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Leaving for a better life

When the Montreal Neurological Hospital discharge team said we no longer give your father months to live; its weeks, they werent kidding.

He lasted six weeks almost to the day.

Many people, mostly family and close friends thank us, my brothers and I, for taking care of my dad. But becoming full-time nurse aides wasnt something we did for the recognition; we did it for him. We did it because we wanted our dad to be home, in familiar surroundings, seeing and feeling our smiling faces and tender touches rather than those of someone he might not have known.

While most cancer deaths are very painful, his was not at least physically. The doctors assured us of that, and up until the very end, the only pain he felt was anguish a troubled, mixed up anguish. You see because he had aggressive brain cancer his ability to understand and communicate was compromised, yet he knew full well that he was stuck in a Lazy-boy recliner unable to get up and do.

My dad was used to getting up at the crack of dawn, having his morning coffee and heading up to the village (Hemmingford) to make his rounds. Hed go help the owners of a local restaurant with opening chores - and then hed head to another establishment to help out there, then on to the next.

Why?

For something to do.

And because he loved people.

And because he loved to be useful.

Before his surgery he would come to visit me every weekend. I live on a farm in a wonderful old house where there was always something to do. We worked on projects, we went to auctions and we went to our wood lot. And whenever he had the chance, hed go with my husband and his buddy - fishing.

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