Jodene Shaer 

The toughest advice a friend can ask for – project me day 223

I dreamed about my dad last night. It wasn’t great … he needed something and I was telling my mom that it was pointless helping him because he was going to die anyway. I woke up still smiling that I had spent some time with him, eventhough I don’t remember talking to him. I don’t dream about him often so I savour every moment.

I sit at his office desk and do my writing. I wear his big fluffy gown when it’s cold and I savour every moment of my memories with him. I handled his death so well and has a beautiful experience and understanding. But that was my experience and not one that I could ever really explain no matter how I tried.

I hate answering the phone. Yes, in general I hate answering the phone and usually let it ring till my mother dashes and answers it. She didn’t have a great night’s sleep so when the phone rang I was forced to dash and answer it. I hadn’t heard that voice in years. An old family friend who’s my age. His uncle is my dad’s best friend.
He wanted to chat to my mom was relieved that it was me because he though that it might be better speaking to a child instead of a wife.
Yes … he wanted to talk to a child of a man who is dying the same way that my dad died.

Emphysema is a shocker. My dad was attached to his oxygen tank for well over 6 years and my friend wanted to know what to expect, how to handle it and how I was watching my dad slowly fade away. What a shocker of a question!

I’m not one to mince my words and you know my relationship with the truth … and watching my father lose the battle to emphysema was beyond unpleasant. He adored my dad, but then I don’t know of anyone who didn’t. He told me that my dad had said the doctors had given him 18 months and he had passed away within that time. He was irritated with his father’s doc because he won’t put a time frame of his illness. The crazy thing is that my dad never told us that the doctor had said that to him … hadn’t he said it or was he trying to protect us? It’s to late for it to even matter anymore.

He wanted to know what to expect and how to handle it. What does anyone say to that? What do I, who was blessed to have the beliefs I have say to that?
I lived each day as though it would be the last that I would share with my dad. I said good-bye like it would be the last. Not because I was pessimistic but because that’s how we should live anyway. I hated the disease but I also knew that my dad chose it. How do I explain that to some who’s beliefs I don’t even know. How do I tell him that I cope with it because I knew my dad was fully in control and that he would know when his ego had had enough and his soul was ready to let him stop the fight? I told him anyway. He listened and tried to understand as best as he could as I  tried to explain with as little ‘pagan’ essence as possible. It worked!!

He wanted to know how I handled his death so that he could prepare himself. You can never prepare yourself but you go into some kind of autopilot that just gets you through. I knew he was going to pass away the day before and woke up in the morning, ran a bath and waited for the call that I knew I would get. When my mom did call I was dressed … I dressed pretty and did my make-up after my morning meditation. I couldn’t drive so Baba took me and I listened to Shirley Bassey full blast in the car the whole way there. Totally calm and prepared, I watched my little sister walk up to me sobbing and she was just saying ‘he’s gone, he’s gone!’ over and over. My response was “I know!”

I told him everything. I told him how I had to choose to pray that his heart stopped instead of his lungs failing. I told him that the oxygen does horrible things to mind and that hospital become your second home.

Does it sound morbid?

It was one of the longest and toughest calls I’ve had to make. It was totally unexpected for an average ‘project me’ day. A day that had to follow the same pattern as every other day … truth, consciousness and fun. How is talking a friend through his father’s disease and death sentence called emphysema? I did … well, I did in the best way I know how. With every word I uttered I savoured the moment of my whole experience with my dad. I let myself listen and be proud of myself for my beliefs, my relationship with my dad and his disease. Most of all, I told my friend my truth. I told him my experience but I gave him the best advice I could have wished for if I had needed to turn to a friend before my dad had died … don’t pretend that he’s not sick, know that he’s dying but that we all are, so carry on living, loving and laughing … even after he’s going and then gone!