Father Chili crossed over last night.
He’d been sick for a while – we learned of his diagnosis of bladder cancer in June, though we suspect, given the elder Chilis’ recalcitrance with communication, that he had likely been sick for a while before that. Fortunately, he was only very sick for a short time (though even that was too long for him; he took me into his confidence about a month ago to tell me that he wanted to figure a hasty way out).
There were a number of things that fell perfectly into place at the last possible moment. We are profoundly grateful that Mother was not alone last night; we had finally, and with the help of a gently insistent hospice nurse, managed to get Mother to agree to an overnight attendant who, as luck would have it, started last night.
I also managed to broach the subject of Dad’s wishes for his final disposition last night. Mother had indicated that their minister ‘had all that settled,” but when I asked said minister about it, she told me that she and Dad had only talked about his wishes for a memorial service; they never spoke of disposition plans. I mentioned to Mother that I had an extremely satisfactory experience with our state’s cremation society, and I offered to attend to those details if she’d let me. She did, and I finished Dad’s registration with that organization about six hours before he passed. A quick phone call to the on-call director after we learned of Dad’s passing assured us that, even though they hadn’t technically processed Dad’s application yet, they would still attend to him with all proper dispatch.
Mother is doing remarkably well, all things considered. We visited her this morning, she insisted on doing her volunteer shift at the church’s thrift shop, and we went back in the afternoon to take her to lunch. My hope is that she’s catching up on some sleep this afternoon as she spent most of the last 24 hours awake. The California sister is planning to come and stay for a while to “help” Mother transition to independent life (though I think that Sister needs the visit far more than Mother does) and we’ll plan to gather the whole family together again for a memorial service in the spring.
Godspeed, Dad. I will miss your quiet and particular presence in my life.