There Is A Hospital Bed In My Living Room

  There is a walker, a commode, and a wheelchair sitting in my living room.  And I am not sure how I feel about it.

  Actually, I do….

  I am TERRIFIED for the day we have to use them.  (Right now he can still use a walker to get to the restroom…..)

  I am OCD, I am tidy, I am squeamish….this is not what I signed up for, is it?  I am afraid I will vomit or pass out. I am afraid I won’t be physically strong enough to pick up, help up, or support a dizzy spell.  I don’t know if I can do it.  And I am trying not to guess what is to come.

  Tonight was crazy, more than crazy, is there a word for more than crazy?

  I seriously had no less than 25 phone calls in a several hour time frame. And not one at a time in a tidy fashion, literally 3 at a time, all beeping in on each other to the point of the person saying, “What, I can’t hear you, you keep beeping out.”

  A simple 30 minutes supper, took over 2 1/2 hours to prepare because of the interruptions. Destiny kept getting put off for homework time, because I simply could not sit down to help her, or quiz her on History notes.  So finally after 10:30 pm, my sweet little 8:15 bed-timer crawled to bed, so weary.

  My feet are aching tonight.  I suppose it’s because I haven’t sat down until now, or relaxed as I sat today.  I don’t mind, I don’t want to be a complainer, it’s all VERY worth it…..I just simply had no idea how much work this would be. 

The Hospice Will Cover It vs. No, The Insurance Will Cover It.

The Home Care Nurse Answer vs. The Hospice Nurse Answer.

You get a bed.  You don’t get a bed.

We will pay for it.  You will pay for it. 

We have a bill here for equipment, WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR IT?  My head is SPINNING.

  But in the end, it was worth it.  I have a wonderful, clean, well working, hospital bed in my living room where the couch was, praise God!

Papas new bed

  I shed no tears as we hauled the couch out, as my living room became a bedroom, for I am thankful for the man who rests comfortably on it. 

The opportunity to serve him, and care for him in the name of love, makes the lack of “pretty” seem trivial.

    I walk by him slowly some days, checking for the rise and fall of a weary chest.  IMG_5929

  I love how Sophie loves him, she insists on napping with him all day long.  She knows our Papa is special.


  The Hospice nurse is saying days to weeks, but when I talk to Papa, or hear him laughing with the kids, or crying with guests that stop by that mean so much to him,  I can’t help but to think she is so very wrong.  Hope that she is VERY wrong!!!!

  Mentally, he is the same Papa as always, but the bone weary, thin body of his, is showing signs of quitting.

  They drained 5 liters off of him on Tuesday, and he is already filling back up.

  I can only imagine the turmoil he is in, being betrayed by his own body.  I tell him to welcome those tears he hates so much. They aren’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of processing grief.  That is healthy, I welcome his tears, kind words from a tender heart, one that used to be too shy and quiet to share. 

  I have a strict “Never Cry Alone” Rule, so I always allow my own to fall, letting them spill down my face and drip on to my shirt as we visit.  I want him to know he is not alone in this.  

  He will live here until the last days, then we will transfer to Hospice House.  We decided so many machines, nurses, and people coming and going late into the night to say their goodbyes, would overwhelm our children, make dogs bark, and generally be difficult to manage.  His home is too small for this option.  The Hospice House is beautiful, just a short drive into town.  They took such good care of my Grandpa in his final days, we know they will do the same for Papa should we come to this point.  

  I have been through hard things in my life.  The death of 4 babies I was in love with in utero.  The death of my marriage as I knew it.  The death and passing of several loved ones to illness and cancer in recent years. 

  Dale has not been without sorrow in his life, his parents divorce, our marriage struggles.  He is so strong, so brave.  Taking the lead, meeting with lawyers, filling out paperwork, taking time off work to run his Dad to all sorts of appointments, asking the hard questions, pushing for the answers that don’t want to come, from a man who has been on his own for decades. 

  Yes, he is brave and strong during the day, but I can see the weariness in his shoulders, and the tears in his eyes.  And when the day is drawing to a close and another day looms? He holds me close with shaking arms, and I stroke his face, wiping away his tears as I pray over him for strength and peace that surpasses understanding. 

  This is a road we have never traveled before.  Watching someone lose a fight they gave their ALL to, in our home, before our very eyes.

    So what can I do, but joyfully help to meet my loved ones daily needs, making the obnoxious amount of phone calls it takes to get help, and finally, at the end of a weary day, sitting down to spill my mixed emotions. Splaying them all over this computer screen for all to see. 

  Maybe when I re-read this, I will find my answers.  See my heart, make some sense of it all….

Or maybe I will just see Jesus…….

Asking me to serve my Father in law with pride until he goes home.IMG_5931




Read the rest of Papa’s journey here:

Pancakes for Papa

A Papa Update & Special Visitors

Glorious Ruins

Long Days, Tired Kids

Papa’s Homecoming

A Life Well Lived: Part 1

A Life Well Lived: Part 2

A Life Well Lived: Part 3

Out of The Sorrow



46 thoughts on “There Is A Hospital Bed In My Living Room

  1. So sorry for what you are going through. But, I guess we all do eventually. I did that for my mom and a few years later for my day! It takes a toll on you and your family and the not knowing is so scary. I know your faith will carry you through, it is great to know you are there for him at this time!

  2. You will do what has to be done. There are so many things I said I would never do and when my mom was going through treatment I did all of them plus a few I had never considered. My kids were involved they would stay with gramma so grandpa could go to the post office or for a walk. Don’t be afraid to ask for help caregivers need rest and downtime too. Keeping you and your family in our thoughts.

  3. Oh, Tonya….praying for you and your family today. This is so difficult, but I KNOW that the Lord gives you the strength that you need for each days. Those tears are cleansing for each of you and part of the healing process….let them flow. How wonderful that your Papa is able to shed his tears…..I really do not know how people go through this life without Jesus by their side holding them. Your family is loved by so many and we will keep praying. Hugs

  4. We lost my step-grandmother several years ago to cancer. There is nothing easy about this journey, so I won’t try to say something to “help”.
    Praying for you all during this time – for strength, peace, and wisdom.

  5. Your blog today touched me in a very special way. 10 years ago, I was in your shoes. My husband, me, and my 18 month old daughter moved in with my Mom when she as diagnosed with cancer. There was never a question in my mind that I wouldn’t do this for her. One day she said “I don’t want to be a burden” and I told her it was my privilege and my honor to care for her. After all, she had blessed me for years by being not only my mother, but my best friend. Allowing your family member to live at home is the one final gift you can give them. And I can promise you 2 things……God will give you strenght like you have never had before and you will never ever regret the time spent with your loved one.

  6. We are praying for you. Praying for peace, understanding and strength. My heart breaks for all of you. I can’t imagine what you all are going through. We are locking shields with you in prayer for a miracle healing for your Papa! God Bless You ♥

  7. I cry with and for all of you as well. How blessed Papa is to spend his last days in a home so full of love and all with servants hearts…even sweet Sophie is there for Papa now. Thanks for sharing so beautifully even through your exhastion. Its no wonder I adore you SO!! Praying praying. XO

  8. Oh Tonya we went through this very thing with my mother in law a year and half ago. I so feel your anxiety and grief. I will keep you all in my prayers front and center in the days ahead. You may just feel the presence of Christ stronger than you have ever felt Him in your life. Blessings!

  9. Oh Tonya, My heart is aching for you right now. My prayers go up for you all, all throughout the day! There really are no words to say. I only wish that I could be there to be a shoulder for your to cry on. In this time of our lives that is really the best thing, I think. I don’t know, what you are going thru, yet I do. I know the feeling of watching a man once strong and able to do everything on his own, now depend on his wife and sons to do almost everything for him.
    Tonya, please if ever you need to talk to someone. Please don’t be afraid to call me. I will email you my # just in case. I know that you have a GREAT support group surrounding you, but….. if ever I am ALWAYS here for you.
    Sending my ❤ and {{hugs}} your way.

  10. Tonya,
    For many years of my life, I would say “I could never be a nurse!” And then the time came a few years ago when one of my closest friends became very ill and I was honored to be able to help on occasion. I cared for a never-healing wound, I showered and pottied my dear friend. And let me assure you — it was one of the greatest gifts of my life and my natural squeamishness never even raised its head. Being able to provide care and comfort to a loved one is something you all will cherish all your life.
    It would be better if you had a bedroom for all the equipment – perhaps you could rig up some screens to use when necessary? You are so handy, I bet you could. It will be overwhelming and exhausting but it’s a learning experience in how to truly love and your children will be learning it along with you.
    Prayers continue for you all. (and it’s wonderful for the dog to be there providing comfort and warmth and a heartbeat next to papa) Ask your family and friends for specific help you need. Most want to help but aren’t always sure how and would love to be asked to come change all the sheets on the beds or pick up a list from the grocery store. Take care.

  11. Your words and experience will give me strength and comfort when it is my turn to care for parents and parents in law. I pray that you will sense the Lord’s presence in every step you take today.

  12. You and your family have my thoughts and prayers. Your story hits so close to home as we went through this last year this time with my father. Hospice was so wonderful to work with. I’m so glad your Papa is having this time at home with his family. My prayers are with you.

  13. Every time I read about your father in law I am overcome with emotion. I can feel the love you have for him pouring out. I don’t know him, but I have so much love for this man. My heart goes out to you and your family during this difficult season of change. Much love and many prayers.

  14. Totally understand your post. I watched my father die of cancer 8 yrs ago. What you are experiencing IS a gift from God. These special moments you are sharing will mean sooo much later on. Cherish every moment! God is faithful! Will be praying for your family.

  15. I feel for you having wlked in your shoes. All I can say is it so worthit. To know you have given your loved one their last wish to meet their maker at home surrounded by loved ones.. I’m crying as I write and it has been 30 years since my dad passed but we his children & their mates have not 1 regret. We gave our time & love but he deserved it.

  16. Okay… I said this before… I know we have never met and I love reading your blog… I want you to know I am praying for you.. I can not even imagine and my eyes well up with tears reading this…BUT as you know in the end, Jesus will be glorified!! I will pray for you and your family daily!! All our hope is in him!! Keep the blog going as it is wonderful to read!! Thanks for such a great job! Kathy Webb from Denham Springs, LA

  17. Praying for your family during this difficult time. As we all take our turn caring for our loved ones… the sacrifices are worth it at the end.. Bless you for the incredible care you are giving him.

  18. Oh, Tonya. I feel for you so very much. I hope my comments will help rather than discourage you. As a retired Oncology nurse, I know what you are going through, as much as an outsider can. I still have both of my parents, so I cannot completely understand your pain. I can tell you that I have seen so many in your predicament. You are doing the most wonderful, fulfilling, loving thing you possibly can. You have been given the beautiful chance to make his days the most happiest, as well as making the memories you will have forevermore. The only advice I can offer is tell him how much you all love him and help him do whatever he wishes to do. I once had a patient that was dying, a young man with a young wife. He was also a smoker. We let his wife sleep in the bed with him which helped him rest better. When he begged for a cigarette, promising to go without his oxygen (since it is flammable), we had to refuse. After awhile, we did give in and give him one to just hold unlit. He was so very happy and relaxed. After about 8 years, I am still comforted by the fact that we did that little thing for him and his wife. I could tell you hundreds of examples like that but the purpose of my telling you that is to encourage you. You will not do anything wrong by loving him. Just sit with him. Talk about things he used to do, things you remember. Just be with him. You and your children will remember these days forever. It will be hard but you will never regret it. You will gain so much from this experience, believe me. I will be praying for you, as many others will. Don’t be afraid to cry. I will be following your story.

  19. So very sorry your family has to go through the difficultly of slowly saying goodbye to your beloved Papa. We said the same difficult goodbye for now to my husband’s grandfather a year and a half ago. It’s hard to watch, as you said, their bodies betray them; Grandpa Al hardly looked like the strong man I knew him to be when the nasty MLA had taken all it could from him.
    He is so blessed to have you and your family watching over him and caring for him during this hard journey. My heart and prayers are with you all.

  20. YOU WILL HAVE THE STRENGTH to do all that will be asked of you! I took care of my 100-year-old father for many years, doing things I never thought I could. You are so lucky to have a family who can help you as I was completely alone. I understand all of your stresses…cooking, homework, bills, infinite phone calls. I continue to keep you and your family in my prayers. Simply take one day, one hour at a time. And know that someone like me, who just started reading your website, cares about you and what you’re going through. Let the tears flow. And remember, you can never say, “I LOVE YOU,” enough!

  21. Tonya, how my heart aches for all of you as I read your words this morning. My soul revisits the journey of my own dear Daddy and I see that your family is in a place no one wants to be but so many of us have experienced. You nailed it when you said all of you are already grieving. Unfortunately this is the case with terminal illness. As hard as the days may be (and those ahead will be even more so) remember that after the tears there will be joy in the morning. My own father was our family strength pillar even in his illness until he could no longer be and his strength came from his faith, which he shared until the end. He always knew where he was going and lived his life that way. So we are assured blessedly of where he is. Be courageous for Papa Don as these are precious moments that will be a memory in time. May God grant you and your family the strength and energy to continue to minister to each other….He will meet you where you are and carry you.

  22. Prayers for all of you during this time. Papa is very blessed to have such a great loving family by his side. You are a wonderful person Tonya.

  23. I am crying with you. I know this is so hard for all of you, and working through all the details with so many people with so many different “answers” is exhausting. You are loving and caring for Papa Don so well, you can live without regret. Love and blessings to you all.

  24. I will be praying for you and your family! I have just lost two sisters in the past 4 months. No time for goodbyes. Both my father and mother -in-law we knew their time was near so we were able to talk and say our goodbyes. Cherish this time, if you have time to sit and listen you can hear stories that you have never heard about your papa. It is hard to serve but you are a wonderful daughter to be willing to do it. The lessons you are teaching your children during this time will never be forgotten.

  25. Thank you for honoring him in this way! Your kids will have so many amazing memories of Don because of the choices you are making! It is so very difficult to watch him suffer… We love you and are praying for all of you! Aunt Lucy

  26. Thank you for sharing this so that I have the privilege to pray for you all in this time. Praying that The Lord will pour his strength and comfort on you all.

  27. In 1998 I took leave from work, left my husband and daughter for 2 and a half months returned to my childhood home to care for my dying Dad. Even though I’m an RN I was first and foremost his baby girl. Other than Wed afternoon spelled by my brother and again Saturday for several hours with my family who traveled down each weekend, I was his caregiver 24/7. When I called in Hospice I couldn’t stop crying because I knew a miracle was not going to happen. We had the bed in the living room too. I knew we were another step closer when he asked me to bring the Wedding picture of Mom and him off the bookshelf to the bedside table. My Dad was a very private person and didn’t want anyone but me with him near the end. It was just the 2 of us when he gently passed. While we were always close I learned things about my Dad I never knew in those weeks and even more so about myself. Caring for a loved one in their end days is an ultimate blessing, however difficult and exhausting at the time. My prayers for you and all the other caregivers.

  28. I’m praying for you, Papa and your family as well. It’s not an easy thing you do, but so worth it! God will give you the strength for each day as it comes. Where would we be without Him?!

  29. I had to go through this bout with cancer when I was 19 years old, I took care of my Mother. Cancer takes our loved ones, but through Jesus we are so blessed to care for them as they walk the valley off death. I did this about 35 years ago. I am praying for you and your family. God bless him and give him rest and peace.

  30. I can do all the yucky stuff for kids but was NEVER going to care for anyone elderly. Well God had other plans & we had my mother in law here at our house with cancer for 2 1\2 years. I did all the many things that normally would have made me want to hurl. As I think back sometimes I’m amazed at being able to do those things. Only God, and the amazing way He gives us just what we need when we need it.

  31. I too have been in your shoes. I cared for my father as he battled Alzheimer’s. It took 9 years for the disease to finally take my dad. I treasure each moment I with him. I don’t regret putting my life on hold to care for him. It was some of the best years I spend with him. Time passes so fast and there will be no more opportunities. Let the children be a part of this process. It is amazing to me that the young kids are so at ease with the sick and have so much compassion for them. Praying that you will see this as a honor and be blessed by your experiences.

  32. I loved reading your post and pray for your family as you walk down this path. We walked it with my Mom many years ago. My sister, a nurse, ushered everyone out of the room, nurses, dad, grandpa and rest of the family, except for me, my sister-in-law and herself with instructions to the nurses to please unhook the monitors and bring in clean bedding gown and three wash clothes and towels. I have to admit I was freaking out about now, but she in turn told us how as a hospice nurse she had the privilege to care for a Native American 17 yr old boy and how his mom had shared this tradition of cleaning the body once they passed. We did that and I have to say it was one of the most honored and privilege things I have ever been able to participate. What a last gift to give a loved one. It was amazing and then we had family come back in to say last goodbyes. It was such a gift!

  33. He will help you thru this, when you feel you aren’t strong enough He will give you His. Thank you for taking the time to share with us here, hopefully it will help ease your burden. Keeping you in my heart xx

  34. do you have his permission to show pictures of him in a vulnerable state and post stories about his health troubles that he might prefer to keep private?

    • Of course, I would never want to disrespect my FIL! He is so thankful for everyone’s kind words and support. So many people come here to get their updates from his church, it saves a lot of phone calls. Thanks for checking….

      • I appreciate you taking the time and effort to reply. Blessings to your family. Losing a loved one is the hardest thing we ever face, imo.

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  37. I know this pain as I lost my father in December… Some nights I cry myself to sleep in his hospital bed.. he was all I ever really had and I’m so lost… I guess forever wouldn’t be long enough..

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