There’s one event that really sticks out to me when I think about the days my dad was sick. It’s probably the worst event and that’s probably why it stands out so much. The Friday before my dad died he woke up in the middle of the night and tried to go downstairs. I was asleep on the couch on “dad duty” because we couldn’t leave him alone anymore… someone always needed to be near by. I wrote about the experience here (about 3 paragraphs in) if you’d like to understand a little more about what went down. It’s kind of exhausting re-living the whole thing again.
Anyways, something that’s randomly been popping into my head is this question- Why did he want to go downstairs so badly that night? Maybe it’s been on my mind because our basement project is finally done and I’ve been spending so much time down there. The basement was his home so I guess it would be the only explanation.
That night was the last night he was up and “talking” and walking. I say “talking” because he really mumbled a lot by that point but he could distinctly get “let me go downstairs” and the word “basement” out. His determination to get down there didn’t really phase me at the time. I just thought the ammonia was making him crazy and even he didn’t know what he was doing. Now I wonder if he did.
People often say that before you die you get this last burst of energy. Sometimes they are alert and can actually enjoy quality time with their family members or are able to do things they love to do. I’m wondering if that’s what he was trying to do. Did he know it was the end? Was he just trying to enjoy one more night in the basement in his comfy chair in front of his big screen T.V.? Was that the last thing he wanted to do? And the worst of all… was I the one that prevented him from doing it?
I know it’s not good to dwell on the past and I can’t go back and change anything that happened but I find myself wondering more what would have happened if I just let him down the stairs. I wonder if I had just offered him a hand on the way down would he have made it? I wonder what he would have done down there and what he was trying to get to so desperately. I wonder if I took his last good moment away from him. I wish he was able to speak more clearly so I could have understood better what he needed. Maybe if I understood I could have done more. There are days I’m grateful I stood in front of the door and days I wish I could have just stepped aside.
I’ll never get that night back to redo it. I keep telling myself that the reality is he would have hurt himself if he tried to get downstairs but there will always be that little voice that asks “what if?”
Just another day inside my mixed up head.