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Dad's 90, suffering from depression, dementia and other issues, was in IL, now in in AL several states away from me. His 70-yo stepdaughter, who has health issues, looks after him since his wife, her mother died about 3 years ago, leaving him lonely and devastated. He attemted suicide a couple of weeks ago and is somewhat stable now, though emotionally fragile. I understand he is back in the AL facility on the mental care floor, which is a lockdown area as he is high-risk, but he is not confined to a single room, which is good as he's a bit claustrophobic. My anguish lies in the fact that I can't get away to go see him, probably not ever. It's been 4 years since I was last out to see him and I have stayed in touch by phone. But I am now several states away, raising two teens in a household that include a working husband and his 90- yo mother plus a dog, several cats and a flock of hens. MIL can't manage on her own. Oldest teen attends academy and boards away at school. The other child is a 12-yo boy, useful, follows directions but doesn't cook or plan meals, and running the household would be a bit much for 90-yo Granny. I'm needed here, in short, and Dad probably would not know if I was there. But I can't help feeling torn and sad. I miss my Dad, and it feels as if he's gone already. I feel he won't last long, there will be no memorial service at his request, and I've probably already said my last goodbye and I love you. So I'm sad, I'm grieving, and if anyone can tell me how to handle these feelings, or just want to pray for me, that would be nice. Dad did not believe in God or an afterlife, just oblivion, as far as I know, though I am a Christian, which makes it kind of hard. I'm afraid I won't get to share an afterlife with him and I was looking forward to doing some fishing and hiking and camping with him in the earth made new in our new bodies.... but I haven't given up, I am still praying for him! God is good and as long as there is life there is hope. Thank y'all for letting me vent and weep, you're an awesome bunch of folks.

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Why can't hubby take vacation time for a few days. Like suggested, make meals ahead of time and freeze. Stock up the frig with stuff for breakfast and lunches.

Sending up a prayer.
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Your son may not be able to prepare
meals but your husband can. I too am not understanding why you can’t go see your dad? Your husband can take care of the household for a few days. If you are worried about them eating, make meals ahead of time that only have to be warmed up.
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Agree. After all, she has been taking care of HIS mother all this time. He should make it easier for her to visit her dad. I think you will have more regrets if you don't go.
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The only reason I'm persisting is that you are feeling anguish over this. And
I don't think you have any doubt that, in an ideal world, your father would very much like to see you?

Visiting him would be a hefty logistics project but it's not as if we're talking about a major or lengthy or risky disruption to the family.

It's mainly in the planning. You organise each day's clothing, with labels, and the worst that can happen is you get back and find nobody's changed his t-shirt for five days. Cook and freeze casseroles ready for the microwave - less work than chopping an onion. Paper plates, if need be. Between them, they will manage.

Is your son at school? Does he have a support team or friends who could help out?

Nobody can afford to make herself indispensable. The time may, will come when you have no choice but to be unavailable. You too may fall ill or be injured - God forbid, but it does happen to families all the time.

Perhaps this could be a timely nudge to look around you and find out what support you might call on if you ever need to. Could you ask another family member to come and stay? Are you in touch with any support networks who might know of respite services?

Would it be completely out of the question to take your son with you?
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DesertGrl53 Feb 2019
Thanks again, Countrymouse. I don't think anguish is what I'm feeling. That is to say, I am not agonizing over whether I should go see my Dad. It's simply not an option, nor do I think either he nor I need me to do that. For one thing, I know one thing about my Dad: he absolutely would not want me hovering over him, holding his hand, weeping and watching him die. And I love and respect him enough to honor that desire. We have said our good-byes.
The "anguish" or sorrow I am feeling, I believe, is just the grieving process setting in. My mother (from whom I was estranged) passed away several years ago, and I have buried two siblings and a husband. It doesn't get any easier. The world is getting to be a lonelier place without some of these people in it.
So I guess I'm just having a little pity party over it.
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Desertgrl, my only question to you is would You feel better if you got to see him one more time? Regardless of the afterlife, I’m talking about in this life, which you have many more years left to live. Would you regret not seeing him, or holding his hand, or making your peace in person? Do you think you’d feel differently in 5 years? 20 years? If not, then you probably have done your grieving, and a personal visit probably wouldn’t be beneficial.

But if you think you might regret it, then you can make a visit happen. Make meals in advance and freeze them. Have helpful son microwave them. Hire a housekeeper/friend/neighbor to come in a few hours a day to help granny and the family. What would your husband and son do if You were in the hospital or out of commission for a week? Would they survive? Yes. So what would it take to prepare for a planned absense? It can be done.
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How sad for your Dad. I think too many people have wrong ideas about God. You don't need to be baptised to go to heaven I always thought. You just need to ask the Lord into your heart and confess that you believe in him.

Babies obviously will go straight to heaven.
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DesertGrl53 Feb 2019
I'm not concerned about him being baptized, someone else brought that up. I do wish he knew a loving God.
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DesertGrl, I'm puzzled.

I was at first thinking "easy! Put your Head Hen in charge! - that'll keep everyone in order."

But to be more practical... I would have thought, myself, that a combination of a hard-working adult man, an active though elderly lady, and a pleasant, helpfully-minded young man could keep a household such as you describe ticking over quite safely for a week, or even two. There are no babies, sick persons, or persons suffering from dementia in the case. They would cope.

So although I'm sure you are the lynch pin of the household and they would not want you to be absent too long, it doesn't seem like a strong enough reason to keep you from seeing your father, who is so much in your thoughts.

I hesitate, because if you'd wanted to go into this more deeply you'd have done so. But I think there must be more to it than that you can't get away from running the household for a few days.

I'm going to leave that there.

As an alternative, guessing that there are things you want to say to your father, what about writing him a letter? Not to send to him, but to get your thoughts out.
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Desertgirl, Keep praying for your dad's salvation; I'll join you, and you get some others to pray, too. My 92 yr old aunt, who my mom and I've been praying for for years, called mom last week, asked how to meet Jesus, and mom got to lead her in the sinner's prayer - it's never too late! Not only that, but I was able to lead an Alz patient to the Lord when she came lucid for a few minutes and we talked. I explained salvation to her, asked her if she had ever accepted the Lord, and when she said no, asked if she wanted to. She said yes, she would, and prayed the repentance and acceptance of Jesus as Lord willingly right then. We got to talk a little bit, then she was gone again - wherever Alz victims go.... but God proved to me that day and last week, that it's NEVER too late, as long as someone breathes.....
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DesertGrl53 Feb 2019
Thank you so much for this beautiful testimony! It's my prayer and hope that someone like you or your mom will be led to my Dad and share the good news of God's love to him and lead him to the Savior. Bless you for sharing this with me, it really helped.
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I think you are underrating your family. I think they can man up to the task of life w/o you being there.

I feel you want to see dad one more time. That's absolutely normal. You can make this happen--maybe with some help from neighbors if you are a bit concerned about granny being left alone--but a 15 yo boy and his dad should be able and willing to make this last wish of yours come true.

And whether or not your dad is an atheist is not up for discussion. We all have our beliefs as to what happens after death. Personally, I believe everyone goes home to that God who created you. Really, how many BILLIONS of people have lived and died and have never HEARD of Christ, much less believed in or followed him? Rest easy on that, let go and let God.

You will feel calmer accepting dad's passing if you have had the final moments with him.

Bless you.
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I have an update, good news! Dad has recovered enough that he is off the mental care floor and is back in his old room in Assisted Living!!! And ( big news, drum roll, please), I got to talk to him on th phone this evening! I am overjoyed, I was so afraid I had spoken to him for the last time already and he wasn't going to recover this time.
Just proves again that our God hears and answers prayer, and His name is Wonderful! Still praying for Dad's conversion so that he may enjoy *eternal* life, but am thanking God for the answer to that prayer as well, bc I know I am asking in accordance with His will and that's one of the conditions for answered prayer!
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Teresa914 Feb 2019
I'm so happy to hear your good news! I'll continue to pray for your dad that he will accept Christ as his Lord and Savior before he passes. Prayers for you, too.
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I'm so sorry you are going through this, but I can totally relate. My mom is 3000 miles away from me and on her death bed. I was just out there to see her at Christmas, but unfortunately, just 3 days before my husband and I arrived, she took a bad fall and ended up in the hospital. That accident triggered her sudden significant decline in health, and she was put on hospice care about 10 days ago. As of last night, they said she is in significant pain and they were taking her off all meds, the feeding tube, etc. and just making her comfortable with 24/7 care. It will likely be just a matter of days before she passes. Unfortunately, I cannot get back out to see her as I have a big work event I am preparing for on Feb. 23 and there is no one that can take over my responsibilities and the event can't be postponed or changed because I'm not there. My brother assures me that she wouldn't even know I was there anyway, as he has been visiting her daily and it has been several days since she has even opened her eyes when he is there. I cried myself to sleep last night over the whole situation....I just keep thinking that if I had been there 3 days earlier, or if she just hadn't done what she did to cause the fall things would be so different. But now today, I realize, again, that I can't change the past and that "it is what it is." I WAS there to see her at Christmas. It didn't turn out to be the Christmas we had planned, but I was there. I told her I loved her every time we talked on the phone and every day that I saw her at Christmas. We had a good relationship. And, unfortunately, death is a part of life. We all know it is going to happen, we just don't know when. So I keep telling myself that this is just a part of life, and that the time mom and I had together was good. I'm sorry I can't be there, by her side right now, but she is being cared for and my brother is there. And she knows that I loved her. EVERYONE feels guilt or regret about things they did or didn't do with or for someone they loved. But no one is perfect! And those are such useless emotions! We can't possibly be everything for everyone and do everything right. We make choices on a daily basis and if we make those choices with good intentions and with honesty, even if they aren't the "best" choices, we have to give ourselves a break and know that we did our best. You and I have made a choice not to go visit our loved one because we have responsibilities that will have more adverse consequences if we DO go than if we don't. It sounds like you loved your dad very much and he knew it. Take peace in knowing that you are making the best choice, that your dad knows you love him, and that whatever the future holds for you both is unknown to everyone. Allow yourself to be sad, to grieve....but please don't feel guilt or regret. He knows you love him. That is all he needs. My prayers for you.
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DesertGrl53 Feb 2019
Thank you, Hulacat, for this insightful, sympathetic and encouraging answer.

This morning my MIL, who has lived with us, was killed in an auto accident. This, of course, changes everything. I absolutely cannot leave now. As you indicated, we do the best we can, make the best coices we can and then live with them. I am at peace with my choices. Thank you so much.
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