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Friday, April 20, 2018

RIP: Joe Kalman Szabo

My dad passed away Monday April 16 2018 at age 79. Almost the 2 year anniversary of his stroke.  Don't worry, I'm okay :) Just gonna tell you a bit about the journey...

Wall of text inbound. Sorry.

He slid backwards with a series of small strokes and ended up slipping away over the last 2 weeks. That was tough to watch, but now that it's over there is more relief than sorrow. I said goodbye well before this and we had nothing left unsaid.

My fav parts of that past week were:

Friday night: The doctor saying maybe it's just low iron? I said I admire your optimism, doc. I'm calling the funeral home. He's losing years of stroke recovery in days. I don't need a CT scan to tell me what's happening. He'll be gone by Monday -_-

Sat/Sun: Wicked ice storm that made travelling to go watch him die each day a death defying act in itself.

Can't do anything easy in this family can we?

I am an only child and I had POA. You need to sit down and talk to your parents to set that up now. Don't wait until something happens. Fellow blogger Apothecary would tell you everyone is ready for their parents to die. No one is ready for them to survive stroke. He's right, get POA for personal and property - you will need both and it will take immense pressure off.

POA is not about making good decisions for them. You'll do that anyway because they did that for you. It is about taking care of them and advocating for their wishes, even if say, those wishes are to stop going to physio and having a DNR. It is not about being a martyr and pushing them to do what you think is best for them.

That was easier for me because I am an only child. If you have siblings I would suggest you give POA to the one who is the least at ease morally with it. Not from thieving or selfish standpoint, but from the point of "Fuck I don't want this I don't think I can handle the pressure or make the right call" That is the person you want making the calls, the one with a good moral compass who will honor what the person wants even if it's not what the rest of the family would want.

I pushed my dad so hard with physio and at one point he finally said:

"No more. I'm 79, when have I earned the right to just slow down rest and wait for my time to go? I miss my wife and I am tired."

Geez, I'm A type. I hadn't even considered that.

"Okay dad that's fair, but you could slide fast and hard."


"Okay dad."

The irony was that he fought like a bastard the last few days to hang on. My mom was probably dragging him to another dinner party and he was like: "Noooooooo, not his shit again!"

I'll miss my dad, but I know he's with my mom now and I am happy to have been there for him for the past 2 years. He was there for me for 38 so I still have time owing o_O

Thanks dad. Thanks for showing me how to be a good man. Thanks for letting me make mistakes and be okay with it. Thanks for the laughs and the tears and the lectures and the advice. Thanks for showing me it's okay to have the courage to say I don't know when you didn't know. I hope I'm even just half the father to my kid that you were to me.

I found the family plot in the cemetery today. There were deer tracks in the snow right next to where your ashes will be. That's right you old bastard, the deer ate your flowers at home and now even in death you can't have a nice flower bed!

Somehow, that's almost perftec :)