The End of a Life Journey: Part Two

| 5/23/2012 4:13:05 PM

Father's Last Breath

My phone rang. It was the nurse and she informed us that my father peacefully passed away 15 minutes earlier. It was my daughter's birthday and we were delivering a bed into her apartment. The nursing home was 15 minutes away and it was to be our next stop. We just happened to be driving the truck so we could deliver the bed and, in trade, we picked up a nice cot which would soon come in handy. We stopped off at a store and I picked up a colorful cotton quilt and a dozen red roses.

When we arrived at the nursing home we were greeted by my brother and Merlinda. Although less than only one hour had passed since my father's last breath, it was immediately apparent that the important part of him had left the body. The vehicle was there, but the driver was gone. He looked so at peace that it was hard for me to be sad. The nurses had already cleaned up my father and had him dressed in his nice dress pants and shirt. I covered him with the beautiful quilt and laid a rose across his chest.

burial 2The doctor arrived within a half hour. She had a sweet compassionate smile and sense about her. She filled in her section of the death certificate and made us an extra copy to have for our records. We had contacted the town clerk on our way to the nursing home. We caught her just as she was leaving work. Thoughtfully, she gave us her home address which just happened to be on our way home. My Dad passed away at 4:15 p.m. It was now about 6:00 p.m. when the doctor was finished with her paperwork.

We contemplated burying my father in the morning so that some of the grandchildren could be there. The director of the nursing home, who was great and also very supportive about the home burial, felt that the other occupants might feel a bit uneasy if they allowed my father to spend the night. This was understandable. We decided to take him home and have a full moon burial that evening. Mike tidied up the back of the truck and we unfolded the cot mattress that we had just picked up from my daughter. The entire staff helped wheel his bed out the side door and we slid him into the back of the truck. He had his favorite sleeping bag under him which really helped with the moving. The staff was in tears. My father had really touched their hearts. He had a way with people.

Caravan to Angel Rock Ranch
We began our caravan home with Charlie, Merlinda, Rigo and Cousin Kerry behind after we gently secured my father onto the cot in the back bed of the truck. On the way we called a few close friends and invited them to join us. Most of them beat us up to the ranch. We did stop at the county clerks home and she signed and kept the death certificate and said we could get copies the following day. Our caravan continued all the way up to the ranch. My oldest daughter, living in CA at the time, wrote some sweet words for her grandfather and I printed them off. We all put on some warmer clothes because here in Colorado, when the sun goes down, so does the temperature.

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