Monday, March 10, 2014

Interview: Saying Goodbye to Papa

Leaves a rich spiritual heritage for his children
I needed my fingerprints made for my DUI instruction just after Labor Day. It was then that Susan Haynes and I met when she did my fingerprints. It was at the time that my husband had two handicaps—he couldn’t walk and he has dementia. Susan and I immediately connected and started talking about her father who had the same two handicaps. We exchanged information and became instant Facebook friends. I told her that I wanted to interview her. Little did I realize then that her Papa Joe would pass away before we had the interview.

Carol: Your dad had difficulty walking since an accident. Tell me about that accident.

Susan: Yes, he was working and he fell off a house and the house fell down and pinned him down. He was taken to the hospital where the medics worked with him, but they knew it had paralyzed him.

Carol: How did the family get Papa Joe to stop driving and stop taking “joy rides”? My oldest brother came over and told him that he was 80 years and that 80 year olds do not need to be driving around. He took his driver’s license to the DMV and Papa let that brother turn it in. How did he accept your mom driving?

Susan: Papa didn’t like mom’s driving, so I would take him to the doctor appointments.

Carol: Your dad would take your daughter to the school at your neighborhood church in his scooter and then pick her up.  Were you all nervous about this trip?

Susan: No, I didn’t think about it at all, because I knew my daughter would keep him straight if she thought he was driving wrong. She told him that she loved him and that he needed to be out at the school at 2:45 pm. I will be looking for you.

Carol: Near the end of you Papa Joe’s life your family started noticing signs of dementia in your dad, right?

Susan: He had been a private man and short-term memory didn’t seem to be the problem, until signs of dementia had set in.  One day my daughter said Papa is getting old. For the last year and a half we started noticing things, but his doctor didn’t notice anything and he wasn’t put on medicine. Seven months ago he started acting like everything in the past as if it was the future.  

Carol: I noticed on Facebook when Papa went to the hospital early in October. Tell me about that.

Susan: The first time my mom asked me to ask him how he was and he told me he was fine and that he was not going to the hospital because he was not sick. When I got ready to leave he began to talk to me about his upset stomach. He said he guessed I should take him to the hospital. His ulcer was bothering him.

The second time he went to the hospital he said that something was wrong in his heart and they needed to fix it. His heart was racing fast and they kept him four days and then he came back home.

The last week of October 2013 my dad spoke softly, didn’t say much and said he was ready to go home to see the people that were not there anymore.  He was very weak, but he tried to be strong and his eyes were so grey.

I got a call from mom at 2 am to come help dad at his house. He was acting strange and when I got there at 2:15 am the ambulance was there and they were putting him on a stretcher and putting him in the ambulance. He was looking one way and would not respond to my calling his name. He had spoken to my mom and brother before I got there, wanting them to help him out of bed to go to the bathroom. But he would not get up, my mom said, and he couldn’t be helped up. That’s when the ambulance was called.        

About this time Sudan wrote on Facebook:  STANDING IN NEED OF PRAYER THIS MORNING FOR MY 88 YEAR OLD DAD WHO WAS ADMITTED IN HOSPITAL AROUND 10 PM LAST NIGHT WITH STOMACH PAIN AND DOC STATED THAT HE NEEDED SURGERY AND THAT HE HAD A SURGERY DOCTOR COMIN IN AROUND 12:OO THE DOCTOR STATED THAT THEY THE DOCTOR WAS IN AND LOOKING AT THE 3 CAT SCANS AND AFTER THAT HE WOULD REPORT TO US AND 1:30 WE WERE TOLD THAT HE WAS NOT DOIN’ IT AND HE WOULD WAIT UNTIL MORNING TO SEE WHAT HE COULD DO FOR MY PAPA.  LORD I AM IN NEED OF PRAYER NOT JUST FOR HIM BUT MY MOTHER AS WELL. SHE IS NOT THE BEST AT HER AGE BUT SHE JUST QUESTIONS THE DOCTOR AND WANTS ANSWERS LIKE WE ALL DO.

Carol: What did the doctor tell your mother?

Susan: That his heart was very weak now and they couldn’t really tell her, but he may live one to four months.

Carol: A week later you wrote that you were with your dad again and all seemed well. He was eating and drinking his Pepsi and watching TV, you wrote.  

Susan: Yes, I took pictures. I couldn’t believe it. He looked good too.

Carol: He as able to go home from the hospital then, but at the end of October he took a turn for the worse. Then you wrote on Facebook.

Susan on Facebook: Well my father fought a good fight but he won his case and left this earth at 1:35 pm with a smile on his face.  Thank you Lord for sparing him 88 years of which 52 I shared with him.

Carol: Was he alone when he died?

Susan: No. He was surrounded by his loving wife, his sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and members of his church body.

Carol:  How had your older brother, preacher Willie Joe, summoned the nine siblings?

Susan: He sent us a text early the morning of his death that said: Good morning family. Hope life is serving you well. I give God thanks for a new day. If each one of daddy’s children will release him, he will rest. He needs to hear you say it is all right. That man is tired. He’s at the point he can’t do nothing for himself. Let him go. Daddy is tired. We can’t worry who doesn’t show up. We that do must assure him everything will be all right so he can rest. I don’t want to see my day suffer.

Carol: Did all nine children show up at the hospital? What was it like?

Susan: We were all there and it was very sad to see my father, the man that controlled us all, laying there and he patiently prayed and asked for healing for us and what we would be facing.

Carol: Then you posted on November 9, 2013, the day of his funeral.

Susan on Facebook: Dad, this is your day. What can I say? You left me here and you said you were tired and you have finished the race what God had for you. You told me I would be all right. You prepared me four months ago that you would be leaving on that 747 jet. I left work at 12:30 pm to see you again and talk to you one more time. At 1:30 pm you slipped. You passed with a smile and never looked back. You made peace and you loved the Lord who now has you.

Carol: What was that funeral like?

Susan: It was super, a slow home going celebration. It was unique in celebrating how he stood for the LORD. The church was full. My brother started to speak, but couldn’t finished because he was choked up. The grandsons were pallbearers.

Carol: I think you then posted this prayer on Facebook.

Susan on Facebook: I am missing my dad. LORD, please help my family to understand that it was time for him to depart from us, but most of all he left with a smile on his face. Thank you for the 88 years my dad lived and thank you for giving us him. Amen.

Carol:  I was praying for you all then and I am sure I posted on Facebook also. Facebook makes our world so small. How are your mom and the family doing now after his death?

Susan: Mom tries so hard to find things to keep her busy and we, as a family, are closer to her because of Papa Joe’s death. We want to be with each other more. 

Carol: What can other families learn from your story?

Susan: Stay with Jesus. He is the only One that can give you what you and your family needs when it’s time. Be strong and in control. Jesus is the answer.

Carol: Amen, sister! Thanks. It has been a pleasure to meet you and then interview you and follow your story. 

4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Alzheimer's impacts so many families including yours, Joe. Loved interviewing your caregiving wife on this blog. You, Joe, are incredible.

      Hugs and prayers,
      Carol

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  2. I don't know how I missed this post, but I'm glad I read it now. What a blessing to be surrounded with family like Papa Joe was when he passed and how blessed to have lived to 88 years of age! I know his family misses him and grieves him, and always will.

    betty

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    Replies
    1. Grief is not without hope for the Christian family. Wish I could have gone to his funeral, but I do not have unlimited time away from my husband.

      I posted this while on vacation as I finally got Susan's approval to post. When I came home, Betty, I edited some typing errors.

      Thanks for posting here. Going over to read your blog now.

      Hugs and prayers,
      Carol

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