Monday, August 10, 2009

The Sound of Silence

I wish I could say that my absence since February has been due to some amazing vacation or being super busy with fabulous projects, but unfortunately, that's not the case.

My dad's car accident turned out to be much worse than we originally thought. His broken neck turned into three separate breaks in his vertebra, and he was placed in a halo brace to stabilize it and keep him from being paralyzed. His broken hip turned out to be nonhealing, and he never was able to walk or bear weight on it again. The scrapes on his head turned out to be a severe brain injury that caused him to hallucinate and caused severe injury induced dementia.

He spent over a month in intensive care after the accident and struggled with pneumonia in addition to all of his injuries. We were fortunate to be able to move him to a hospital and nursing facility in our area, so we were able to spend every day with him.

After another bout with pneumonia and two run-ins with MRSA, I'm sad to have to say that he passed away on July 16, 2009, never realizing where he was or what happened to him. He was, however, surrounded by our family and by the loving staff at his skilled nursing facility who became like family.

I wish there were words to say how sad we all are at his loss, but there were also many memorable moments that we were able to share with him during those months, so we will cling to those rather than the sadness.

Like the time he called me a "little shit" because I wouldn't give in to some unreasonable request.

Or the time he told me that he needed more photos of Vern in his room (despite the fact there were already more photos of Vern than anyone else).

Or the time the nurse came to shave him and told him he was a hairy man, so he quickly told her that she was a hairy woman.

I also need to spend some time searching for the son I didn't know I had since dad not only insisted I have a son, but that his name is J.P. Morgan.

He spent his final months not remembering that he was injured in a car accident and was unable to move or walk, but instead insisted he was a farmer who needed to get his crops into the ground, or, even better, a gunslinger from one of the many westerns he enjoyed so much. That's not such a bad thing, if you think about it.

So yes, the past 6 months have been incredibly hard and incredibly sad, but it will be the good times that we will try to remember rather than the sad and the laughter rather than the tears.


Bev said...

I'm so sorry to read this update, Carla. I've been thinking about you alot lately - wondering how you are doing and when you'll return to your witty blogging. I'm so very, very sorry to read about your dad! (And you probably have no clue who I am. That's OK!)

Cyndi said...

I've been thinking about you a lot and hoping that things are settling down. Life just plain doesn't make sense sometimes.

Georgie said...

Sorry to hear that your dad is no longer with us - you must be missing him greatly. We lost my dad's dad in June and we're still adjusting to life without him with us. He is always in our hearts though... (GeorgineVJ from Two Peas)

Michelle said...

I've been thinking about you a lot, Carla. Sending thoughts & prayers your way. Remember the good times, it makes the whole process bearable. It gets me through the day sometimes remembering giving Grandma a "shower" on the back patio with the hose the week before she died because we couldn't fit her wheelchair through the bathroom door. "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." (name that movie.) Wishing you the peace you deserve.

Denise said...

I've been thinking of you, Carla and am saddened by the loss oyour dad. Remember the good times and the laughter, but let the tears come along with the smiles. My thoughts are with you.

Sheri said...

I am so sorry for your loss. As someone who is all too familiar with TBI's, I understand how overwhelming it can be for a loved one and their family.
Prayers to you and yours, Carla.

Peggy said...

I forget how I originally came across your blog, but when I just read this update I was very sorry to hear you lost your dad. I lost my mom in May of 2008. There are no words to comfort you I know. Just remember all the good memories you have.

Julie said...

Hey Carla,

It's incredibly healing to hold on to the good things when our loved ones pass. Don't forget to let yourself grieve. It's hard and it hurts, but it's so necessary to be able to move on and live your own life again.

Your friendship and loving words meant so much to me when my own dad passed 3 years ago. And all the other times I had was in a not so great place and you stepped in with love, caring and concern.

Please know I'm here, even if I'm mostly lurking and quiet. Let me know what I can do, k?