by Patti Holm
By now, dad is back at the nursing facility after suffering a major heart attack and stroke. He is on "comfort" measures only. He made sure that I knew what he wanted if it ever came to this. He never wanted any "heroic" measures or machines keeping him alive. He told me that he never wanted to exist as a vegetable. This has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I just sit with him, hold his hand, put cool cloths on his forehead, talk and pray with him. So many family members and friends come to visit him, but are not sure what to say, so we just visit together for a while. I believe that on some level, he knows we're here -- maybe. The staff assures me that he is not in pain, and is not suffering, but I wrestle with the what-ifs. I ask about how long "it" will take, and they tell me that "it" varies with each person. The will to live is stronger in some than in others. I sit and wonder about the purpose of all this, and I feel the pain of losing someone so dear. I know that deep down, there is a reason, so I just keep waiting. I find myself taking a trip of my own down "memory lane." I want to gently shake him one more time and ask, "Dad, are you in there?"