My Dad, Ralph Marshall Mulkey, passed away June 6, 2002. I have not cried since the funeral until tonight, 21 days later. He died three weeks ago at 10:40 p.m. He was on hospice so he was at home where he wanted to be and we were able to be there with him when he passed on. He was a WW II veteran. The best of our generations. I have to say that in all my 47 years that I have never witnessed anyone passing away. I do not know how to say this without sounding a bit odd, but witnessing his death was a very sacred moment. After spending weeks with him, trying to make him comfortable as possible, talking to him and saying goodbye, and all is forgiven and I love you, his blood pressure dropped to 50/0 at 6:30 p.m.. The nurse told us it would only be a couple of hours. I ask her if I could take his oxygen off without him being uncomfortable because he hated that mask so much and I did not want him to die with it on. I had sedated my mother because she did not want to be there when he passed away so at 9:00 she kissed him Goodbye and went to bed. At 10:40 he took his last breath. Death is not a pretty sight, physically, but spiritually, YOU will never be closer to God. When my dad took his last breath, I raised my hands to God in praise and worship. Believe me, it takes alot of faith to do that. Knowing that he was in the arms of the Father by that time.
I saw him take that last breath then I did not look anymore. Afraid, I guess, of what I might see. Trying to be so strong as I had been in the weeks before while taking care of him.
I called my son, daughter, my supervisor and then my sister. I seemed to myself to be in full control, as always. Taking care of things.
Then, the nurse who was there taking care of him turned off the oxygen tanks that Dad had used for so long, so many months he had used those tanks 100%, just to live. I fell on the floor, overcome by shock, grief and surprise! They had turned off my dad's oxygen, which I had removed from his face over three hours ago anyway. I cried so violently talking to my sister on the phone she could not understand anything I was saying. I kept saying, "they turned his oxygen off!" She kept saying, "he does not need it anymore!". The nurse is saying, "what is she saying?!!!". My husband said, TURN THE OXYGEN TANKS BACK ON!!. The tanks run for two hours after they come to get him. You never know what is going to make you break but I will make you a promise, it will be something and it does not take much more than the silence. The silence of the oxygen tanks was all it took for me. Am I weak after all the strength it took for me to be there day and night watching him die? My only goal was to make sure he did not suffer.
I am glad Dad is in Heaven. Yes, I grieve, and yes, I miss him so very much. I cry tonight for the first time in three weeks. Don't ask me why three weeks. I can not answer that. His death was an adventure and an enriching experience for me even though was the most difficult thing I have ever gone through in my whole life. Would I go through this terrible enriching experience again? Yes, I would. It truly makes you love life more than ever before, and not only that, it makes you respect death even more.