My father, Jaunutis Jonas, died this past Wednesday March 10, 2010. I am devastated by his death, but it wasn’t a surprise for me. As many of my faithful readers know he’s been suffering for quite a while, and had been in hospital since early February 2010 when my mother rushed him by ambulance after he took a big fall at home.
At first it looked like he would improve, a week after being admitted he was quite cheeky, jovial, and cantankerous as only an old man can be. But two weeks before his death his health took a sudden turn for the worse.
My father died from aggressive lymphoma. It had started his in left armpit and it had spread quite quickly to his left arm (it was badly swollen), his upper chest, throat and his right cheek. He did agree to radiation, mostly because he had lost the ability to swallow because of the tumour spreading so quickly. He had one course of radiation, localised to his chest.
Last Wednesday we (Momma Bean, Lil Bro and I) were scheduled to meet with Elder Bean’s doctor for 10am. At 7:30 that morning we received a phone call from the hospital urging us to show up as soon as possible. We met with the doctor and the prognosis was not good. The doctor gave my father anywhere from a few hours to a few months — depending on how my father’s body would fight the lymphoma. Elder Bean was unconscious, on an oxygen mask pumping 6L of O2 per second.
Lil Bro had to go home to take care of Sasha, my father’s beloved dog, and my mom went to the chapel to pray for the Elder Bean. Thankfully my mother had called my father’s closest family — his cousin Vincas and his wife Silvija, who showed up around noon. It was around 12:30pm that I noticed that my father’s chest had stopped moving and there was no condensation within his oxygen mask. Right when I was yelling for a nurse my mom walked in from the chapel. Momma Bean collapsed in my arms, while I had to ring Lil Bro to tell him that Elder Bean passed on.
Lil Bro quite literally collapsed over the telephone. I advised him to stay home, to not even attempt coming back as he may have an accident driving down. Met with one of the hospital chaplains who gave my father Last Rites, and then we started the process of planning Elder Bean’s funeral.
Momma Bean does not speak much english so I had to do most of the translating for her, expressing her wishes with regards to how she wanted the Elder Bean remembered and taken care of by the funeral home. The visitation was Thursday evening and the funeral on Friday.
The whole process was quite surreal for myself. The funeral was small and very tasteful. I was so greatly pleased to see such an outpouring of affection and respect for the Elder Bean by the Toronto Lithuanian Community. My mother’s closest cousin collapsed into tears at the visitation, she was just so shocked that he sickened and died so quickly.
I want to express my gratitude and affection for those who have supported me, listened to me cry, and have hugged me. Hugs are a valuable commodity, greatly needed, and are in short supply.
I want to thank my long-time friend Aurelija, Jurate, Kari, Robert, Brian, Chris, Mike, Mark, Jenn, Lydia, Andrew, Cat, Catherine, Sydney, Geeklawyer, Katie, Pandaman, Ruthie (she got to meet Elder Bean) and many others who I have probably missed.
I greatly needed to escape, atleast mentally, and it was beautiful that my friends got together last Wednesday with me to help me toast the memory of the Elder Bean.