The End of the Road

img00010-20081217-2006

The phone rang at 6am yesterday morning and it was my mother in Miami.

I knew it was bad news.

“Your father is choking”, she said, “I think he is dying”.

I knew this call would be coming for along time.  For more than a year in fact. Yet when it finally does come, I don’t think anyone is ever really prepared for it.

We had been planning on leaving for London on Friday. Instead, we scrambled to get on a flight to Miami, which is where I am now.

We drove directly from the airport to the hospital where my mother was waiting. My sister and one of her kids joined us.

They have moved him to the hospice. He is DNR, and I suppose it is only now a matter of time. Hours.. days… one does not know.

l1000497

Do you know the way to San Jose?

My father had been in decline almost five years. He suffered a series of strokes, each one taking away another function, until he was bedridden, and finally unable even to swallow.  It was long, slow, tortuous and ultimately stripping away the last vestiges of dignity.

A few years ago, when the strokes started to come, we went down to Florida to visit my mother and father.

On that trip, my father had just lost the ability to walk.  We went out and bought him a wheelchair, and Lisa and I took him for a walk in the small nature preserve that is adjacent to their condo in Key Biscayne.

We pushed him in the chair and we sang “Do You Know The Way To San Jose”. It was his favorite song.

“Take a picture of your dad” she said to me.  “There will come a time when you will want to remember this moment.”

Watching him struggle for breath, I took out the picture.

The time has arrived.

21 responses to “The End of the Road

  1. Life is too short. Peace be with you and your father.

  2. Please accept my sincere sympathy for your father and your family.

  3. Keep the memories tight in your heart. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  4. I’ve experienced the loss of someone close – on more than one occasion – Peace be with you and your family Michael.

    Namaste’

  5. It’s a time for family and you are where you are needed most Mr. Rosenblum.

    It is not easy but, be strong and keep faith.

    My prayers are with you and yours.

  6. How terrible. Sympathies to all.

  7. When I spotted this headline and photo, I thought I was in for yet another post about the pending death of the newspaper business.

    Imagine my surprise to discover something quite different.

    May your father soon cross the finish line of life’s marathon.

  8. God Bless! I know I don’t want to get that call and I wish you all the best. My Pop saw you on 60 minutes a while back and thinks you have a brilliant mind. ( watch out he probably wants to borrow a few bucks- lol) The piece was very interesting and I’m in marketing myself and I wonder If I could promote my company Lazy Days Vacations with a hand handy cam and post deals on youtube and other media outlets. God Speed , Bye now! ScottP

  9. All the best Michael to you and your family. Keep life simple until you are ready to move on.

  10. thoughts are with you.

  11. your dad is in our prayers michael
    mel taylor

  12. Take care. God bless.

  13. Duane Halgrimson

    I got that call four years ago for my dad. My sympathy to you and your family.

  14. I’m sorry for your pain. My prayers go out to you and yours.

  15. Hang tough Michael…

  16. I got the call about my Dad ten years ago, my work had me on the other side of the world… I didn’t make it back in time. I’ll always regret that.
    As tough as this time is I’m glad you are there for your father.
    Deepest sympathy
    Stephen

  17. Michael,

    That is an wretched call to get but how tremendous that you can be there with your father now.

    I was there to watch my grandfather slip away and I recall how serene he was in the end. All soft, translucent and hairless like a baby returning to the womb. We all end up there in the end.

    The goal of all life is death.
    – Sigmund Freud

    Best wishes and sympathies,
    Eva

    Perhaps our fear of death is but embryonic fear of life.
    – Dagobert D. Runes

  18. number 1 we all have sap from the tree which held us. You are strong and the things that your parents gave you they treasure to see again. Our prayers are with you and I know he is holding integrity which is the ultimate parting possession . God bless you

  19. Peace be with you and your family

  20. Losing a loved one is always very hard… I’m sorry to hear about your father, and I certainly wish you and your family the best getting through this.

  21. Jerry Fortenberry

    The cycle of life is understood by all but understanding, doesn’t make it much easier. Remember the good times and time will heal the rest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s