Walking Through the Hard

How do I step back into writing when it feels like so much has happened?

My father passed away last Sunday.

It still feels hard to believe. He had a pacemaker put in March 13th and was fine until April 1st when he collapsed. I got in the car and headed to Seattle an hour after I got the call. The next day we learned he had contracted MRSA during the procedure and it was in his blood.

He was transferred to another hospital where we began the often confusing journey through medical testing, procedures, and conversations.

Russ joined me and we¬†spent the night in my dad’s room. In the wee hours, I woke to see Russ sitting by my dad’s bed feeding him ice chips.

My dad was in pain and continued to decline, so a wise nurse offered to contact Palliative Care for us. It was a blessing to talk to a doctor who saw my father as a whole person. Our meeting with him brought relief to us and better pain management for my dad.

After ten days my dad seemed stable enough for me to make a quick trip home. I needed a little time to be with my family, get life in order, and prepare to head back.

I made the trip back over the mountains to the Seattle-area six days later. When I walked in my dad’s hospital room, he was worse; somehow, this caught me by surprise and I¬†began to cry.

The next day we made the decision to move my dad to Hospice House. I’m telling you, this was a hard decision. At what point do you say, “We’re as sure as we can be that he won’t get better. This is not what he would want. He is dying and we want him to die with dignity in a calm environment.”

As soon as we arrived at Hospice House, we felt peace. We were comforted and supported. We saw my dad relax.

We thought we had many days to learn about Hospice and the dying process, but less than 24 hours after we arrived, my dad slipped from this life into the next – the better life, the much truer life in heaven.

My mom was with him as he took his last breath, and my sisters and I arrived minutes later. The nurse told us this is how he must have wanted it, with only my mom stroking his arm.

The family continued to gather and we spent several hours with him. We had an honor ceremony complete with stories, toasts, laughter, and singing. When it was time for the funeral home to collect his body, we walked together through the hall and out the door to the waiting van.

This was¬†a huge stretch in being comfortable with the completely uncomfortable. I’m truly not good with death. We couldn’t have done it without the guidance and support of the Hospice House staff and we’re deeply thankful for them.

There is so much more I could say, but you can imagine the work that has piled up with me being gone more than two weeks in the last three. Not to mention, I had traveled for two speaking engagements and an attachment and trauma training in the previous weeks.

I am hunkered down at home until we travel as a family for my dad’s funeral May 21st. We’ll gather over the weekend with as many grandchildren as possible traveling to join us.

Thank you to each one of you who prayed for us and walked alongside me through this hard time with your loving comments on FB, Instagram, and in texts. I ask for your continued prayers for my mom. Thank you for being a wonderful community of friends.

With hope and courage for the journey,

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI¬ģ Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

16 Comments

  1. Julianne Rinard
    April 27, 2018

    Lisa, I am so sorry for your loss. I am so glad you got to spend as much time as you did during this pro was.
    Praise God for His peace. ‚ėļ
    You and your family will continue to be in my prayers.
    Blessings

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 28, 2018

      I appreciate your prayers and kind words, Julianne.

      Reply
  2. Iola
    April 27, 2018

    You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Will see you on Mat 21st.
    Love ‘n’ prayers always, Iola

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 28, 2018

      Thank you for coming to see my dad in the hospital. I’ll see you soon.

      Reply
  3. Joelle
    April 27, 2018

    Thank you for sharing these last days with your dad. It sounds like it was a very special family time and I’m grateful you had that. I found it so helpful to tell people my story after losing dad and I hope that brings some comfort and healing to you as well. Much love is sent across the airwaves. “Now may the God of all peace comfort you. . .”

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 28, 2018

      I appreciate you, Joelle, and I’m thankful we’ve been able to connect over this, even when it’s hard.

      Reply
  4. Angie
    April 27, 2018

    Love you my friend. May you receive peace that passes all of your understanding.
    Im sure our Daddy’s have met by now and reminiscing about all their grandkids. Take care my friend lisa.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 28, 2018

      Thank you, sweet friend.

      Reply
  5. Gail Atkinson (Marcoe)
    April 28, 2018

    Lisa, I know you only by name but our parents have been in “The Beach Group” since the 1970’s. It’s the type of friendship and bond that I can only hope to have throughout my life. May you find comfort in the memories and love you share with your family and friends.
    Gail Atkinson (daughter of Harold and Vi Marcoe)

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 29, 2018

      Gail, it’s amazing to hear from you; the Beach Group has been a huge blessing in my parents’ lives. Your dad once bought my entire box of fundraising candy bars and gave them away to everyone at a gathering. I still remember being in awe of his generosity.

      Reply
  6. Sherri
    April 29, 2018

    Oh boy do I know how you feel. We just lost my mom the 7th of March. She hadn’t been feeling well and then went into immense amount of pain. When my sister texted me saying she was taking mom in I debated going. I had 4 little kids here. It could be nothing. My husband works away. But something was just screaming at me to go. So I hopped in my vehicle and drove the two hours to get there. Best decision I ever made. 4 hours after I arrived (they figured then we might be dealing with something serious But not positive), she had a massive heart attack. My sister and I were brought into a room and recommended we make her comfortable. 29 hrs later we said goodbye.
    We went from thinking it was treatable to losing her completely on 36hrs.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 29, 2018

      Oh wow, Sherri, that’s unbelievable. I’m so thankful you responded to the prompting of God to go even when it wasn’t obvious. Many blessings to you as you walk this road too.

      Reply
  7. Vivienne
    April 29, 2018

    I walked this journey with my mom and siblings this past summer. Praying for you today!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 29, 2018

      It’s a hard road, even when we know it will happen one day. I’m thankful for the many ways God showed up for us. Thanks for praying for us, Vivienne.

      Reply
  8. Amy
    May 1, 2018

    I am so sorry for your loss, Lisa. I had not heard anything from you lately, so I have been praying. Praying for you as you help your kids process this. (We have not had a close/family death to deal with since we adopted, and I am not sure what all it may bring up in our kids.)
    Praying for God’s peace, strength and COURAGE to help you though each day! Blessings and hugs to you!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 1, 2018

      Amy, just this morning I was putting on my “courage, dear heart” bracelet and the significance of it hit me. I’m so thankful for a God who journeys with us and for your prayers. Many thanks.

      Reply

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