Previous post in this series: Then a darkness fell...

Mom and I just go get something to eat. It's around lunchtime and you have to eat something anyway. Otherwise you fall over. The car has also been found and is being picked up now. Then we can go home.

We just wait, sit at the entrance for a while. I feel that this waiting takes a long time. After at least an hour, the car arrives at the hospital. We go back to Veenendaal. There is nothing we can do anyway.

On the way to Veenendaal I search the Internet for a priest in Nieuwegein for the last sacraments. I find some data and send it to my mother. When we get home soon she can call.

After we get home we start drinking coffee, because that drinking in the hospital is not the best. While we are having a drink, mom decides to call the hospital after all. We have been waiting in the main hall for a long time and we also had to go home. We haven't heard from Dad for two hours for sure. Mom calls and is told by the nurses that we should never have left.

I say to Mom, call that priest again. I sent his information to you. She looks at it and calls the priest. He said he was going to see if he could arrange something.

After 10 to 15 minutes we head back to Nieuwegein. Once there, the situation turns out to be not pretty but reasonably stable. We are told by the direct nurses that we are not allowed to leave just like that, and we have to report when we go outside. They are going to do some additional examinations because his leg does feel a little cold. For that we have to wait in the hallway. After half an hour we are allowed to rejoin Dad. We sit down and watch over him. I look at the devices and see that his heart rate is around 60 beats per minute. I stay with him and pray some more.

After a while, the priest himself comes. He introduces himself and we are going to pray together he says. "Is he still conscious?", he asks. "No.", we answer. "Okay, then we'll just do the anointing of the sick", he says. He then begins the prayer, and Dad receives the anointing of the sick. Meanwhile, I hear all the beeps, and see that every few minutes a number of his measured heart rate goes off.

When the priest is gone, we get the results of the additional examination. We are invited into the family room and sit there with two doctors and a nurse. One doctor says, "We did additional examination, and it showed that his right leg is no longer getting warm. We will have to amputate that one. Unfortunately, we can't do that now because his blood pressure is too low. We might still be able to dot it, but there is a high chance that a new blood clot will form, because his blood flows so slowly. So his leg will actually die. In addition, the surgery will be very difficult because his left heart valve has failed. His heart keeps deteriorating because of this. And if he survives everything, it remains to be seen if his brain has not suffered any damage."

The other doctor continued somewhat less subtly, "So he is going to die. You have no choice.".

The first doctor continues, "What we're going to do. We're going to turn off the heart-lung machine, and see if his own heart will take over. Before then, you can say goodbye quietly. Take all the time you need.".

My heart breaks. Grandma always said, "Save your tears for later." So this is later.

We call my brothers and sister-in-law-to-be, explaining to them what the doctors have just said. They are rushing to Nieuwegein. Because we suspect it won't be long now. Mom asks them to let us know when they are almost there.

We go to daddy very emotionally. We are going to pray with him. I commend Our Lord Daddy into His hands. Mom and I pray, "Lord, give him eternal rest. And eternal light illuminate him. That he may rest in peace."

As we watch over him, I see the counter of his heartbeat slowing down a little faster than it did a moment ago. When we left the doctors he was sitting around 50 beats per minute. It's slowing down a little faster now.

Then a text message comes in. They're almost there. At that point, the heart rate drops even faster. Almost nothing remains. I begin to panic slightly. Maybe they won't be there when he dies. Immediately it dawns on me that they will be there. I run to the exit of the ICU and yes there they arrive. I pick them up and we go back to Dad very quickly. Once there, we all say goodbye. Then the heart-lung machine is turned off and his heart rate drops very quickly. The machine kept him alive.

Dad passed away on December 11, 2014 at 7:39 p.m. at St. Antonius Hospital in Nieuwegein.

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