I was 24 years old when I gave birth to my daughter back in 1982. At the same time, I was taking care of my dad, who was dying from lung cancer. There was no hospice at the time, and I was the only medical person in our family of twelve, so a lot of his care defaulted to me. The day he died, he was delirious, in extreme pain and he started calling me by his sister’s name. I just smiled and continued giving him a sponge bath.
Then I got right in his face and said “I love you, Daddy.” He said “I love you too.” I asked him if he knew who I was, and he said “Karen, of course!” I have been a nurse for over 40 years. That experience with my dad allowed me to encourage and help many people to say goodbye to their family members. Even when we think they are unresponsive, don’t hear us or don’t even know us, talk to them as though they are able to communicate. I was privileged to be able to care for my father to the very end, and greatly moved to realize he knew I was there.
He Knew I Was There
The Dr. Laura Call of the Day Podcast