Long Days Ahead

As I mentioned in my first post, I think that blogs are more interesting if you feel like you get to know the person you are reading about. This is one of those posts.

For those of you who don’t know me, we are going through a tough time in our family right now. After several years of battling cancer off and on, my dad can no longer fight it and is now in the Hospice system. I can not say enough good things about KC Hospice. The nurses have all been amazing at making an awful situation a little more bearable.

In the past week we learned it is probably in  his bones, very painful, and in all likely-hood his brain. I also had a friend lose her father and I just can’t imagine my dad actually being gone, even though the life he lives now is not living at all and he hates it.

Today we struggle with more news about his condition and of course just facing the downward spiral in general. Last night and today I could think about nothing except that I have not had a good conversation with him about his funeral wishes and just our relationship in general.  How does one even start a conversation like that? “Hey dad, I know you are gonna be gone soon, so how ya feeling about that?” (Yes my snarkiness is always in force no matter my mood.)

How do you handle the “look” people give you when they ask how things are and how your dad is? You know the look I mean; the head tilt doey-eyed look….My response to that: “He is still dying.” Yeah, humor is a big part of our family.

So, I guess this post has turned into questions…If you have gone through this, any advice is appreciated. I don’t know what I would do without the amazing support system I have in my life, especially given the people who should be here helping, his sons, are not.

Love and peace to all of you and yes, yes, I promise a funny HR story for the next post!

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About jeangleason

I am the HR manager for a company in Overland Park. I love to travel and really love the ocean! Spending time with my family & friends is very important to me. These posts are my own and do not reflect those of my company.
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5 Responses to Long Days Ahead

  1. kymberfell says:

    I don’t know that you have to have that conversation. I think the most important thing you can do is tell your dad that you love him and appreciate the time you’ve had with him. Tell him your favorite memory. Funerals are for the living.

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    • kymberfell says:

      I hope that didn’t sound harsh…you know I love you. I was only trying to say (rather poorly) that you don’t have to “be” or “feel” a certain way. There’s no right way to behave, react, or feel. Death sucks for those of us left behind, but with death also comes peace. It’s going to be ok and you aren’t alone, my friend.

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  2. Jill Connaway says:

    I’m really sorry you and your family are going through this. I’m glad that your experience with KC hospice is going well. Perhaps the good people at the hospice would have some suggestions on how to broach this subject with your father?

    I don’t know your dad, so I can’t say for sure, but I know that when I am dying (provided it’s slow and I don’t get hit by a bus or something) I would want someone to just be straight to the point with me… just ask, “What are your wishes for after you are gone?”

    Big love to you and your family in this difficult time. xoxo

    That’s my two cents.

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  3. Sara Paxton says:

    Jean, my dear friend, full of snarkiness and humor. As someone that has gone through this … and lived through a pregnancy where everyone asked you, people you know and strangers you don’t, all about your pregnancy, the child’s sex, the due date, and on many occasions, thought it was appropriate to touch my stomach, because apparently when your stomach protrudes 6 inches away from your body – it is fair game for onlookers and passerby to turn it into a drum set. On many days, I wanted to say, well, she is still suffering from two life-threatening birth defects and will probably die, but like you, took the courteous approach often and did not. My recommendation would be to reinforce the fact that he is on bed rest and has terminal cancer. If the word terminal doesn’t do it for them, no other explanation would get through either… As far as making funeral plans – this is a very difficult thing to do and trust me, whatever decisions you can have ironed out before you are going through the emotions of the actual loss, the better. It was one of the hardest things to try and plan a funeral for my daughter at 23 years old. To turn into and tour a cemetery while my daughter was still alive in my stomach and kicking felt like I was saying that I had given up on her. But, I can tell you, it made it much easier when I was saying goodbye and trying to make all of the arrangements, given that her funeral was on Valentine’s Day. I have not had the pleasure of meeting your father, but as you said, humor runs in your family. You could totally have some fun with it, and make it a light-hearted affair and try to bring some last smiles and laughter to your dad, giving him some peace and relaxation that nothing but smiles and humor can. It is April Fool’s Day after all. 😀 Hey Dad, you actually aren’t here, you’ve passed, and we are planning your farewell celebration and we’d like your input. I know this seems a little harsh, but I think about it if I were the one (and you, too, Jean) and I would have very specific expectations. What I would want the tone to be, what music I would and wouldn’t want played. The request to have my sister sing, if she could, as she did for my daughter. I would want pictures of my children and my grandchildren proudly displayed, as I know those will be the things I am most proud of in my life. I’d also like to have a second coffin for the best shoes in my collection. And, I’d have to find some fashionista to donate my ridiculous collection of bags to, someone that could appreciate them as much as me. 😀 I think that you would rather have the conversation and know that the last thing you do for your dad is exactly the way he would have wanted. You could have the conversation with him, if you think you could get through it, especially if you tried to approach it with humor… Or, you could give him some of your questions on paper and have him write down what he would like, if you think it would be too much for him, and for you. This is not an easy thing to do, and I am here to help you through it as much as possible. Sorry you are going through this. You are a beautiful woman and it breaks my heart for you to go through this kind of loss at such a young age. Love you.

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  4. Amy K says:

    Hi Jean,
    I came across your blog after reading a post on Sarah’s. I know we have not officially met in person yet, but I just wanted to share with you that my heart aches for what you are enduring. I think that sharing these kinds of life changing challenges on a blog can be an amazing source of comfort. I would be happy to share your post on Twitter and see if others who have dealt with a similar situation have words of advice for you?
    But no matter what, I know nothing can magically take the pain and sadness away right now. I wish you and your dad strength, comfort and peace.
    Amy Kiel

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