8 years ago today on a Tuesday at 6 am my sweet Daddy passed from this world to another as we stood around the bed in his and mom’s bedroom their home. Diagnosed and gone in 13 months. Take nothing for granted. Life is precious and time is elusive. This was a vibrant, active, social 76 year old Marine retired after 32 year in the US Marine Corps and retired again after tenure at Coca Cola International in Atlanta. Major James D Manley.
It was the last thing we expected. All of us. Him as well. We struggled that 13 months. I am an only child who gave birth to an only child. My child had married 2 years prior and lived in another state. My son was very close to my father having been raised by a single mother.
I remember that afternoon in the first week of August being in the surgeon’s office with Mom and Daddy. The surgeon advised that surgery was necessary to remove lymph nodes. We all cried, doctor included. We all knew the future was dim. Daddy asked the doctor if the surgery could wait long enough for him to go north and see his first great grandchild come into the world. We had just received a call while we were there that my daughter in law was in labor. The doctor agreed that Daddy could go and I drove them straight home to pack and leave. They barely got there when the precious baby was born. It was one of the happiest moments of our life. Daddy was overjoyed to be there with his precious grandson and newborn great grandchild.
The surgery took place when they returned and we moved forward. In September I married having met my soul mate late in life. Daddy was in much pain walking me down the aisle but we made it. Daddy loved my husband and was very happy to see me married after many years of being single.
In April, 7 months into the 13 months of our last time with Daddy, he had a stroke at the register in Wal-Mart where he and Mom were shopping right across the street from where I was at work. God was good and the stroke did not hit the side of the brain that causes paralyzation. It took its’ toll on him but he recovered fairly well.
At this point my son had come to Georgia with wife and baby. He left the there staying with Mom and Daddy while he commuted back and forth as frequently as possibly. Everyday I would go over at lunch and right after work. My husband would come right after work. We all spent as much time with Daddy as we could. It was wonderful to be altogether having each other so close as we went through this. Mom had a difficult time during this period. In hindsight when she and I discuss it it seems like she emotional checked out off and on to cope. I can only imagine how she felt to be going through this with her husband of 55 years.
August brought the trip to M D Anderson Hospital in Texas in hopes of being in a trial that would get rid of this cancer and rally Daddy back to his life, our life, LIFE. While there he hemorrhaged badly, BADLY. My husband and I were called out that Labor Day Friday on an emergency basis.
Daddy looked rough. Tired and worn out but still with some hope as he always held a strong belief in God.
After a few days things seemed to be controlled and we were under the impression that the process for the trial would continue on. Just when we could breath again his doctor came to me and asked our plans. I told her we were going back to Georgia the following morning. She said “No. You can’t leave. Your father has only a few weeks left, a month at most.” In an absolute stupor I rallied my mother, husband, son and DIL asking the doctor to repeat this to them. I was positive they would not believe me at all because none of had been under this impression.
This lovely, caring and sensitive doctor sat and repeated this news. She said hospice was where we were at this point. Moments later we all, doctor included, went into Daddy’s room to tell him this and ask what he wanted to do. He just wanted to go home. He wanted to depart this world in his own home. So, home hospice was arranged. Son went back to his work to tie up loose end and get back to GA. DIL and granddaughter got in the SUV they had driven to TX in and headed back to GA. My husband and I made arrangements and Mom, Daddy, husband and I flew out on the first possible flight. One of the roughest flights of my life; I prayed continuously that we would get Daddy home alive.
And there is little else to say. I will save the intimate, personal details of that time at home to myself.
God, Spirit, the Universe…. use the name you use to refer to the all powerful creator, has led me to put this to words. Possibly it will touch someone,help someone, lend some comfort.
Daddy is with God now as well as the angels, all our relatives and furry pets. I talk to him every single day and our relationship is strong and vibrant and we know each other better than ever.