When your cell phone rings at 2:35 AM, you can be sure it’s a call you wish you didn’t have to take.

I marveled at how calm my mother managed to sound as she said, “Your father passed.”

I took some time to completely fall apart in the hotel room, with Karsten comforting me. It’s amazing how a hurt that has ached so much for so long is still able to hurt so much more.

After a bit, I dressed and drove over to my parents’ house, where my sister, my brother and his wife, and the hospice nurse all were. They were all in the bedroom with his body when I arrived, so I hesitantly went in. You know, it’s true what they say about how you can tell when life has left the body — it just lies there looking so empty, dull, and useless after the life is gone.

When the hospice nurse asked about whether we wanted him buried with his wedding ring (incidentally, no, my mom wants to keep it) and any other personal effects, my sister mentioned that the Livestrong bracelet he’s been wearing without removing for years now should stay with him. A few months ago, my Livestrong bracelet broke and I hadn’t wanted to replace it because I wanted to forget about cancer and death whenever I could. But at that moment, I knew that wearing his bracelet would mean so much more to me. My mom loved the idea, and my sister was initially hesitant until she thought of putting a new one on him before the wake. So she and I carefully took it from his wrist, and I’m wearing it now. She’s bringing a new one for him later today.

By 5:30 AM, the funeral directors had arrived to take Dad’s body away, and we’d spent enough time with it to feel ready to let it go. He wasn’t there anymore, anyway — the best of him has been leaving us for months, and the last of him had been gone for hours.

My sister went home to talk to her kids. My brother and his wife went home. I made the first calls to a designated contact on each side of the family. The hospice nurse finished her paperwork, disposed of Dad’s medications, and left. And my mom and I went to see if we could manage to eat some breakfast.

Everyone knows the cliche about how you always hear the worst possible music at a time like this, right? Can you guess? How about Rod Stewart’s cover of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” playing in the restaurant while we’re struggling to eat? We were crying as quietly and discreetly as we could, and I pointed out how much I hate Rod Stewart, which made my mom laugh.

Anyway, that’s about the latest. I’ll post more later, I’m sure.

When at last you reach the end, turn around and start again

39 thoughts on “When at last you reach the end, turn around and start again

  • November 5, 2005 at 1:15 pm
    Permalink

    We’re thinking of you here, Kate.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 1:18 pm
    Permalink

    *gentle hug* You’re in my thoughts.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 1:28 pm
    Permalink

    You and your family are in our thoughts, Kate.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 1:35 pm
    Permalink

    I am so, so sorry, Kate. 🙁 I know where you are right now, in your thoughts… in your heart. I’m shedding a tear for you and sending a hug your way.

    I told my Dad to help guide your Dad; I’m sure they’re sharing stories about their daughters.

    My deepest condolances to you, Karsten, you Mom, and brother.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 1:38 pm
    Permalink

    Sorry, missed your sis and the kids. 🙁

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 1:47 pm
    Permalink

    *hug* You all are in my thoughts right now. I’m so sorry about the loss of your dad. I hope you and your family can find comfort in all the good memories you have of him.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 2:09 pm
    Permalink

    *hugs* and sympathy. i know this was coming for awhile, but it still sucks. take care of yourself.

    and i do like the multiple symbolism of the livestrong bracelet. may it help bring you peace.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 2:24 pm
    Permalink

    Oooof. I wish I knew the magic words to make it all better. I’m sorry, hon. I’ve been there, and not so long ago, so I can just imagine what you’re dealing with. If there is anything, anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    *hugs*

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 2:29 pm
    Permalink

    You are all in my thoughts, Kate.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 2:54 pm
    Permalink

    Thinking of you and yours.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 3:07 pm
    Permalink

    Hang in there. I know exactly what you are going through.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 3:21 pm
    Permalink

    I’m sorry. Death of a loved one is a strange thing, but death after chronic illness and a long goodbye has its very own weirdness.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 3:22 pm
    Permalink

    I’m sorry for your loss.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 3:36 pm
    Permalink

    Sending heartfelt condolences to you and your family….

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 4:26 pm
    Permalink

    Thanks, condolances from Chris and I, to you and your family, our thoughts are with you.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 4:30 pm
    Permalink

    *Hugs*
    My thoughts and condolances are with you and your family right now.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 5:29 pm
    Permalink

    my condolences. *hug*

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 5:44 pm
    Permalink

    *warm soft hugz*

    My thoughts are with you and your family.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 5:48 pm
    Permalink

    Ah, Kate. I’m glad he is at peace, and away from pain. But I’m still so sorry for you and yours.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 6:14 pm
    Permalink

    i’m sorry to hear this, kate. if a hug would help, please have one.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 8:51 pm
    Permalink

    I’m sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts. Somehow, knowing with such certainty and for so long that it was coming doesn’t make it not hurt now, does it? 🙁

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 9:04 pm
    Permalink

    I’m thinking of you and your family, Kate. Hang in there.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 9:33 pm
    Permalink

    I’m so sorry, Kate. What a hard, hard day it must have been.

    -J

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 10:58 pm
    Permalink

    I know what you mean about going to the house and really seeing how the life had left his body. So much of your story sounded like my experience with my own father’s passing. I can only say that I send you strength and calm to get through this time of mourning. I’m thinking of you – C

    Reply
  • November 5, 2005 at 11:52 pm
    Permalink

    I’m sorry, Kate:(

    I hope you and your family will be okay. I know you have had a long time to prepare but it can’t be easy…

    Reply
  • November 6, 2005 at 5:34 am
    Permalink

    What can I say? You and your family are very much in my heart and thoughts. Please take care of yourself. Many *hugs* to you.

    Reply
  • November 6, 2005 at 8:13 am
    Permalink

    Oh, dear heart. So very sorry to hear this – and yet relieved, in a painful way, that the waiting for all of you, your father emphatically included, is over, the long slow process ended. What a man of formidable will your father must have been, to have stuck it out and stayed with his loved ones for so long – and how lucky he was to have you and Karsten and your family.

    SUCH a tough time for you and yours. You know my heart and thoughts are with you, as they have been throughout and will continue to be.

    Let me know when you’re coming back to town, so I can leave frozen pizza on your doorstep and listen when and as you want to talk.

    Love you.

    Reply
  • November 6, 2005 at 1:01 pm
    Permalink

    ;_; I’m so very sorry.

    Reply
  • November 6, 2005 at 8:30 pm
    Permalink

    My condolences to you and your family, Kate. *hugs*

    Reply
  • November 6, 2005 at 10:24 pm
    Permalink

    I’ve been peeking in here from time to time.

    In the last several years I’ve seen and experienced this kind of lengthy ending and the unexpected sudden kind. And they are both so so painful. My father died when I was a sophomore in college (unexpectedly)–I wish I had known then half of what I knew now.

    We’re thinking of you and all your family.

    If at some point you’d like me to point you to some resources, please feel free to contact me.

    Reply
  • November 9, 2005 at 2:47 pm
    Permalink

    I really can only offer you my heartfelt condolence. I think that
    wearing your Dad’s Livestrong bracelet is a great reminder …

    Words fail me and all I am left with are feelings .. simple and complex.

    Reply
  • November 10, 2005 at 1:00 pm
    Permalink

    Hugs, loosing a parent sucks. Know that we (your LJ folks) are here, now and in the future as those bad timings of songs and such happen

    Reply
  • Pingback:Music City Bloggers » Blog Archive » A whiter shade of pale

  • Pingback:The Bee Hive » Blog Archive » One small year and some tiny kittens

  • Pingback:The Bee Hive » Blog Archive » Thanks, Josh Ritter, for getting me ready for Monday

  • Pingback:Thanks, Josh Ritter, for getting me ready for Monday

  • Pingback:The amazing resurrecting lilies!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.