Family and Friends of George McCracken

George McCracken is my Father. He's 73 years old. This past September he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. Our family is spread across the country spanning three time zones and this blog is an attempt to create a place where we can all share information. Feel free to post updates from calls home to Ma or whatever related random thoughts you might feel like sharing.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Goodbye to a good man

Yesterday I had the opportunity to say goodbye to Dad. I thought that yesterday would be a good day to go see him. He’d traveled home from the Hospital on Monday and I knew he would be exhausted. I figured that Tuesday he might be a little stronger and that this would be my best chance at spending some time with him. I’m glad I made the trip.

Dad was in a lot of pain throughout the day. His burping was constant and painful. We had to help him sit up to get the gas out. He’d sit up for five minutes or so and then lay back on his pillows. Getting him to let go of the bars on the hospital bed was at times difficult. You could see him struggling to hold on to what life was left inside him. He made it to his chair from the bed and back once. It took 10 to 15 minutes for each trip.

Ma was amazing. Every time he made a noise or a move to get up she’d be by his side offering comforting words and trying to figure out how to help him. The mixed look of compassion, devotion and pain in her eyes was inspiring. She truly did the best she could for him. To the end, she was the one he looked to. Ma fulfilled the promise made on their wedding day. Only in death did they part.

I played the video we’d shot when everyone was together a week ago. It was his most lucid period. For fully 20 minutes he focused his attention on the television while images of his beloved children and grandchildren danced across the screen. It seemed to comfort him and make him happy.

In all I spent over 7 hours with him. I wanted to leave by 7:00PM so I could get home at a decent hour. At 6:35PM Ma went into the kitchen to get something to eat. I was left alone with him. For the next 25 minutes I held his hand and told him how much I would miss him that I would love him forever. He knew I was there. He looked up at me and then looked away. He squeezed my hand and rubbed it briefly with his thumb. Just before I left I told him I was proud to have been his son. I think I was speaking for all of us. I kissed and hugged him once more and then I had to leave.

At 5:40AM when my phone rang I knew my Mother would be on the other end. She said he died peacefully in his sleep. I’m glad. He had suffered enough. The curse of Pancreatic Cancer is that is takes our loved ones so quickly. The blessing is that they don’t have long to suffer and we each have the opportunity to say goodbye. A good man passed into that great beyond yesterday surrounded by those that loved him. I guess I’ll be seeing all of you very soon.

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