Robert A. Jones, 1943-2010

My amazing, brave, sweet dad lost his battle with cancer on Thursday, September 18, 2010.

I had a scheduled flight up there on the 17th and I knew that he was declining, but did not realize it was happening at such a rapid pace. He had been admitted to Hospice Care in the last few weeks, we had expected him to be there for many months.

When I arrived, he wasn't able to be coherent in his speech, but I felt that he knew I was there and that he could hear us and feel our touch. Before we left on Wednesday night, he was able to say I love you back to me (in his own way).

On Thursday morning, the nurse called to say that he was not responsive and his breathing was quite labored. We spent the day at his side, holding his hands, massaging his feet and when we had a moment alone I whispered to him that it was ok for him to let go whenever he was ready. That he had been so brave and strong, that it was ok for him to rest. After briefly stepping away to share a meal with friends, it seemed that the end was close and within minutes I saw him take his last breath. I am SO grateful I could be there with him. The care and love that we received from the Hospice care staff was unforgettable, they cried right along with us and I was fortunate that two people that I went to high school with in addition to another family friend are on staff there. As awful as it was to lose him, we couldn't have had a more gentle experience.

I cannot say enough about small rural farm towns. My parents have lived in Russell, MN for the past 10 years and the support we received from the community was amazing. An experience like no other, and I of course am so appreciative of my friends who have been in this with me from the beginning and along the way.

It has been almost two months, but it feels like just yesterday. I have been in the grief, really in it. I am finding the holiday season to be both sad and joyful. Lights, trees, candles and fires in the fireplace are all so comforting and yet it isn't the same without my dad here.

May your days be merry and bright this season and all seasons*


Jamie said...

What a perfect picture and heartwarming story. Hope you find a way to celebrate his life this Christmas. Love your December Daily-wish I could find a way to let perfect go...

Lexis said...

Last August marked the 4 year anniversary of my dead's death from brain cancer. reading your story made me remember my own experience and brought a few tears to my eyes. I know all too well the emotions you've experienced and will experience. my heart goes out to your healing

it comes from grey's anatomy but this quote sums it up perfectly:
George: "I don't know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn't."
Cristina: "Yeah, that never really changes...."