Hello everyone. This is Jim's second son, Dale.
It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to inform everyone that our father passed away yesterday morning. As he had been for the last weeks of his life, Dad was surrounded by his family and loved ones during this final transition.
Dad's fight with cancer had been very long and arduous. I am relieved that he is now at peace and with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I wanted to extend our family's sincere gratitude for all of the words of support and encouragement that this community had provided during our time of need. There is no way for me to fully express how grateful we all are for the advice, insights, friendship and camaraderie that everyone here had shared with Dad and the rest of us.
Concerning the care that hospice had extended to my dad, I cannot praise it enough. The hospice nurses and CNA's were very responsive and caring, and did everything in their power to help manage Dad's pain and continuing decline. This was not easy, as Dad had expressed in the past, and as so many of you with similar experiences have seen. I do want to note that it is very important to not be shy about expressing your needs or concerns. Make sure that the appropriate information handoff occurs when new CNAs show up to assist (We had one instance where someone tried to help "position" Dad without first talking to us, which could have caused undo pain). Ask for additional instructions on medication preparation if you are not completely sure on the process (like crushing pills to make solutions). And most importantly, if you don't believe the current medication is sufficient for the intended effects, be firm with your request for changes or increases on the doses.
As heart wrenching as it has been knowing how short Dad's remaining time was with is, we will be forever thankful for being able to have this last bit of fellowship with him. Dad's sisters and mother were able to visit him during this last week. He was able to speak to each of his grandchildren one more time. Each of his sons were able to give dad final hugs and say goodbye. Mom was there to hold his hand at the end.
A few weeks ago, when Dad showed me this forum, I was impressed by how eloquently he had written. I started to read Dad's posts on his hospice journey (I believe he had already written 4 times by the time he shared this with me), and his descriptions on his current state helped me understand some of his more immediate needs and recent issues. I then read further through Dad's previous posts and comments, and to be honest, I am ashamed I did not fully understand the extent to which Dad has fought his cancer. Throughout all of his time, all of his treatments, Dad always put other's needs before his own. Likely, he did not want to burden me with his worries, and I can appreciate that. But if I can give anyone here any advice, it would be to not be afraid to communicate your needs or troubles to your loved ones.
Dad was deeply caring, and I believe that sense of duty to protect us is what kept him from letting go when it would have been easier.
Thank you again to the whole community here. Stay strong in your fights. Our family will continue to pray for you all, and we ask that you do the same for us.