Mudty Relationships: An Essay in Closure - Part 3

This post is part of an 11 part essay that I have written in memory of my father, Tod “Mudty” Eaton, who passed away in August 2018. On this blog, I had previously shared the eulogy I gave at his Celebration of Life, which I think was a meaningful public goodbye to him.  This essay though is a bit more complex and nuanced in drawing out the final days of my father’s passing and how I reconciled his life, his death, and our relationship.  It’s a deeply personal essay that I have spent many hours on for the past year and with the encouragement of kind friends, have chosen to share.  

Additionally, if you feel so moved, I would encourage you to donate to my fundraiser for Care Dimensions, the hospice home that made his final days more comfortable for all of us.  

Part 3: Waiting

A photo of Paula and Tod Eaton dressed up and entering a room.
Paula and Tod Eaton, circa 2006
When someone slowly dies before your eyes, the process drains your attention, patience, and energy. But what turns that slow-drip depletion of your faculties into fatigue is the waiting. It wears on you and makes being present and supportive of your someone harder than it should be.

Waiting for hours in an emergency room for a bed to be available.

Waiting for help to reposition your father, so he can be more comfortable.

Waiting for pain medication to alleviate his discomfort.

Waiting for your father to fall asleep, so you can bring yourself to a 5 on the stress scale.

Waiting for aides to come help your father who wants to hold tight to his dignity as he loses control of his bowels.

Waiting for the doctors to arrive and give an actual update.

Waiting for the specialists to arrive because the floor doctor seems to offer a sunny disposition and talks about rehabilitation when your 78-year-old father is lit up with tumors over his lungs, liver, stomach and elsewhere.

Waiting over a week to get biopsy results.

Waiting for family relief to show up so you can go to your full-time job.

Waiting for your father to be in enough pain, in need of oxygen, or in need of some other constant care that he qualifies for a room in a hospice, because the optimistic outlook of 4-6 weeks left to live isn’t enough to qualify.

Waiting for medical equipment to arrive at the house.

Waiting for a discharge that was supposed to happen hours ago.

Waiting for a hospice nurse to arrive around 8:30pm but doesn’t arrive until 10pm to do an hour intake while both you and your dying father are exhausted.

Waiting to hear back from hospice about the numerous questions you have because you’ve never done this before.

Waiting after each time you’re told your father may not make it the next 24 hours.

Waiting for your father’s body to stop because his mind is no longer there.

Waiting for the sound of his breathing after five, ten, and eventually fifty-second pauses.

Waiting until your mom is off the phone to tell her that her husband of over 40 years is dead.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  If you haven't read the essay in full or have missed previous parts, feel free to navigate to other parts from the links below:

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