Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Year

The past few weeks have flown by. Not really much is different, except for this ache I have in my heart for my Dad. And suddenly I am MUCH more attached to my husband and son. Last night I had a horrible dream about my Dad and I woke up crying. All I could do was hold my husband tight. I didn't want to let go of him for fear my dream would come true. It was unreasonable, and yet it felt so real. My rational self knows the pain will lessen over time.

I am also highly interested in the paranormal now. I was always a believer, or at least someone who wanted to believe but I needed proof. I am not sure I need proof anymore. I want so desperately to believe that something exists beyond this life. Not just for my Dad but for me. Of course my Dad is first in my mind. This is hitting harder than any of my grandparents dying. Wonder why?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What Two Weeks Bring

It's been two weeks since my beloved Daddy passed on. The past two weeks have been filled with tears, pain, laughter, joy, and heartbreak. My 6 siblings and I have bonded to try to fill the void left in our lives. The most important thing in my mind is to make sure my Mom has company and is not feeling the pain of loneliness. I cannot stand the thought that she would have to be all alone after 47 years of marriage to my Dad. They forged a life together that few succeed in building. My own view of my marriage is based on theirs. If I can be half as successful, I know that I have a strong and committed marriage. My son and I have spent time with Mom to make sure she knows that she is not alone in all this. He has brought her joy and he has helped her to laugh.

My siblings and I have also forged a new bond. We are really doing all we can to keep together as my father would want. He was always about family and always about his kids. That is what was magical about our family and how we grew up. To honor our father, we are sharing 72 memories of my father - one per day, for each year of his life. It is such a blessing to be able to read what my siblings have been sharing. It is also giving us a way to share and remember Dad as he wanted to be remembered; Full of life, never compromising, loving and bigger than life.

To further share, I wanted to post about things I learned from my Daddy:

1. Respect all living things. My father loved animals, babies, and people. He would not stand for us having any intolerance or being cruel in any way.

2. Obey the Rules. Growing up, we had plenty of rules, but the ones Dad most wanted us to follow were those set forth by the law and society. One time I picked a crab apple from someone's tree and Dad made me walk back and apologize for stealing. It was a lesson for sure.

3. Love is endless. Despite the fact that loved ones have passed on, Dad always made sure we knew that it was possible to love them. He also made sure we always knew of his love even if we didn't see eye to eye.

4. Family means everything. No matter what happened in our lives, Dad was always there. Shows, games, whenever and whatever we needed he tried to give us. Even when we were dirt poor, we would take family trips and spend that time together. Because of that, I cherish family trips today.

5. Only God knows the outcome. When Dad first got sick, I was devastated. I sat and held his hand in the hospital and told him I would use all my strength to help him fight it. He gently reminded me that I cannot control it any more than he could. Only God knew what was going to happen so it was important to live each day to the fullest. His calmness helped calm me down as he faced his own mortality.

6. Do not fret over what you cannot control. Goes with #5. Since we cannot control the outcome, there is no need to lose sleep or waste energy on it. Dad took what came his way and just dealt with it the way he knew how. His strength of character is what I loved the most during this time.

7. Be slow to anger, but get angry when you need to. Dad would get angry. Boy would he get angry! But he never got angry for no reason. He always had a reason, and it was usually justified. I didn't always think so, but looking back I realize that he had to be pushed and when he was, he pushed back. My Dad also would get angry about things that he didn't like that local government would do. After his retirement, he was a constant fixture at the township and school board meetings, making sure his voice was heard. I admire him so for this.

8. Honesty and integrity are more important than money. Dad had an awesome work ethic. He would go to work early, never be in a rush to leave, and would pay special care to what he produced. He told us it didn't matter how much money we made in life, just that we made a difference in what we did, no matter what it was.

9. Be the first to arrive and the last to leave at work. Again, Dad's work ethic was second to none. He would sometime complain about the "younger" people not being as diligent. When he became shop steward, he tried to show the team that he was as good as his word. Dad also was on time, arriving 30 mintues before work so he could spend time drinking his coffee and reading his paper. He would leave after everyone else, making sure everything was done correctly.

10. Success is a happy family. Dad's greatest joy and pride was his family. Even if we didn't have the best job or make the most money, he made sure we understood that it was family that would give us our greatest source of love and support. Towards the end, he wanted nothing but time together as a family. He wanted to be together, laughing and loving, and we did that for him.

We were also all there at the end. Huddled around his hospital bed, 14 people crammed into an ICU room, telling him that we loved him and that we would continue his legacy of love. We each took turns saying goodbye, holding his hand, telling him it was ok to go. My own words seemed hollow in my ears, but I could not let him leave this earth without telling him how much he meant to me. And I sang to him. One of the things Dad was proud of in me was my singing. I haven't really allowed myself to sing for many years, but I felt compelled to sing one last song to him as he struggled to let go:

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dew fall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

With Love

Rest In Peace Daddy
9/4/1939 - 12/3/2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Honesty and RAGE

My darling and precious father is dying.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In Which Life Throws A Curveball

In the past few weeks, life has been rather challenging. I messed up my finances and have been trying to get back to where I can feel that I am able to stay solvent. The Kid is having issues with MFE again (big surprise). My depression has been on the swing again which means I need to get back to the doctor and get a new dose.

Then, this happens.

Back in August, my father was diagnosed with a dreaded disease. Starts with C and rhymes with Prancer. He had surgery in which they removed a huge tumor. I will spare you the gory details, but it wasn't pretty and they had to remove a section of his colon and bowel. It was diagnosed as Stage 4, then downgraded to Stage 3. After weeks in the hospital, he was released and slowly started to recover. He attended chemo and it looked like things were going to settle down for at least a little while.

Then, Dad started to not feel well around Thanksgiving. He missed our Thanksgiving family dinner for the first time ever that I can remember, and was generally lethargic and had diarrhea. He tried to stay hydrated but was unable to eat and unable to sleep due to the constant up and down. He also started having issues with the edema in his legs. By Monday, his doctor told him to go the ER to have his electrolytes checked and to get some fluids. They did a CT scan and found an obstruction in his bowel. By Tuesday, he was taken to surgery for another operation and to remove what turned out to be another tumor. This time, the doctor couldn't get it all and had to close up the colon. The results were not completely unexpected, just so sudden. This tumor grew quickly from nothing in 3 months. Not a good sign.

Right now, Dad is in ICU and will probably be there for a few days before being moved to another room. He is a fighter, but at 72, I worry about his mental place as much as his physical. If he is not willing to keep fighting because of pain, aggravation or whatever, then I know he will not be with us much longer.

I realized last night how very selfish I had been in the past few weeks. Like a ostrich with its head in the sand, I expected him to fight, fix it, and get better. I also didn't do all I could to reach out and try to be with him more. I can only do what I can to spend as much time with him now.

I also realized that I have to be strong for him, my mom (who is not dealing well), for my son and my family. We are all going to have challenges dealing with this latest development and I have to be sure I am in tune to them so that I don't become mired in drama and self pity.

My Dad has always been my hero. I think it's time to step up and try to be his.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Did He Really Just Say That?

So, for the past two weeks, The Kid has been going back and forth with his feelings about his bio dad. He struggles daily to come to terms with the fact that the man just can't relate to him on his level. However, the past week has been rather smooth sailing. I thought it was odd, after all the anger and pain, that my son is suddenly happy with his relationship with the ex. He wants to spend time with him, wants to go to his house, and wants to spend a holiday with him. What I think is happening (and I may just be a bit unfair here) is that the ex is giving him what he wants and what child wouldn't like that? The Kid's birthday just passed, and of course the ex had to promise him the world. He gave him a party with lots of cool presents. Then, he said he would get The Kid the game he has been wanting. Finally, the ex is getting married (poor woman has NO idea what she is doing, obviously) and my son is in the wedding. This makes my son happy and feel important. So of course he is I don't trust this. I have been down this road too many times to believe that things are really changing. I think the ex is playing to The Kid to keep him happy so he'll be in the wedding. I also think the ex will soon be back to his old ways. Call it intuition, fear, or even experience, but I know that the ex cannot change. No matter how much he wants to. And the fact that when the ex called me for help and his mom and fiance did all the talking pointed out that he simply is not capable of being anything other than what he is.

Now for the kicker. Tonight, The Kid told me that he would rather be with the ex for Thanksgiving. The ex gave him a choice. The reason he wants to go with the ex? "Because he'll feed me." What the hell does that mean? I don't feed him? No, it means that the ex and his mom will make the kid anything he wants to eat rather than make him eat what is on the table. Nice, huh? So now I am the crappy mom because I am enforcing the rules, giving him structure, and making him grow. The ex is the hero because he caters to The Kid and gives him whatever he wants. Carnival Dad wins. I haz a sad face.

And I don't have my boy with me for Thanksgiving. Pardon me while I go cry in the corner.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Changes in 24 hours

Well, things are going to pass with my friend. I'm not sure she 100% believes me, but I know she is not going to end our friendship over it. I'm happy to have an opportunity to prove that I am not doing the things I did pre-meds.

On another note, I am now struggling with my lack of relationships in general. One thing this event highlighted for me is that I do not have good relationships with certain people. My friend doesn't trust me due to things I did when I was manic. My one brother is not really talking to me either for the same reason. The sad thing is, the more they pulled away when I was manic, the more it highlighted that I was losing them and I would get further manic and depressed. It was crazy. Now that I am on meds, I am happier. I still need to find a full time therapist. I had gone to one appointment with someone near my work, but it didn't pan out. I have to do my homework and get another one. I think it's important to get things out and get some real working advice. That's going to be my next concentration.

So, hopefully things will work out. But in the meantime, I'm just going to take it day by day...