Wednesday, October 24, 2012

So Long Superman!

A while back, I wrote in my blog about the many times my 93 year old Father has cheated death over the years. In my post, I referred to him as "Superman" At times, it seemed that he might actually live forever.

I am sad to report that "Superman" finally met his Kryptonite and passed away on Sept. 15th, 2012.

It seems silly to say his death was unexpected.  He was 93 years old after all, but he'd survived yet another life threatening incident in mid-August when the car he was riding in went out of control and landed on it's top in a field.  My daughter, who was driving at the time, and my two year old grandson escaped unharmed.

So did my Father, it seemed.  As a precaution, he was transferred to Ohio State University Hospital via LifeFlight.  He had cuts and scrapes, bumps and bruises, but was expected to go home the following day.  Whew! What a close call!  We were so thankful that he was relatively unharmed.

The night before he was to be released, he ate his dinner at the hospital, in good spirits. I talked to my sister around 8:00 p.m. and she gave me the details of his injuries (or lack thereof) We laughed at the notion that Dad was pretty darn near indestructible!

I was just beginning to doze off that same night when the phone rang around midnight.  It was my niece.  She said the hospital had called and wanted to know "to what extent we wanted to go" in order to save my father's life.


Apparently Dad had inhaled a bite of his dinner and aspirate pneumonia had set in. They were able to go in and get the food particle out, but the effects had caused them to have to move him from the regular unit to Intensive Care, where he was now fighting for his life.  I was stunned, and needless to say unable to sleep at all that night.

And so the roller coaster ride began.  What followed would be two weeks of ups and downs, having our hopes soar one day, only to be crushed the next.  He was one tough old bird and fought as hard as he could right up to the end.

We drove to Ohio Labor Day weekend to visit Dad in ICU.  It was heartbreaking to see him struggling the way he was. His breathing was terribly labored, and he didn't understand why he had to be tied to the bed. Yet, he continued to entertain us all with his jokes and silly comments.  I felt with all my heart, that he was going to come out of that hospital with yet another story of survival to tell.

A week later, Dad was well enough to be scheduled for release to another facility where he would continue his recovery.

We breathed a sigh of relief once again.

But it was not to be just yet.  Two days before his planned transfer, the doctor diagnosed him with an obstructed bowel.  Normally, an obstructed bowel can be surgically treated, but since Dad was already in such a fragile condition, the doctor gave us no hope that he would survive such a complicated, lengthy procedure.  We were given the option of allowing them to do a colonoscopy, which may or may not straighten the bowel out- or do nothing but make Dad comfortable and let him slip away.

Had my Father not shown such a strong will to survive, I might have agreed to the latter choice, but less than 24 hours earlier, he had asked my daughter to pray for him to recover.  He said, "Where two or more agree on anything in His name, it shall be done!"  Dad had always been a man of great faith, and this situation was no exception.

It was after 2:00 in the morning when the doctor explained the depressing odds to me from my Dad's bedside.  Dire as it seemed, I didn't see where we had any choice but to give him every possible chance to recover.  If the colonoscopy didn't work, then I would've felt we'd done all we could for him. If we didn't allow the colonscopy and he died, I wouldn't have been able to forgive myself.

Later, that same afternoon, my daughter sent a picture she'd taken of Dad to me.  He was making a "silly face" for the camera.

I laughed and cried at the same time when I saw it.  How could a man in such great spirits be at death's door?  He wanted so badly to live.  He wanted so much to keep being "Dad"  I begged God to give us a miracle for him and asked everyone I knew to agree with me in that prayer.

"Wherever two or more agree ..."

By evening, we got that miracle when we received word that Dad's bowel was not obstructed after all!  I cried happy tears when I heard the news!  I told everyone about God's answer to our prayers.  It was really two miracles in one, because I'd also been asking God to help me believe like I'd once believed.  I rejoiced on both counts!

Less than a week later, Dad was tranferred from the hospital to my sister's house.  We all knew he still had a long road ahead of him but were optimistic.  With all that had happened, it didn't seem like Dad's work on this earth was finished just yet.

Unfortunately, and without any real warning, he passed away only two days after leaving the hospital.

My Father was well loved. People were lined up all the way out the door for four solid hours the night of his visitation. We had a beautiful home-going service for him on Sept. 20th in the church he helped to build over 30 years ago. He was laid to rest beside my mother in Little Mound Cemetery, just down the road from the house he and my mother shared their entire marriage.

I am still struggling to understand all the "whys" of the situation.  I also know that is a question I won't get the answer to on this side of Heaven. As I said, it may seem silly given the fact he lived 93 long, happy, prosperous years.

But to me, he has always been "Superman" and everyone knows that "Superman" is never suppose to die!

One month to the day after his death, I dreamed about him.  He was sitting on a bench with one of my uncles who is also deceased. Dad appeared to be young and healthy again.  He smiled and spoke to me.  I told him I missed him and loved him, and he said he missed and loved me too. Then he said, "But I'm alright now, Beck."  And he smiled, his eyes twinkling with mischief and delight.

I turned to call for my sister to come see him, but when I turned back around, he was gone again.

Dad never was one to sit still for long.

The dream was a gift from God. I believe that and I am thankful for it.  I know my "Superman" is now truly immortal.  Despite my unanswered questions and anxiety surrounding the circumstances of his death, I find peace in that knowledge.

So long for now, Superman!  I know I'll see you again someday. Until then you will live on in my dreams.


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