Monday, May 30, 2011
One week ago today on May 22, 2011, my dad, Dale E. Smith went home to be with his Lord at 11:40 a.m. We have lost a good and devoted husband, dad, brother and son!! He is going to be missed by all of us who loved him.
The Friday before Sunday, I had the strangest feeling. It was like someone was audibly talking to me yet they weren't. I knew that I had to go to my parent's apartment as soon as I could get there. I did not want my mother to be alone when Dad did pass away.
I got up on Saturday morning, packed and took off for Tuscola. When I got there I was really surprised at the way my dad looked. They had brought in a hospital bed just that week. He looked at me but am not sure that he knew me. I talked to him and held his hand. Mother and I tried to keep the saliva that was forming in his mouth cleaned up. I guess this is what happens when you cannot swallow or have not had a drink. He was not eating or drinking by this time. The saliva that we all have stays clear and thin but when you don't drink something then it becomes a thick white mess. I thought that it looked like white pudding. Mother worked and worked trying to get it out of his mouth. Sometimes he would let her help him but most of the time he just swallowed it back.
He said that he thought he had done his pants. We checked and found out that we needed something like adult diapers. I ran up to the store and brought some back. Mother and I had a terrible time just trying to get them under him. He was a very small man (around 130 lbs.) but very heavy. WE struggled and struggled. Finally I called a neighbor to help us lift him up. We got it under him but could not get the tabs to work. We ended up using some duct tape!! It worked!!
We kept watching him. Family was calling and I told them that they had better come NOW. Mike, Becky, Julie, Maddie, Emily, Bill all came up Sunday morning. We had just called the hospice nurse to tell her that we needed her to come. She came and helped us give him some more moriphine. We had not given him enough. She upped it and told us to give more plus she had a medication that helped the saliva thin out!! As soon as she left our family came. We all went up to him and told him it was time for him to go now.
Just a little bit before he passed, he held his right hand up in the air and then dropped it down. We think that he saw someone. WE were talking and one of the kids said..Look!! WE all turned around and we saw that Dad was leaving us. Becky had brought her stethoscope. She ran over to him and listened and could not find a heart beat. She said he is gone. Mike said that he looked at the clock to make sure about the time...11:40 AM on the 22nd of May we lost our dad, grandpa, and husband!! He went to be with God. We knew that he was finally at rest. He could now walk and not be in any pain! What a blessing to know that a few years back he had accepted Jesus as his Savior and had been baptized!! We mourn our loss but we all know that he is in a better place now...
We called hospice and they called everyone that they had to call. The funeral home came. Mother and I went back into the bedroom while they took him to the funeral home. Becky stayed with him while they were in Mother's apartment. Julie and Bill took the younger granddaughters out just so they would not have to see all of this. They had just seen their great grandfather pass away!! It was so good that a large portion of his family were with him at the end.
Monday came and Mother and I had to go to the funeral home and make all of the arrangements. We tried to pick out what we thought that Dad would like. Then the next day our family arrived!! So nice to see them all. My brother, Ron and his wife and daughter came from Arizona. Jon and his wife Maria also came.
The funeral was set for Thursday the 26th!! WE woke up to a very rainy and gray day. Dad really looked good. Many people came to pay their respects to Mother and our family. Pastor Mike Rutledge did the service. We had people tell of the fun times that they had with Dad. It was a very nice service. WE had thought we would not get to go to the graveside but it stopped raining just long enough for us to go.
WE had 2 military men there. They stood at the head and the foot of the casket. After Dad's friend played taps, the soldiers carefully folded our American flag. The one soldier handed it to the other and he bent down and presented it to Mother. This whole ceremony was very sad!! The rain stayed away until we had all filed out and drove back to the Tuscola Museum for our dinner.
The women at the Museum had cooked a very nice meal for everyone that wanted to attend. Dad and Mother have volunteered there for 25 years. They all felt like they owed something to my dad.
Now it is over a week since all of this happened. I am so thankful that Dad had us all there when he passed from this life into a new one.
He was my hero!! All little girls think that their dads are their heros!! Mine was in the second world war. He was wounded and received the purple heart!! He never talked much about it till the later years of his life. Mother recorded him speaking and then wrote it all down. He was in a foxhole the day that he found out that I was born. He told me that he stood up to tell everyone. A buddy of his said that he had better get down or he would not see his new baby!! My dad also named me. He saw a little girl on a train. Her name was Sandra Lee. He wrote to Mother and told her if they had a little girl that he wanted her to be named Sandra Lee. Mother was going to name me Billie Kay!! Somewhere I have a woman to thank for my name.