Just knitting on...

A record of my knitting projects and events of my life

Monday, April 03, 2006

A Death in the Family

Stephen Thomas Chema
born October 27, 1915 - died April 3, 2006

My father-in-law passed away yesterday evening, in his sleep. He was 90 years old but he clung to life. His wife died three years ago and I think he missed her very much. He spent the last six months of his life first in the hospital (2 months) and then in a nursing home. He had congestive heart failure and a pacemaker, and his kidneys failed. But he didn't want to die, and chose to have kidney dialysis three times a weeks. The nursing home was a good one, as nursing homes go and he was well cared for by caring people. But he hated it. He was pretty much confined to bed and wheelchair and was not interested in any social interaction with his room mate, staff or other patients. He lost interest in all the things he used to do at home: television sports, word find puzzles, reading, and good food. He mostly sat and dozed. His quality of life wasn't very good. And yet, he was afraid to die. He was raised a Catholic and believed in the afterlife of the soul. Yesterday afternoon I went to visit him. I took him some of his favorite candies, those marshmallow chickens with yellow sugar, "Peeps". He ate a couple while we chatted, and then fell asleep in his wheelchair. After I left, he had dinner and the staff helped him to bed. His nurse found him around 8:00 pm when she went to in check on him after change-of-shift report.
He had left this earth peacefully in his sleep. I'm sad because I loved him, but I'm glad he is finally at peace.


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