I get up this morning and take Brighid to get her school uniforms. I stop and grab lunch at Taco Bell and head home. I am getting the family together to go spend some time at the hospital.
Everyone is dressed and we decide to take two cars so that Jim can bring Eilis and the baby home after they get too crabby to stay at the hospital any longer. I drive by myself over to the hospital and spend most of the trip crying – then I notice Eilis is waving at me from the back seat of her Dad’s car. She is so excited to be in the way back – she thinks it’s a big girl privilege.
When we get to the hospital, my dad has some company. He is eating lunch, but he acts very happy to see us. He greets Eilis first and asks for a kiss – which he has never done before. She goes over and kisses him and he holds her hand a minute, then she is off to explore the room. My dad’s company and Ann head over to the lounge so my dad has a minute to see the girls. He marvels at the baby, then Jim goes to sit in the lounge with Ann. I move closer to the bed – my dad is only hearing out of one ear and it helps to be on his right side. He didn’t get the scrapple and eggs he wanted for breakfast, but he enjoyed his meal anyway. He seems a little weaker today, and he is coughing a lot more. They are giving him breathing treatments through the day to help with that. He can’t seem to get comfortable in the bed, and I help lift him up a little bit. I spend the next little while walking back and forth across the hall to the lounge to check on Eilis, who has found the toy box. She is occupying Ann’s time, but my dad really needs her with him, and she probably would rather be with him than playing with Eilis.
His friends leave, and I get all emotional again watching my dad say goodbye to those he is closest to. His lunch is finished, and I ask him if I can take a few pictures of him with the baby. He excitedly says yes, and Ann rushes to find a comb to fix his hair. Soon, Grace is sitting in his lap, and he is oohing over her and holding her as best as he can. Through teary eyes, knowing these are the only pictures Grace will have of her with my father, I take four pictures. I cry openly as I put the camera away, and my dad asks Ann to take the baby, who was blessedly awake the whole time she was with my dad, her eyes watching him closely. It was as if she was taking him into her memory, understanding that her time with him would be limited – possibly to just today.
Someone emailed me sympathy and told me that God sent Granuaile to me to help me get through this time with my dad. That may be true. When I finally got home after spending the day at the hospital, it felt so good to hold her close to me, her little head resting on my chest.
My Uncle Bud and Aunt Lee visited a while, my stepbrother and his family arrived, and after a while, my Aunt Joan came. I was outside when she arrived and we went in together. She was sobbing rather heavily, and her tears brought my own back. We sat downstairs with my sister in law Angela for a while so my aunt could compose herself before going up to visit her brother. She said something that was very touching. If we didn’t have the love in our hearts for my dad, we wouldn’t feel the way we do about losing him.
Knowing that Ann would not be alone, Brighid and I left her with my dad, Danny’s family and my aunt. I’ll head back tomorrow, maybe with Brighid. In between company today, my dad planned his funeral and composed his obituary. I think it feels good to him that he is running the show. He’s been at the mercy of too many people for too long.