The Charlie Bravo Story

The waiting is the hardest part

My dad has began his final withdrawal, this time inside himself.

In the beginning of the process some years ago, it was a bit hard not to be resentful; after all, how could he NOT remember who I am? I, who for years was the most important thing in his universe? And how is it fair, just when I think that that we have finished raising our own children, somewhere along the way we have acquired another, albeit without the hope of a storybook ending?

Then, after years of slow decline hastened by a perceived lack of respect and an abundance of stress, his condition took a sudden steep nosedive, and he became increasingly difficult to manage. One extremely horrible Friday night, we had no choice but to take hime to that most dreaded of health care facilities, (cue ominous music here),


Don’t ask me how I was aware, but I did know in the pit of my gut, that he would never come home. But I did relearn a valuable lesson: don’t let others opinions form my own. I had heard all the self righteous radio talk shows castigating the VA system, and I’m sure that there is some truth to that side of the story, but I’m here to tell you that I cannot say enough good about the quality of care, both physical and mental, that we have received.

And the people; I cannot imagine working in a health care environment where death is so often the expected outcome, whether due to the age or the social status of the average patient that enters that system. It is beyond my comprehension how these angels keep plugging tirelessly away; forget the stars of Hollywood and the sports world, these are the true heroes in my book.

So after many weeks of fighting the good fight, the adversary eventually has proved to be too relentless and a cessation in hostilities has been declared. For every thing there is a season, a time to fight, but sometimes a time to realize that one has fought the good fight and kept the faith, and now it’s time to surrender and let someone else carry the banner.

So now he’s been moved into palliative care, and the final withdrawal from the battlefield has begun. Is it sad? I’m not so sure, as I know the respect and honor he has waiting for him on the other side, as he sure didn’t get it here.

I recently read an analogy where death was compared to a dog waiting for her dad at a closed door to another room. Even though she had no idea what else was on the other side of that door, it didn’t matter; what did matter is that was where the dad was at, so it HAD to be good,and that’s where she wanted to be.

Of course, I had to laugh when I read this as it pertains to Charlie, as if there is any chance of the Charles waiting at any door without A: tearing it off of it hinges, or B: charking her goofy head off until she eventually gets her way. I pity the eardrums of St Peter and/or the conditions of the Pearly Gates should she be denied access; when the roll is called up yonder, she’ll be there, or wherever she decides she wants to be, that much is for certain.

So I leave town this morning on a business trip, not knowing if I will even make it to my destination before getting called home because my dad did. On the other hand, it may be weeks or more; who knows? It’s out of my control;

Sometimes all we can do is wait.

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