Michael Koerner Photography

Clouds

I've looked at clouds from both sides now...

My father died on October 23, 2003. It wasn't a surprise. He had suffered bravely in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) for 5 months with bone cancer. Actually, to be more accurate, he died from the chemotherapy treatments.

When he was first admitted to the SNF, I was there to review his full-body CT scans. The injected contrast agent lit up my father's spine on the film like a Christmas tree. The interpretation of the CT scan was easy and the ultimate prognosis was obvious, even to the medically inexperienced and uneducated. The prostate cancer had spread widely to his major bone mass. Death was just a matter of time. The discussion quickly turned to how to best manage the excruciating pain that the doctors knew would occur from the further degeneration of my father's skeletal structure.

Since I was visiting him a couple times each week, his death was going to be like watching a train wreck in very slow-motion. He chose to “live” in the SNF, since he didn't want to impose upon either me or my mom (with failing health issues of her own). Even though the SNF staff constantly neglected him and ignored his well-being, my father stayed away from his home and refuge.

I was told that he kissed my mom on the cheek the evening before he died, telling her with a smile, "See you later," while waving goodbye to her and his friends. I didn't actually watch him die or remember seeing his body afterwards, and I drifted emotionally through the funeral and gravesite ceremonies.

Therefore, I'm still ... "Serching for my father."

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