quotes or something. This was written about a month and a half after he died. I don't expect anyone to read the whole thing. And I apologize to everyone that I am not writing anything original this year.
I don't know why I am not. But I found this a week or so ago and just thought I wanted to post it.
We really knew we were getting to the end. We knew almost down to the week. The last week was so hard. He was in so much pain and seemed to get worse everyday. At this point we had him in a hospital bed in our living room with hospice and a nurse's aid coming. We took care of him most of the time.
"Friday he was very out of it but better than Thursday. His breathing was so bad. It could drive a person crazy just sitting next to him. At some point on Friday evening, I went to the Winter's (our Rabbi). They had invited me for dinner but I wasn't comfortable with leaving Pa (short for Papa, that's what we called my Dad) for so long. So I went to let them know and came back with chicken, chicken soup, kugel, etc. It was so nice of them. And for the first time in a long time, we had a hot Shabbas meal. After dinner, Adrian went out. Grandma, Mom, and I all sat with Pa. He seemed to be doing worse all of a sudden. We just sat around with him. We were crying and holding his hand. I think we all thought he wouldn't make it. I was just hoping Adrian would come home. We were telling Pa it's ok to go. We'll be all right. Finally, Adrian came home. I was holding Pa's hand and squeezing it and stroking it. I was waiting for a response of any kind. Finally, Pa squeezed my hand. It must have taken so much strength. But it felt so good to me.
Adrian and Mom went to sleep because he seemed stable. Grandma was going to sleep on the couch in the living room. She was lying down and I was sitting with Pa. I couldn't leave. Grandma fell asleep and told me to wake her if I go upstairs. He would occasionally open his eyes and I would talk to him and he understood - or seemed to. One time he woke up and was looking at me. He seemed so scared. So scared. I looked him in the eyes and said something like, "Pa, I love you so much but it's ok to go. I will be ok. I will miss you so much but it's ok." He got tears in his eyes and I told him that I knew he was in so much pain. But he is going to a much better place. He is going straight to Shamayim. Heaven. Gan Eden. I told him it will be wonderful there. He is such a Tzadik. I learnt so much from him. I told him he would be up there with Avraham and Moshe Rabeinu. He would be by Sara Emainu and Adam and Chava. He gave me a half smile, like one side of his mouth. It made me so happy. I kept telling him stuff and some of the fear left his eyes. It meant so much to me....
I don't remember much about Shabbas. I don't think that too much happened. Pa slept and we just stayed with him. Around Seudah Shlishi time, I got a bencher and just sat next to him and sang songs. Song after song after song. He loved music so much and used to love to sing. I wanted to make this time enjoyable for him. And music was a way I really felt connected to Hashem.
Saturday night I was home a bit but then I needed to get out. So I made plans to go to "Empire Strikes Back" with Edan and Eli S. A bunch of people came over Saturday night and kind of made a kumsitz for Pa. They sang Nigunim from Twersky and others. I think Pa enjoyed it. Although he couldn't talk, he made that moaning sound when he tried to communicate. So when they were singing, it was like he did it extra loud. Like he was singing along. It was nice.
At about 11:30, I was going to leave. I came downstairs and everyone was still there. It kind of annoyed me because I wanted to say bye and talk to Pa in private but whatever. So I went over to his bed. I gave him a hug and told him I was going out to a movie with friends. I said I would be home and see him later. I gave him a kiss and said "I love you".
Those are the last words I said to my father.......
I came back late that night and went into the kitchen. I had something to eat and listened to my father. Before I went upstairs, I was drawn towards the doorway of the living room. I wanted to go in and give my father a kiss but I didn't want to disturb Grandma who was sleeping on the couch. So I just stood there in the doorway. I wonder if Pa was awake and knew I was there.
Then I went upstairs to go to sleep. Pa was breathing and moaning so loud I could hear him all the way in my room. It kept me up for awhile but finally I fell asleep.
The next morning (Mom told me) she went downstairs to do laundry. She went in to check on Pa and he didn't seem like he was doing well. Mom felt his pulse and it was weak. He gazed into her eyes and she saw a tear in his eyes. Then he stopped breathing.
Mom called Grandma into the room and they were both with him until his pulse stopped a few moments later.
Mom ran upstairs into my room and tried to wake me up. Lazy me didn't want to get out of bed until Mom said, "Nattie, it's Pa. He's dying." I sat bolt upright in bed and said "What? What are you saying? What are you talking about?" I vaguely remember jumping out of bed and leaping across the room in one step. I don't remember walking down the stairs. I remember floating. I ran into the living room and Grandma was by his bed trying to close his eyes and mouth. She kept saying they won't close. They won't stay shut. As soon as I entered the room, I felt a peace settle on me. I wasn't crying or anything. I walked over to the other side of the bed and took Pa's hand. I kissed his head and started saying Tehillim, Kuf Lamed. "Shir Hamaalot, Mimaakim Karaticha Adoshem......"
Then I started crying. Mom and Adrian came downstairs and Mom stood next to me. Adrian stood at the foot of the bed. I just kept saying, "I love you" and kissing his hand and face. I think it hit me then because I fell to the floor crying and almost shrieking. Mom was saying Shema. It was about 9:30am. I don't know how long we stood there with him. There was a time when I was alone with him. I knew I was supposed to cover his face. But I couldn't. I knew it was the last I would see of him. So slowly I inched the blanket up to his face. Finally, I covered it.
There is plenty more in my diary about that day. Details and details and how things played out. And plenty about the funeral too.
But I decided to stop here.
There isn't much to say. No, the pain isn't there the way it used to be. Maybe that's why I typed this. I felt like I needed to relive some of the pain. Some of the hell. Because I don't feel it every day anymore. Which is good. But when I do think of it.....I just miss him. I miss him so badly. And I wish he could be here with his grandchildren. Jonah and Sammy. And now new baby Iluma. (my niece)
It's not fair.......
So that's the story. I don't have plans for tomorrow. I am not doing anything special. Just the usual. I feel bad about that.
But if you are still reading this I want to make a request.......
Will you do something today for my Dad? Will you do something "Lilui Neshama" To raise up his Neshama? Please do a mitzvah - or have a L'Chaim - say a Bracha. And say that it is L'ilui Neshama Dovid ben Avraham (or if it's supposed to be the mother's name then it's Dovid ben Malka". If you have a chance to let me know you did something, that would be nice. But you don't have to.
Thank you.... and may we only know and celebrate good things!