Flying East

I caught a flight to Tulsa Tuesday and drove to my parents home in SW MO. I have been spending time with my folks at the hospital in Joplin. Mother, Dad and I made the difficult decision to take him off life support Wednesday morning. Dad was against it until he was convinced that my mother would be well cared for. I could see the relief wash over his face and a calm set in. After the ventilating tubes were with drawn from his throat he slowly became stronger and brighter. Finally his speech came back and he became very much himself for a while laughing, telling stories and talking to distant family on the phone.
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Owen and Hannah Byrd.
Dad expressed a desire to go home so the cardiologist gave his OK for Dad to go home to hospice care. I went ahead to help prepare his hospital bed at home. When he arrived he was very anxious and in a lot of distress. He had been given Ativan to make him less anxious for the drive home. It had taken the opposite effect (1 in 1000 chance) making him very agitated. It was a very difficult situation. Though Dad was very distraught I felt a strange and wonderful sence of peace as I assited my father in the most difficult work of his life. It was clear that he was ready to go and wanted to but was unsure about how to do it. It is hard waiting for death when it comes in the form of suffocation from within. As I satr with him holding his hand, wiping his face and giving him ice and water to drink I had one of the peak emotional and spiritual experiences of my life. I understood that although death can be difficult it is also sweet for those who have walked in integrity as he has.
We administered morphine to settle him down and to help with the feeling of drowning in his own fluids. That is how he will eventually go as his lungs slowly fill. His heart is too weak for proper circulation.
This is a tough situation but I have felt a tremendous amount of peace over it. He is going out with a lot of dignity and courage. It is amazing to watch him do this once in a lifetime work. I am glad to be able to assist him as he passes into eternity and back to his ancestors.
Though the eagle is generally flying west he was able to head east first to be in his home with his family all around him. Life doesn’t get much better than that in the end.

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