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Leaving for a better life

Of course he had to be home by a certain time on Sundays or if you planned to visit it had to be early it was the day a local restaurant offered country-western music, open microphone and dancing.

My father had long legs, and let me tell you they could move! And if you were within his reach, youd be moving right along with him. Im not sure which he loved more, fishing or dancing.

But for those last six weeks he sat and he lay. He ate. He drank. And he stared at the pictures he had on a shelf beside him.

So when people ask, was your dad in pain? I have to say, yes, yes he was.

And not being able to express himself made it painful for us too. You see we were given books on end of life care, but they mostly pertained to caring for those who could communicate. They were about helping the gravely ill make peace before they passed away. They talked about the need to have those wonderful, meaningful conversations the ones we could not have with a man whose brain was under such stress.

It is common for folks to say, Im sorry for your loss, but in this case his passing truly was a blessing.

It feels good knowing we were there for him. We made his last few weeks as pleasant and as comfortable as we could heck I think I know every Johnny Cash and Buck Owens song by heart, we listened to them so much. So, basically we have no regrets save one.

I never got to take the old man fishing that one last time.

I was with him when he passed away, he was quite restless at first, perhaps fearful of his fate, but he seemed to settle down after I told him it was time to go home.

I held his hand and said, Dad, it is okay now. No need to worry about us, well be fine and so will you. You are going to a place where theres all the fishing you can ever hope for and where therell be country-western music and dancing 24 hours a day.

He smiled and nodded in agreement.

I love you dad, I said softly.

Me too, he managed to whisper.

He slipped off into a deep sleep and passed away several hours later peacefully.

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