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Not Over Till It's Over

Updated on September 22, 2014

My best friend {Dad} and me

This morning I waited for my father to wake from his night sleep. He has been getting out of bed around 6 a.m. and it was 8;30 a.m. now. Two weeks ago, this would not have had any effect on me at all. Why the sudden change you ask? Two weeks ago I only knew that my father wasn't well. In and out of the hospital in the past few months, his health was deteriorating right in front of my face. Each visit to the ER ended in a hospital stay and each stay was longer. The last trip was long and rough for all involved. There were things revealed that left my father with life changing decisions. Choices were few and he had a hard choice to make.

I think back to what some days seems like only yesterday even though it has been many years now. When I was told 14 times that my wife would not live through the night, I would smile at the doctors. "You have no idea who you have lying in that hospital bed. She will be fine as she always is." The fifteenth time I said the very same thing. It was 1 a.m. when she was rushed into emergency surgery. When the surgeon came out a very short time later I knew something had changed. His words to me hit me like a ton of bricks and knocked me to the ground. This time, she would not be alright; she would not recover and come home. I learned from Sheila that it was never over until it was over. I also learned that no matter what I told myself for twenty-five years, there really was no preparing for the end.

Although I am not ignorant and know that no one lives forever, tomorrow or the next day never entered my mind. One just seems to think that a loved one will be here forever. For my father, forever has a time limit on it. Knowing this family and all of the times that God has interceded I listened to the words of the surgeon closely. The choices were really quite simple in their own way. Quality or quantity of life were the given choices and as simple as they were spoken, the decision was not reached quickly nor easily. Quality of life won out over the possibility of longer life with huge risks of complications that might steal away any chance of quality. The family and doctors agreed with Dad's choice and so life goes on. How much time we would have with him was given and we all processed the words in our own way, silently and alone.

"He might simply go to sleep one night and heaven will call him home." Life changing words that would scream out to cherish each and every moment with him. Watching his daily activities and knowing he had begun to wake earlier than normal; 6 a.m. instead of 9:30 a.m.was becoming the new normal. When there is a change again and he slept late my mind went for a walk. I wondered why he was sleeping so long. I peeked into him room waiting for him to move or cough. I looked for anything that would tell me he was fine. He stirred and turned on his side. A feeling of relief and happiness washed through me as I quietly closed his door. I stood by his door and silently said a prayer. I am selfish I guess in that I want to keep him here much longer than doctors say.

As I leaned on the wall outside of his room a thought entered my mind. How much time did I want to lose, waiting for what happens to each one of us? The time that we have left to share together needs to be more than waiting. I remembered Sheila and I smiled. I thought about the things she taught me and knew that they applied to dad's scenario as well. There was not then and would not be now a way to be prepared. The only thing I could do to make it less painful is to make certain that the time we spend together is quality time. His attitude and his spirit has so much to do with how well he does. And I must remember most of all... it is not over until it is over.


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    • Dday50627 profile image

      Darrel Day 3 years ago from Iowa

      I express my thanks in what sometimes seem like such small words but inside of my heart they are gihugic. I read the words left here and think of all that has been with my father. Losing my mother only 8 months ago, I still feel the sting of that loss. But before she died that night she took my hand and told me I had been a good son. My father has since told me the same and I don't think that there are any greater words that a son could be blessed to hear. And now, I cherish even more the moments that my father and I will share as I know that one day, those moments will be the smiles I walk with. Thank you for the kind words and know that I take them to my heart.

    • K. Burns Darling profile image

      Kristen Burns-Darling 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      My heart aches for you. Just like you, my father was my best friend, and just like you, he and I took that last journey together. I will never regret the decisions I made that allowed me to be there with him, for with every sacrifice made, my family and I were granted a multitude of tiny moments that would have otherwise never been. Treasure each and every one of those moments, they will become the precious gifts that sustain you later on. You and your dad will be in my prayers.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Most expressive writing! It has touched me deeply.

      Life is so precious and how painful it is when your loved ones are facing health trouble.

      But you are so right in saying that it is not over till its over.

    • Dday50627 profile image

      Darrel Day 3 years ago from Iowa

      I want to thank each of you for taking the time to read this. I have written 12 novels and in all of my writing, I have found that there is nothing that can be written that has more impact than the true to life that we live with daily. The promise of tomorrow belongs to none of us and we have to hold onto every memory life allows us. thank you again for reading this.

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 3 years ago from Florida


      I voted up and awesome. My heart feels your painful experience. I lost my mother when she was 66 years old.

      Thanks for sharing with us---we cherish each moment that becomes memories for our heart to recall and visit again and again.

      Have a wonderful week.

      Bobbi Purvis

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 3 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Make the most of what we have. So true.

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 3 years ago from Earth

      This really gets to how precious life is. Thanks so much for writing it - made me feel appreciation for the little things.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Every minute of every day is time we never get back. Thank you for sharing your story. Voted up and sharing.