Posted by: debstake | December 12, 2008

Nine Days and Fourteen Years Ago….


My father passed away. He was 83 and passed away from complications dealing with prostrate cancer. Selenium  might have helped to prevent this; but at the time I wasn’t into supplements nor did I read (rather consume) all the books, articles, blog entries and website information. I think back to the time when I wanted my dad to be checked out by a doctor. The man was 78 or 79 years old and had not been to a doctor for a good 40 or 50 years. He got a cold every winter, but other than that the man was going very strong. Still mowing the lawn (and very hilly piece of property), shoveling snow, and doing things that a man approaching his 80’s should be slowing down on doing.

Then my dad did something that none of us kids expected. He listened to our words and began seeing a doctor. A mistake looking back now. The doctor said that dad had “slightly” elevated blood pressure. So as is common practice, the script pad was whipped out. Band-Aid therapy for something that could actually be controlled naturally. But at the time; early 90’s before the personal computer became a fixture in most American homes; most people (myself included) were unaware of naturals.

After beginning the medication, things began to slid. Gradually, at first; but as time progressed it became obvious that he was not well. The summer of 92 Daddy took a small fall. At this point the grandsons (who still lived in the small town) began the mowing and shoveling. Daddy was diagnosed with prostrate cancer that year. He went thru the standard treatments of the day (surgery, chemo and radiation; somethings are very slow to change) to slip into remission. And he stayed there until the summer of 94 (also the same time frame when my DD was born) when he took another spill. This one more serious. He was taken to the hospital for the fall and found out that Daddy’s cancer was in fact; (no big surprise here) back.

Then things really began to slide and quickly. After 14 years of thought and hind sight;  I have come to the conclusion that Daddy was just tired and he was ready. He was right with God and I think he missed my mom a lot more than he ever let on. After all it was going on five years since Mom passed. He lived alone because he didn’t want to live with any of his children or in a nursing home. At this point my middle brother was very diligent about checking up on Dad and making sure he was OK and not needing anything. I think he also took care of the bill paying and doctor’s appointments.

Daddy first saw Samantha the weekend of October 8th and 9th. The ninth was also my husband’s 36th birthday. Daddy got to hold her a lot that weekend and it’s a good thing too because it would be the last time he would hold her. She doesn’t remember of course being just 3 months old herself. The irony of those pictures didn’t get missed on me either. The beginning of a new generation and the ending of  another generation. 

It would December 10th, a Saturday; that I received the phone call I had been expecting since I last saw my dad. I called my husband at work and called him home. We went north. All three of us. We got to the hospital. I was a wreck by then. We stayed (husband and infant daughter downstairs in the lobby) for a few hours, then went to the family home. Sometime during the night (around midnight I think) we got a call that Daddy was taking a turn for the worse. It turned out to be a morphine reaction. They were giving him too much. We stayed until late Monday.  When we left he appeared to be improving; or maybe it was wishful thinking on my part.

I called every single day three times a day and the nurses told me that he was doing ok. On the 17th of December we went up north again. We stayed until the 19th. Daddy did not look ok to me. The last memory I have of him while alive is a memory I would prefer to give back. I went into his room to tell him we were going back and would be back for Christmas (the following weekend). He didn’t see me. He saw through me but he didn’t see me. He raised his arms to the ceiling (heaven I think) and without saying a word, was begging for the release his soul wanted so much.

Two days later my middle brother called to give us the news. On December 21st 1994 at 4:20am Peter Matthew Schwartz Jr (all though he was not a junior. Another story for another time LOL) was released of this mortal world. To fly with the rest of the angels.

A year ago I could never have written this without bawling my eyes out. Today all I have to do is rapidly blink to shed the tear.

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