I want to share my Daddy’s last journey here on earth. To say that the start of this year of 2022 has been difficult would be an understatement. It’s been a horrific time in my life and in my family’s life.
I truly wish I did not have to write my Dad’s last journey story, but sadly here it is.
Momma And Daddy Moving From Apartment
My Momma and Daddy had been living in a beautiful apartment close to my sister, Joy’s home for almost a year. Joy would cook meals and bring sometimes 3 times a day to the apartment for them.. Sometimes she would prepare meals for them at the apartment. She and Daddy would do the grocery shopping together most times. I am not the best of cooks to be perfectly honest, so I would do my part to come over to the apartment and clean what was needed and do laundry to help them along.
We realized that Momma and Daddy were no longer truly capable of handling these tasks anymore; no matter how they tried. Momma was so happy in their apartment. She and Daddy did not want to be a burden to our lifestyles. Of course, they never were. We loved doing what we could to be there for them both.
Sometime around mid November, they received a letter from their landlord; stating that their rent would be increased effective January 1, 2022. Because the cost was more than they could manage; they decided that moving back in with Joy and Jack was what they wanted to do.
On December 1, 2021 Joy, Momma and myself started packing things up for the move. Daddy was supervising us along the way.
In The Process Of Moving
As we were gathering things up, Daddy seemed to have no interest in what use to be sentimental to him. I thought it was strange for him to be letting go of so many things. Which now, looking back I think he may have had leaving on his mind. We just didn’t know it. He was getting tired of the dialysis days and as always we tried to keep him encouraged. But now, I recall signs that he wanted to go to his heavenly home. We loved him so much, we didn’t want him to go.
However, Momma wanted to take everything she possibly could. Momma has always been great at decorating. She would just look around to figure out where she could put things and make the area look fantastic. She made our house a real home with her beautiful eye for decorating. Momma decorated their bedroom with what looked like their life’s belongings . The bedroom just looked like them, if you understand what I am saying here.
My sweet sister made sure they felt at home and provided any and everything she could possibly do for them. She is such a giving and loving person. Joy would soak and wash their feet; trim their toe nails, and put lotion and socks on their feet sometimes before bedtime. If you know Joy, she will shower you with love.
I told them anytime they wanted to come and stay awhile at our house, they certainly could. We live in the country with a horse pasture and lots of singing birds and it is real peaceful. However, Daddy would come once in a while, but never stayed overnight. He had his C-pap machine that he used at night; and he didn’t want to be bothered by taking it back and forth for a few days. (His excuse- it was really no bother). But Momma, would come and stay with me a few weeks at a time; and it was such a precious time; even though some of the time, I was taking her to doctor visits.
Soon it was Christmas Day and it seemed to me, that Daddy was just watching everyone around him. He was not really communicating much, but was taking everything in. My brother Jay and his wife, Cyndee had come for the seasonal visit.
Suzanne (Jay/Cyndee’s daughter) and husband PJ stopped by, but the whole family were sick and didn’t want to bring it in, where Momma and Daddy were. But Suzanne did come in and kept herself covered but cried and told Daddy (her Papa) to not go anywhere and she loved him and Momma (her MeeMaw). She and the family left to go home. She did call him later and talked a long while with him. I don’t know if she had a premonition or not. We missed them for Christmas with the children, but they were not feeling well. However, we had a nice Christmas dinner and many family members and friends of the family came by.
My Brother Experienced Health Issues
As Jay was starting to head back home to Richlands, NC, he began experiencing some health issues. After being home for a few weeks, he suffered a stroke. Leaving the left side of his body paralyzed, his face drooped on the left side and slurred speech, as well. After hearing of this news, of course I was upset to say the least, as he was already dealing with another health issue, as well.
I Contracted Covid-19 Viral Pneumonia
During the time of us packing up to move Momma and Daddy, I had starting feeling unwell. My thought was, I was just tired and stressed from everything. But as the month went on, I developed painful muscle aches, fever, sleepiness, nausea, loss of appetite, just plain yucky.
As January came, still sick and so weak I could not function. So I did not go around family at all because I didn’t know what was going on with me. But on January 31st, I could not breathe and ended up spending 3 days in the hospital, as I had Covid Pneumonia. On February 2nd, I was released from the hospital with in home oxygen. I still had Covid and suffered to the point I believed I was going to die at home. The hospital wanted to send me to a nursing facility for rehab. I told them no way was I going (while still having Covid) to a facility that houses mostly elderly patients.
Thanks to FaceTime, I was able to see my families’ faces and talk some; but when I would try to have a conversation, I would cough until it was hard to get a breath. Before, when I could visit, I always kissed Daddy on the forehead when I came and went and kissed Momma on her cheeks. I missed that and I think they did too.
Once I was home to recover, it was a nightmare trying to get a followup with my doctor at the time. Then, my Momma, Daddy and Joy and Jack somehow (not from me) tested positive; but Daddy didn’t show any symptoms, however the others did. But thankfully they hadn’t developed the severe case as I had; because I couldn’t get my doctor’s office to followup with me at the time. So then I went from Covid Viral Pneumonia to Covid Bacterial Pneumonia and I was one sick person, trust me.
Daddy’s Visit To His Doctor
When Daddy saw his doctor, she encouraged him and Momma to get the anti-body infusion. Joy took them to Charlotte to get the infusion and they both seemed to be doing good afterwards. About 2 weeks later, he was doing good, as far as I knew, Sunday night.
On Monday, February 21, morning (when Daddy normally would have been going to dialysis); he was having chest pains enough that he had Joy call 911. An ambulance took him to Gastonia, to CaroMont Medical Center. The doctors found he had a blood clot in his heart. They were able to remove it and gave him dialysis for only 2 hrs. instead of 4, like normal. They also gave him some blood while in dialysis and brought him back to the room. Joy told me he was doing good. ( Not saying the anti-body infusion caused this, I don’t know).
Next day, Tuesday mid-morning, she called me to say that he had taken an unexpected turn for the worst. I was so sick and devastated. The doctors were saying it wasn’t good. Usually, if Daddy or Momma had a hospital stay, I would stay with them day and night. Joy would take care of whichever one was not in the hospital, at her home at night. Due to my sickness, I truly was not able to do it this time for Daddy; it broke my heart. Also, I hadn’t even been in Daddy or Momma’s presence for around 12 weeks. It hurts that I missed that time with them.
I called a close friend (more like a sister) to tell her the news. When I told her that I had to be tested to see if I was still positive or not. As I needed to test negative, so I could go to the hospital. She called her husband and had him drop off a test kit they had. I tested negative. So with that, my husband got me in the car with an oxygen tank and a wheelchair; and took me to the hospital to see and try to talk to my Daddy.
Visit With My Daddy In The Hospital
As I walked into his room, I was so disturbed to see his demise; I think I must have had an emotional breakdown, at that moment. I was glad that he was responsive to seeing me. He held my hand and let me know he knew it was me.
But, then he said to me, ” I’m dying”, which broke my heart. I cried and said, “Yes Daddy you are, but if you see Jesus you go with Him”, me and Joy will take care of Momma”. After I said that to him, I felt so bad for saying that, because I didn’t want him to go. I fell to pieces after that.
My brother Jay was devastated, as well. Joy and Momma had already cried so much they had dry eyes. My sister Rita and her husband Rick had flown in from Tampa, in hopes of being able to see him; and him know them before he passed. Thankfully, that happened for them.
My Daddy passed away on the following Sunday, February 27, 2022. He was born October 7th, 1929. He lived to the age of 92 years old. I must say that CaroMont Medical Center staff and doctors where amazing to our Daddy and our family during this difficult time.
We had his memorial “Celebration of Life” service on March 5th. He had the military honors performed and releasing of beautiful white doves. The doves represented Jesus and the Holy Spirit and my Daddy flying away. It was a beautiful service, as I can remember.
Life Will Never Be The Same Without Him
My heart aches everyday. The pain of the loss of my Daddy has been so deep that I can’t even explain it. There is not a day or night that goes by that I don’t miss him. I miss the smell of his cologne “Stetson”. I miss his voice, so low and bass. His presence brought me peace and stability. His voice and words seemed to soothe my soul. He was the King in our family. I will always be proud to call him “My Daddy”. My Momma always kept my Daddy looking good. She was his fashion stylist and his hair stylist. Behind every good man is a strong beautiful woman – that’s my Momma!
My Current Situation -Long Hauler Covid
Currently, I have what the Doctor has called, Long Hauler Covid. I am still having some residual effects of ongoing shortness of breath, heart palpitations, along with weakness. The most stressful thing is that my hair is falling out by the handfuls. Not sure when it will stop or, if I will have any hair at all when it’s done. The doctor said it’s due to all the stress my body has endured. It may take a year or so, before I get to a better state. Not the kind of news you want to hear; but it is what it is. I suppose, I am fortunate to be alive. Although, I think it would have been better for God to have taken me instead of my Daddy. God makes those decisions.
I am thankful for a wonderful husband, who has been by my side through all of these difficulties. What a true blessing, he has been to me. I am also grateful for my family and friends, who have reached out and touched my and my family’s lives tremendously. Our Senior Pastor Dennis Boyce and our Pastoral Care Pastor and wife, Rev. & Mrs. Lamar Creel, have supported us at every turn with Daddy’s and Momma’s health issues along the way. We so appreciate their helpfulness to me and my family, during the week my Daddy was transitioning.