Together

Today I went to Dad’s room. I miss saying good morning to him and wishing him good night. The house feels a little empty. I had the opportunity to tell him I love him on several occasions as well as Martha, Keith, and Chris. I know he felt loved. I want to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and well wishes. Dad’s passing has brought me closer to my family and friends. I know he is smiling, there is no more pain and he’s together with Mom.

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A Good Man

Today August 30, my father, George Schindler, passed leaving friends and family to join his wife Doris Schindler.
Whenever I go fishing, shine my shoes, walk a beautiful trail, think of Mom, and enjoy life in this great country I will think of you Dad.
Someday I’ll see you and Mom again.
I love you both.

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Hospice

Hospice has been incredible through Dad’s decline. We have had a wonder hospice nurse, Shannon, who has been available whenever needed. She has been compassionate, wise, and always on top of the situation and a personal friend as well. She is one of a whole team overseeing Dad. Jennifer, care nurse, Kaitlin, medical social assistant, Ellie case management nurse, Stacy, Chaplin, and of course the wonderful intake nurse, Martha. I feel very fortunate and safe to have such great people looking after Dad. When a time of need arises I wouldn’t hesitate to ask their assistance again. Thank you so much.

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Country

When my brother came down he brought with him Dad’s World War II medals and ribbons. Dad was talking then so we asked him a few questions. For the most part he had a hard time remembering what they were for. He remembered being stationed in Fano, Italy and that he worked with a radar unit. My brother has done a little research and feels that he may have been on a classified mission there and we’re trying to find out more. The mission may involve that unusual patch with the snake curled around a bomb in the photo. When Dad finished in Fano he was on his way to Japan when they surrendered. About twenty years ago I recorded several taped interviews with Mom and Dad and I plan to listen to them again as soon as I find a cassette player. Maybe he mentioned something then. We enjoyed looking at his army photos with him. He had many friends in those days and traveled as far as England. Thank you Dad for serving and helping protect our country.

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Friends

Setting at my father’s bedside I’ve been thinking about all our friends. Almost all of Dad’s friends have passed. So I’m thinking of my fiends past and present. Some have known my Dad and some only know him from my posts here on WordPress. Thank you for completing me because without friends life would be very empty. Some of you I have know for over forty years and some I’ve just met. Your support through my father’s final journey has meant so much to me and helps complete this last lesson Dad is teaching me. Words cannot express my feelings. I feel you here with me. I hope that someday I can be there for you.

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Family

As Dad draws closer to passing I think about how fortunate I am to have such a great family, both past and present.My wonderful wife Martha told me how special it was to bring her own father home a few years ago and take care of him during his final days. She explained how it brought her closer to her father as well as brothers and sister and how precious those final hours were. She helped me to see how important these last few moments can be. Martha has been a hospice nurse for quite a while and has helped many people through their difficult times. Real tuff job only a few people can do. I admire her greatly for being able to do this. I have a wonderful brother Keith and his partner Chris who took care of my parents for several years. My mother began her decline last year and they stepped up and took care of both of them. Mom’s path was pretty tuff she fell on different occasions and broke a hip and then her pelvis finally ending her journey in a skilled nursing facility near Keith and Chris. I think the world of these guys, that wasn’t easy. Their support and presence during these times has meant a lot to me. I also think of my extended family through Martha and how great her side of the family is. Her brothers and sister, brother -in- law, sister-in-laws, nieces and nephews and cousins are close and they make me fell like one of the family. I am thankful for all of you.

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Presence

Saturday I put Mom’s picture on the wall near Dad so he could see it from his bed. He told the care giver – that’s my wife. Later he mentioned to the Chaplin that he had been dreaming about her. Martha, my wife, mentioned that Dad spoke to Mom while she was sitting with him. Last night sitting with Dad I had the feeling she was near him, perhaps speaking words of comfort. Dad had a pretty tough time of it this morning. Shannon, Dad’s hospice nurse, came right away and increased his morphine and brought in oxygen to relieve his stress. Dad talks very little now. A few times he very softly said Doris,mom’s name early this morning. He is resting comfortably in his room now. I feel Mom’s with him this evening, soon he may go with her.

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A Feeling

For a couple of days Dad hasn’t wanted to move from bed. He seems more tired and weaker. Today we talked a little while about fishing and then I left to eat dinner and do the dishes. Our care giver came to me and said Dad wanted to speak to me. By the time I got to his room he seemed to be asleep so I pulled up a chair and sat next to him. His right hand was shaking so I carefully put my hand around his and that seemed to calm the shakes. Once in-awhile he would lightly squeeze my hand. I sat there for some time watching his shallow breathing and thought of the times we spent together on lakes fishing. I feel that the time of his passing is approaching and I no longer feel the dread I had when thinking about death. It is a part of the cycle we all go through and a good thing.

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Shoes

In the 60’s when I was forming most of my values we flashed the peace sign and said the word love a lot. I was 16 years old and had a problem with my father saying he loved me. I would say I love you and my father would say “yeah” or on rare occasion say “me too.” I never heard him say the words and I mentioned this to my mother because it hurt. She said my father was from a generation where the men had to be strong and saying words of love and compassion were considered weak in our culture. She explained that he did many things to show his love and that I needed to look closer. She said he would buy my clothes ( something I thought was automatic), take me to the doctor on a moments notice, stay up with me when I was sick, occasionally wash my car when I was sleeping in, make me pancakes when mom was gone, and he would slip in while I was on one of my weekend marathon sleep ins and grab my shoes and polish them for me. When I woke up and staggered out of my room at the base of my door would be a polished pair of my dress shoes. Wow thanks Mom I guess Dad loves me. Now I look at my Dad, so frail in his bed, and tell him each night that I love him and he says he loves me too. This makes me cry.

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So Soon

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My father and mother were married for 66 years. Their anniversary was last December on the 14th, 2012. Mom passed on February 17th at the age of 89. She had many health problems breast cancer, strangulation of the bowel, several heart surgeries, knee replacement, broken hip and on and on. All the while she kept a good and optimistic attitude . She bounced back so many times I called her the Ever- Ready bunny because she always kept running. If there was a name or date I couldn’t remember, mom always could. Even at the age of 62, whenever I was going somewhere, she would have to know where I was going and when I was expected to be there. When I said my last goodbye to her in the hospital she surprised me by saying, call me when you get home (so she would know I arrived safe).I know Dad misses her very much as do the rest of us. Love you Mom.