Friday, February 09, 2007

My dad is "checking out"

I just got a call from my brother Buzz who said that my dad is getting quite a bit weaker, and isn't expected to live long. He's been in the rehab facility for a couple of weeks, and his body systems are shutting down -- he's not eating or drinking, and hasn't spoken in several days. Apparently he can still hear. Buzz and my other brother Chris are talking to him a lot.

Dad hasn't been able to recover after his bout with pneumonia last month, which is not surprising for a ninety-year-old person.

Buzz is now having a meeting with the doctors, and hopes that Dad can spend his last moments at home -- maybe rent a hospital bed. I sure hope that this can happen, so Dad can be in a warm, familiar environment, surrounded by his family. Except for me, of course....

I'm struggling with this situation, wondering if I should fly home now.

But basically Dad & I don't have any unfinished business. The last time I spoke with him on the phone a few weeks ago (while I was in Toledo), I told him how much I love him, and he said, "I love you too, Cam".

I don't know if my presence would make much of a difference at this point, for Dad or for the rest of the family. Is this weird of me to think?

I've always been the odd man out, and am on a different wavelength than the rest of my family. I don't know if they could accept the kind of comfort and perspectives that I could offer now, anyway.

It's is suggesting that I come home. They know I'm on the road with Phantom. When my mother died nearly two years ago, I was in Boston playing the show. As a theatre person herself, Mom wouldn't have wanted me to "make a fuss" and come home as she was dying. I can hear her in my mind's eye: "Cam, you have a job to do. So DO it!"

I'm thinking that my dad understands this, too, and that his pragmatic side would agree that there would be no point for me to come home now. He's "checking out", no question. My coming home won't change that, and although my presence wouldn't be unwelcome, I'm thinking now that it wouldn't make much difference.

Such a dilemma.

So now I await updates on Dad's condition.


  1. I'm sorry for your loss. It sounds like you and your dad have, in effect, already said your 'byes. And It may sound awful,
    but in these situations, a good bit of the dilemma stems from the possible guilt family might put on one, for not making a "duty call".

  2. Thanks very much for your good wishes.

    My family's dynamics are such that they're not putting any guilt on me, which is fortunate. Basically I've just had to figure out how *I* feel about not being present for Dad's passing -- he's not gone yet, amazingly.

    My heart goes out to my two brothers, who are "standing vigil" with my dad at the hospital.

  3. I'm sorry to hear that. If I were in your shoes, I would go home to see him. I'm sure deep down in his heart, he wishes to see you. Maybe the culture is different between eastern and western, but I believe when you are alone thinking back of what you have lost... maybe you will a little regret on not showing up on the day he needs you? Love is needed ALIVE :)

  4. saorise, it is amazing to me that you have found my blog, and THANK YOU very much for your comment here.

    I truly appreciate your words. I do not think that there is so much difference between "east and west", however, each family is different.

    I have an unusual family. I was very, very close to my mother, for example (closer than with my father) yet when she was about to die two years ago, I knew in my heart that I didn't need to be there with her. We had said our goodbyes two weeks before she died. We hugged in greeting, it was amazing -- it was hello and goodbye at the same time. We both knew that it was our last hug.

    I spoke with my father two weeks ago, and we told each other how much we loved each other. I hope that this is enough.

    I hope that love goes beyond being "needed alive" -- that it goes beyond the physical lifetime. My father knows I am with him in SPIRIT. Being there physically is not so important.

    And yet...

    I am not completely comfortable with this. It is also in Western culture that it is preferable to be at a loved one's bedside at the moment of death.

    But I do not really fit in to traditional Western culture, either. I somehow need to make peace with this.