Exhaustion and frustration turn to anguish and grief. A few moments before the 2:00 am dosing, the demeanor of my brother changes. His respiration, though the same in rate, changes in pattern. The all too familiar twitches of his legs and arms cease. His face no longer looks so strained. I forgo the dose and instead opt to begin waking the adults. Sleepily, the wife, the mom and dad, and me surround my brother. His wife is on his left and his mom on the right. His dad is at the foot of the hospital bed and I'm near him. Our parents remember the details of his birth while his wife tells of their first date, but mostly it's a heavy silence. Periodically, I measure the respiration rate. True to form, he keeps on fighting and going. About an hour passes and slowly, his breathing rate drops to 20....18....16....14....12.....down to 8 breaths per minute. It's time. His wife wakes and brings the kids in. Seeing his kids present begins to unleash the tears in everyone. Kleenex boxes are rapidly being emptied. And at 3:30 am, my brother draws his last breath. Now the gut wrenching grief and wailing truly begin. My nephew and niece's dad, my sister-in-law's husband, my parents' son, and my brother is dead.
In deference to the acute grief, we request that you please wait a few days before inundating my sister-in-law with your condolences. I will post the information for the funeral arrangements as soon as they are finalized.