(I have a video that I am trying to get in this blog post and will soon as I can unlock the video)
I went to my sister Emily's house today and she pulled out some CD's and DVD's and found this one that I had made shortly after our Dad, Max James Smith Died. The photos you will see are in chronological order of the events that occurred prior to his death. This is how things proceeded.
Dad had been going to Dialysis for his kidneys had failed. He was so ill, that he had to be taken care of at Heritage Convalescent Center in American Fork. There was a van that picked him up there, and took him to dialysis in Provo, Utah. Mother stood vigil, during the hours of dialysis, and made sandwiches and brought food and drink for him to keep up his strength while laying there. After it was done, Dad was brought home by the same van to the Convalescent center.
Dad had been having strokes during dialysis, and needed physical therapy as well. One day, after having another stroke during dialysis, the doctor told him that he needed to make a decision. He was having strokes every time he went to dialysis, so one time he could be left paralyzed, or worse from the strokes as they would further complicate his ill health. He needed to have dialysis in order to live because his kkidneys had shut down. He had to make a decision on how he would live or die. Dad decided to go off of dialysis, in which the doctors gave him only a couple weeks to live. This was his decision and frankly I believe that it took great courage to make that kind of decision. Dialysis stopped, and our whole family began to live each day to the fullest.
Realizing that Thanksgiving was Dad's favorite holiday, we knew that he would not make it to celebrate Thanksgiving, so our whole family kicked into gear, and speedily planned a Thanksgiving feast of all time. We did this in 2 days. Dennis and I prepared our home for guests... the entire Smith family which consisted of all of Dad's children, Grand Children. We divided up the food assignments, and set up tables, and prepared the house for the Celebration of thanksgiving early that year.
On Sunday everyone came, and we had the greatest time we ever. Everyone was determined to be happy and celebrate Dad's life. This would be the best Thanksgiving we had ever had, because we were celebrating what would be the last days of our fathers life. All the Thanksgiving favorites were spread out on the bar and we began to dish up the first plate for Dad. Dad said, "Forget all the rest of that stuff... just bring me a big fat turkey leg. So we did. Becky sat vigil while he ate, making sure he didn't choke and wiping off his chin. All of us took turns sitting by dad, and visited with him while he enjoyed that turkey leg. He said, "I believe this is the best turkey leg I have ever eaten".
Lots of tears were shed, but through them we all savored the day. We gathered after dinner, and had a program. Becky brought her Thanksgiving book and read it to the Children. Harold told the story of the First Thanksgiving and Old Gentleman Gray. Katie had made up Thanksgiving jokes to tell throughout the program that kept everyone laughing and having a great time. From time to time, I caught a glimpse of Dad, with tears welling up in his eyes, looking around his posterity. We knew what he was thinking, and we all felt the very same way.
Well Dad survived much longer than the doctors had predicted, so thanksgiving came once again and we celebrated twice that year. Dad didn't eat much the second time, and was very much in a weakened condition. He didn't complain, but tried to smile.
Over at the convalescent center, our family continued to celebrate his last days with him. Dad was able to have all of those things that he had missed, with his diabetes and kidney failure. He had pizza which he loved, and wanted it more than just once. Our family had FHE at the Convalescent center where Sara and Joe Danced, and so did Natalie and Jenny. The music to Dad's favorite song was played,The twelfth of Never, and Dad sang the words. We had such a wonderful time for as long as he could.
Finally Dad fell into a coma, and it wasn't long before he passed away. Our family had gathered around him as we had been told that his time was very short. Some of the family had left to go get lunch , but others had stayed. Those who were there, were told to gather around him by the hospice worker as Dad was showing signs that he would pass very soon. He was still in a coma. Those who were there gathered around, and all of the sudden, Dad awoke from his coma, with a start. His eyes were wide open and he was looking right at Mom. He tried to speak but could not. I told mother to tell him all the things he needed to hear, and she smiled, held his hand and told him how she loved him and that she gave him permission to leave her. She told him that her family would take care of her, and that it was his time to go be with Heavenly Father. She hugged and kissed him. Of course we were all crying. It was only seconds after that that he gasped and instantly we witnessed the light going out of his eyes. We all knew that he was gone.
This may sound silly, but I have heard stories of people who had passed, lingering above their body and witnessing the view below, so I turned and looked up and told Dad I loved him and good by.
This is how things transpired. Now you know what this video is about... the year we celebrated Thanksgiving Twice.