My dad, Jim Weise, recently died while my family was gathered in my hometown to celebrate my grandparents’ anniversary. It was an awful, terrifying and enlightening experience – almost indescribable. This is the first member of my close, immediate family that has died, and I believe I am still in shock about the whole thing.
My dad was fighting cancer for many years, and had finally found an alternative chemo treatment that was working (look up IPT for cancer treatments on the internet). His tumors had decreased by 60%. However, the five previous conventional chemo treatments that didn’t work really damaged his liver. He ended up dying from a massive blood clot in the portal vein of his liver.
My family is not what I would call spiritually aware. They are wonderful, intelligent, loving people but I’ve always felt that I operate on a different frequency. However, together we experienced some amazing things during the week my dad was in the hospital, and I believe it opened everyone up a little more to the wonderful and strange synchronicity of a spiritual life.
Events conspired to have my entire immediate family in Illinois together the exact day my dad went into the hospital. My whole family was born there and my dad ended up dying there. We were together for my birthday, which hasn’t happened in about 25 years. I share a birthday with my cousin Marla, and we hadn’t been together on that day for at least 40 years. My hotel, which I didn’t want to stay at because it was too far from my grandparents house, ended up being only a few minutes from the hospital.
On the day my dad died, we sat with him, squeezing his hands and letting him know we were there. We played all his favorite music and told funny stories from our childhood. Although he was on massive painkillers, we knew he heard us because he would occasionally respond. We ended up taking turns telling him that it was okay to let go, that we would be okay. Finally around 7pm, I told my family that we needed to leave so that he could let go. I thought they’d all be mad at me for the suggestion but they understood.
My brother, sister and brother-in-law left with me, leaving my mom alone with my dad. We were wrung out and hungry so we went to dinner. On the way back to my grandparents’ house after dinner, my mom called to tell us to come back to the hospital. My dad was near the end. By the time we got there, he was gone. My mom said when he died, his favorite song was playing (“Leader of the Band”) and when he took his last breath, the nursery rhyme that the hospital plays on the PA system when a baby is born started playing. My mom is convinced that my dad is in a baby body now.
My brother told me later that when we left the restaurant that night, he felt what he described as raindrops on his forearms, although we were still inside. It would have been just about the time my dad was leaving his body. Later, after we left the hospital we passed the corporate park where my dad worked for 25 years. While we were stopped at the light next to the park, it suddenly started raining, deluge-style. We took it as a sign.
I think my dad finally learned about being a spirit in a body, just as he was leaving his body. He visited Stevo later that night to tell him to let me know that he was okay. A few days later, my 7-year-old great nephew (my dad’s great-grandson) said that Grandpa Jim had come to him in a dream that same night and said, “It’s okay Evan, I’m not in pain anymore.”
I’m still processing the whole experience, and I know I’ll be grieving for a long time. As awful as it was to watch him die, in a way it helped to witness it and to remember that the body is just a shell for a soul that goes on and on.
Take it easy, dad…