October 18 in 2001, was a Thursday. That’s the day Dad died. His death was the rotten cherry on an already soggy cake of a day. The call from the nursing home came at 3 pm. Due to some work departmental thing, I was involved in, didn’t hear my voice mails until 3:30. When the calling number was recited, I knew. I rarely received Iowa calls during work days. I knew. The ironic thing was, the nursing home went to rouse him for a doctor’s appointment, because he hadn't felt well. But Dad beat them to the punch: he made an appointment to go Home and went the way he wanted: in his sleep
Diabetes, a vile culprit, caused a foot to be amputated in January 1997. Unfortunately, during Dad’s rehab, his vision worsened. I always believed that contributed to lack of self-confidence. The robust man I knew, began to physically weaken. Never saw Dad again without the use of a cane, even tho the doctor gave him a great prognosis with his prosthetic foot. Dad never grasped that.
Diabetes robbed his entire sight in July 2001. It would never return. Dad’s dark brown eyes were now outlined with thin ring of blue. I joked with Dad, how at 77, he finally got blue eyes. Dad was fitted with a pacemaker, and then transported to a local nursing home for rehab. So he could learn to live without his eyes, and eventually go home. That didn’t happen.
Eventho there were folks Dad had grown up with or worked with, at the nursing home, it still wasn’t home. Still not his chair, the ‘clicker’ for the TV or his dog, Peaches, a chubby little Chihuahua who kept guard. It just wasn’t home. After I was told Dad’s rehab wasn’t going as well as expected, I asked him how he’d feel if he had to stay longer.
My father’s response: “Oh, baby, I would die.”