Monday, June 10, 2013

Transitions Awareness


              Dad developed concerning symptoms in the spring of 2008.  A tumor in his heel made it difficult for him to walk and earned him an ambulance ride to the hospital one night.  When you live five hours away you don’t want to hear your mother telling you that on the phone.  One sister settled in their apartment for a long term stay.  By the time I was able to get there for a visit he was in a nursing home.  As I made my way to his room, I noticed the sign on the wing said “Transitions”.  I didn't think more about that until I found out he would be going home in a few days.  I thought “oh, transitions.  As in a transition to home.”  Nice!

                My father always joked that he would never live long enough to retire.  I thought I was prepared for his eventual passing but the jolt I got when I became aware of the directional properties of transitions proved I was not.

                Two months later he had returned to the hospital with more tumors.  An aggressive radiation treatment began and soon he was back in the nursing home.  Both sisters were there by then and I got a call saying my father was asking where I was.  I never like it when someone is gathering his family but I hoped for the best.  When I arrived I was directed into the same wing – Transitions.  That’s a good sign I thought.  He must be doing better than predicted.  I entered his room with my older sister.  Dad sat right up on the edge of the bed and shared a few philosophies with us.  We had a nice conversation.  Then, he laid down and needed to rest.

                I went out to the patio with my sister and she told me they were planning to stop radiation treatments after two weeks.  My puzzled look forced her to admit there was nothing more they could do for the tumors metastasizing all over his body.
Edwin Skogstoe
1918-2008
                The realization hit me like a lightning bolt and I decided I didn't like transitions.  Transitions can go either way:  up or down.  The transitions wing is for those either going to their earthly home or to their heavenly home.  I cherished the rest of the week before I had to go home but it was a sad time.  Two weeks later I got the tearful call from my sister that my father had made his final transition one month short of his 90th birthday.
  
“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.”   ― Isaac Asimov

            What about you?  Have you had to adjust to a close family member’s final transition?  How did you adjust?  Has it permanently changed you in any way?  Follow the blog and join the conversation.

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