Hi Again Serendipity,
God is a great comfort in times like this my sister. We just went through a similar loss. Less than 2 months ago we lost my wife's mom to a heart attack and less than 3 months prior to that we had lost her Dad to congestive heart failure. Bill and Evelyn had come to live with us these last 5 years and in many ways, having lost my own Mom and Dad some years ago, they really became like dear surrogate parents to me as well. We were always close before this but I grew to love them both even more living in our home. My respect over the years just kept growing for them both. Bill, who was a fiercely independent but very loving man, had decided to accept our invitation for them both to come and live with us about 5 years ago, after Evelyn began having some very severe health issues. He loved his independence but in comparison to his love for Evelyn it was no contest so they moved in. Now Evelyn continued to decline and went into rehab after neglecting to set the brake on her walker. It just flew away from her when she turned around and tried to close a door. She fell, breaking her wrist. So we'd take Dad up to see her every night after work. One morning while I still was getting ready for work, I heard a huge crash and breakfast dishes hitting the floor. Our youngest had just gotten off to school that morning and my wife Paula had just left for work. I called down from upstairs and asked if everything was okay but eerily I received no answer. So running downstairs I found Bill on the floor of our kitchen completely unresponsive, except for his eyes which told me everything I needed to know. He had just had a massive stroke. Despite getting him an ambulance and into the hospital in less than 30 minutes they unfortunately could do nothing for him. The clot that had lodged itself in a vessel which was feeding the left side of his brain was almost completely plaque and the so called miracle drug they gave him did little reduce the clot and get blood flowing there again. We prayed and prayed for him because in the early going it was very touch and go. The doctor's gave us little hope he'd survive the week and even mocked us telling us he was already pretty much gone but I knew it wasn't true. I had brought our son up to see him that night. He and his gramp were very close to each other. Now Bill had fought in the Philippines and Okinawa but he was a gentle soul too. He taught Patrick how to garden and taught him all the names of every bird that flew into his feeders. Those two were just simpatico. That night with gramps eyes were barely open at all as we spoke to him and prayed for him. Patrick was almost 15 at the time and he just gave Bill a hug and told him how much he loved him. Patrick began to cry and it was then that I noticed tears in Bill's eyes too. He was very much all there and his eyes told us all we needed to know. He made it out of there and into rehab and then home to us.
Now Bill had always been a very social person usually generating the majority of any conversation. He was a great guy to talk to and his memories extremely sharp and witty. However, after the stroke he could only mutter a few words and it could sometime be quite difficult to understand him. After mom's rehab was over we brought him home. My wife and her sister arranged to get some health care workers to help out, which really made that possible. Now Bill was so glad to be home again but the biggest difference maker was Paula's mom. She would wake him up every morning by saying, "Good morning dear, I love you so much". "I am so glad we're here together". It was the most beautiful example of love between those two and it spoke volumes to me of the power of love. It was so real and such a testimony to me how love triumphs over adversity.
Now just because Dad couldn't talk didn't mean he could no longer interact. I'd tell some dumb joke at the dinner table and he'd laugh or wink at me if no one else got it. They'd play some sort of scrabble and card game together. We'd watch movies. One I saw, which had a big effect on him was the "Hiding Place".
Even now I have to ask myself if I could go through what he did and be so full of life and love for his family. I really never once saw him feel sorry for himself. My respect for him just kept grew daily. And mom, who had been sick, just forced herself to be strong to take care of the one who had cared for her. We'd come home from work and they'd be out there sitting on the porch just enjoying nature and mostly just their time together.
Those last years that we were all together were very happy years despite the challenges, especially or my wife and her sister. Christ was also very much at work in our household and sometime I will share what the Lord did for us in those final days as they both passed from this life. We are very much at peace with what God gave us those last few years and so thankful for what He showed us in the end. The whole family really misses them and it has been hardest on Paula. God was both our comfort and strength throughout all of this and He continues to be in the aftermath as well. Through all this He has made His light and love known to the whole family and I pray also that He will be your great comfort and strength as well in the months and years as you remember your parents. I know we may not be able to grasp this now but I know and trust that the Lord shall dry ever tear. After all it is written in His Word and God is faithful with every promise we have in Him.
May God bless you in the knowledge of His Love, Pat