Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sometimes There are No Words

Mark left for San Francisco this week to be with his Dad. The decision has been made to bring him home with hospice. The doctors say it could be two days, two weeks or two months, but we're praying that Dad Pombo will be able to spend some quality time with his son in the days that remain.

I'm not sure why, but I'm already grieving. I got up this morning, ready to go to Spanish Class, got to the door and turned around and came home (and cried some more). I think it's always harder on the person left behind than the one that goes. There are so many fine details to attend to and thankfully Mark has two sisters and a brother to help fill in the missing pieces.

Oddly enough it all started when Dad was with his bowling team (he's 85) and fell, broke his hip and then a series of continuous medical conditions ensued, including: pneumonia (MRSA), kidney failure and three heart attacks. So much for bowling!

Mark's mom passed away at 70 years of age and it seems like yesterday, but it's been 15 years and now Dad. In so many ways I'm closer to my father-in-law than I am with my real dad. Dad Pombo made sure he sent me a birthday every year with the words "you're my favorite daughter-in-law" for the past 36 years. Even after Mom died he kept up the tradition of birthday cards to the kids, the grandkids and the great grandkids. He never missed a beat in that regard.

But I feel thankful that he lived the last 15 years doing the things he loved: traveling, spending time with family and keeping up with his bowling league! We have fond memories that will sustain us through these dark days. In the updated version of  Living and Retiring in Cuenca: 101 Questions Answered  I'm adding a section that will be useful for "such a time as this."  As little as we like to talk about death, it's probably the only thing we can count on and we need to get the paperwork done (Advanced Care Directive). Whether you're here in Ecuador or in the States, you have to let your caregivers know how you want to live out your last days.

Most of us baby boomers are dealing with our parent's failing health and now is the time to talk and be proactive because we just never know. Our bout with Dad started with a bowling ball (something he loved to do), and ended with a life we will always remember.

Sometimes, there are no words for such a time as this!


Anonymous said...

I just started reading your blog. I once told a friend one of the difficult things we go through is the loss of our parents. No one will love you unconditional like your folks. It's a weird and cold place once they leave. I grew up in Miami and we lived in the same house all my life. When I go down there I swear I can see my mom hanging clothes out in the back. My heart would give anything to go back to 1979 and be a kid again.

I wish your family strength during this time.

Connie Pombo said...

Thank you for such comforting words. It's so true about seeing your parents alive when you go back to the house. After the funeral, I walked through each room and re-lived a thousand memories. The night after the funeral, I got up to turn the television off and I swore I saw Dad Pombo asleep in his favorite place on the sofa. So strange and yet so comforting.

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