Saturday, September 18, 2010

Til We Meet Again

Philip Ray Brown, 74 years old

My Father, Philip Ray Brown, passed away peacefully in his home on Sunday, August, 22, 2010 surrounded by his loved ones. I will miss him dearly and I am so grateful he is reunited with my Mother, Antoinette Hatch Brown. Heaven is a sweeter place with them in it.

I found out that my Dad was given 2-3 months to live right before Casey and I took off for Breckenridge. He met with his doctor to go over his test results that showed the cancer was spreading and the current treatment wasn't working. The doctor asked him whether he wanted to get more aggressive in treating the cancer, and my Dad knew it was time to stop. He made sure that all of us knew that he was done fighting and felt like it was his time. The decision was made to stop all treatment and let him enjoy his final months. After Casey, Cash, and I returned from Breckenridge, we stopped in Utah to say goodbye to everyone. I talked with my Dad about coming to see him next month, but I was also really sad to leave him. I was hesitant to leave when there was no rush for me to get back to California and I didn't know how much time he had left. Casey and I were going back and forth all morning about what to do. When my Dad overheard us, he simply said, "I would really like it if you and Cash could stay with me for another week." That made my decision really simple. We stayed.

Casey had another tournament that weekend, so he flew out to New Jersey. We moved my Dad to my sister Misha's house so that we could help each other take care of Dad and babies with our husbands out of town. We spent that week just enjoying Grandpa. Cash played with his cane, his oxygen, his chair, drank from his cup, and ate off his plate. He climbed all over Grandpa all week long and my Dad loved it. I kept trying to keep Cash away from him, but every time I turned around my Dad was sneaking him another treat or sip. It was a really special time for them. Misha and I spent the week trying to keep him happy, fed, and comfortable. We had some hard times with my Dad throwing up and unable to move. And we had great times watching movies and playing with the kiddos. My Dad was seriously the best Grandpa you could ask for. Always slipping the kids suckers and playing with them. Always truly enjoying them.

On Thursday night, he had a particularly hard night. He had thrown up everything he had eaten that day and could barely lift his legs. He also was complaining of neck pain. I got him all ready for bed and helped him to his knees for his nightly prayers. Then I sat there and cried and thanked my Heavenly Father for such a wonderful, kind, loving, and faithful Father. He could barely move and was so sick, yet he had me help him to his knees to give thanks to his Father in Heaven. I helped him into bed and then said goodnight.

I checked on him once in the middle of the night to see if he needed to get up and go to the bathroom. He said he was too tired. By late morning, I had gone in to check on him three times with no response. He was sleeping so deeply that I just thought he needed the rest. Misha came home around 1pm and went down to check on him again. He wouldn't respond to her either. Then we started realizing something was wrong. He couldn't respond to us, but we could tell he was awake. He would squeeze our hands when we asked him questions, but couldn't move. When I asked him if we should call an ambulance he didn't do anything. When I asked him if he wanted to go home and be comfortable, he squeezed my hand multiple times. We were nervous about what to do next. We called our sibling and updated them. Then decided to move him back to his house. He was still able to swallow, so we were giving him juice and water to drink. We checked his blood sugar level and it was scary low. We were able to get enough juice in him that he started coming around a little. He was able to talk, but could barely move. After telling him how scared we were that he couldn't talk, he replied that it was really scary for him too because he could hear us and not respond. With a lot of help, we were able to get him back to his house. We laid him in his bed and called hospice.

The hospice nurse came over and checked him. She confirmed that his blood sugar was very low and his oxygen was also pretty low. She told us he had gone into a diabetic coma. His wishes were to not get treatment, but to pass away as comfortable and peaceful as possible. The nurse said that all there was left to do was give him pain medication for any discomfort and let him go. A diabetic coma was a good way to pass because you go into a deep sleep and then eventually stop breathing without any pain. It was hard to hear these words, but comforting to know he wouldn't suffer. The rest of the day and the next day were kind of a blur. Lots of tears, talking, comforting, and preparing. He was able to respond all day Friday and most of the day Saturday. His brother came to visit him on Saturday morning to say his goodbyes, and my Dad was raising his eyebrows and grasping his hand. Trying to give his older brother any signs of response. His two sisters were also able to come say goodbye and he responded to their voices. By Saturday early evening he was so deep into the coma, he couldn't respond anymore.

All of the siblings who live in Utah were there with me that night as we sat by his bed and talked to him. I read him letters from loved ones and his missionaries. We talked about our favorite stories and jokes. We watched a few movies. The next day on Sunday morning, my siblings and I stood around him as he took his last breath. It was very healing to be with him at that moment when his spirit left his body to join my Mother. To hold his hand, give him a kiss, and thank him for being a wonderful Father. I couldn't have asked for more loving, kind, funny, vivacious, or faithful parents. They truly left an incredible legacy behind for us to follow. I can't wait to tell my children about them when their older. To show Cash pictures of him and his Grandpa. Explain to him how much Grandpa loved him. And what a good man he was. I miss him and my Mom so much. But I'm grateful for the time I had with them. Their impact will be felt for generations to come. I'll make sure of it. Now it's my time. My time to show them that their hard work, love, and faithful commitment has paid off. That I will continue their legacy of faith and so will my children. I have big shoes to fill, but shoes that I can't wait to get my feet into. I will be with them again soon. For now, it's my time to be the parent and fulfill my purpose here on earth. Til we meet again...

06/19/1936 - 08/22/2010

Philip Ray Brown of Sandy, Utah passed away peacefully in the comfort of his own home on August 22, 2010 after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 74 years old. Phil was born June 19, 1936, in Los Angeles, California to Joseph Albert and Elda Whiting Brown. Phil spent his childhood in his beloved St. Johns, AZ, where he worked on the family ranch, and forged life-long relationships with his brothers and sisters and his many relatives and friends. Upon completion of an LDS Mission in Brazil (1956-59), Phil married Antoinette Hatch of Colonia Juarez, Mexico for time and all eternity on December 20, 1960 in the Mesa, Arizona Temple. Together, they had 11 children and their greatest happiness was their 39 grandchildren. Phil graduated from Brigham Young University in 1961 with a B.A. in Animal Husbandry. A lifelong athlete and sports enthusiast, Phil was an avid fan of BYU Athletics. Phil worked hard his entire life, first as a rancher and farmer, later as the B.L.M. Chief Appraiser of Arizona, and finally as a specialist in the L.D.S. Missionary Department. Blessed with an inquisitive mind, Phil loved learning and teaching, and he devoted much of his life to studying the gospel of Jesus Christ. Quick with a joke and always ready to laugh first, Phil was the life of every party. He loved sharing his thousands of stories with friends and relatives, spending time with his children and grandchildren, watching Westerns, playing basketball, and reading. Always active in the LDS church, Phil held many church callings during his life, serving as a Missionary, Gospel Doctrine Instructor, Stake Mission Leader, Bishop, and Mission President. He shared the calling he enjoyed most with his wife Netta, when they presided over the Porto Portugal Mission from 1990 to 1993. The Phil Brown family shares their sense of loss with our extended family and friends, many faithful missionaries, and the wonderful church members of Portugal. Phil is survived by his 11 children. His 39 grandchildren will miss playing games and eating candy with their Grandpa Brown. The family wishes to thank all those who made Phil’s final years full of comfort, joy, and happiness. He is again united with his sweetheart, Netta.


Lindsy Hartsock said...

This is beautifully written Lex. I was really emotional reading it. I didn't have the honor of knowing your mom but I know your dad was such a sweet and kind man. His simple smile and kind hello's for sure impacted my life for the better. Love you Lex.

Lindsey said...

Well, I just cried through this whole thing! Your dad IS wonderful beyond words. As IS your mom. Beautiful to think of them reuniting. But, they sure were fun to have here too! Your dad will be greatly missed. He had a face that always made me happy to see. So nice that you decided to stay with him, I'm sure you'll be glad you did for the rest of your life.
Love you Lex!

Grammy and Papa Dan said...

From Dan & Nancy Fish. We knew your parents as we lived in the same Ward in Phoenix in 1968. We played co-ed volleyball with them and were always friends. It was a delight when we were able to join with your father on many of your volleyball trips when you and Lindsey played together. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Your Mother and Father were the best. Love the Fishes.

Trent and Kim said...

Lex, this is such a beautiful tribute to your parents and I am so glad you wrote about the last week you had with your dad. I didn't get to go to the funeral, but I feel like reading that was a goodbye for me. I will always smile when I think of him because he always made me laugh. There is no one else like Phil. You have such an amazing family because of your amazing parents. I love you so much and know that they are so proud of who you are and the choices you have made. Love you.

Lindsey said...

Lexi, I had no idea your dad had passed away. I'm so sorry to hear this. I'm so glad you got to be with him though. What a tremendous example. I can't believe in his suffering he still got on his knees to pray. That really touched me. Thanks for sharing your experience.