I’m not so sure my dad isn’t lurking about, keeping an eye on me.
I had a weird experience as I was getting ready to go somewhere last week, when a can of shaving cream that hadn’t been touched suddenly started spewing forth its contents for no obvious reason.
Then, I was lying in bed Monday night, thinking about how I didn’t know anything about Dad’s time in the U.S. Coast Guard, and how I’d like to learn more about it. I decided I’d start poking around NARA to see what I could get in the way of records, as soon as I’m finished with school for the summer. The next morning, my stepmom called me to ask if I could look up how to obtain a copy of my dad’s discharge papers from the Coast Guard, as she’d been told that we could get a plaque for his headstone–and possibly a burial benefit to help defray the cost of his funeral, too. So, I ended up poking around NARA that day on my lunch hour.
My stepmom called me again a couple days later, to ask for my help with contacting Social Security. She and I have had some nice talks this week. It feels as though he has a hand in that as well.
I wish he’d help me figure out what to do about the slow bathtub drain issue we’re dealing with. Something besides me having a dream that we have a second bathroom with a shower that still works. Talk about waking up depressed!
His funeral was one week ago today.
My dad turned 78 on April 2nd. I spoke with him before he left for a “regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment.” He sounded better than I’d heard in a while. I told him I’d try to be out to see him, but he was pretty understanding that this was a busy time for me. Between homework and the upcoming ACRL conference, I haven’t had a lot of free time.
Early the next morning, just after I arrived at work, my cell phone rang and my stepsister’s number displayed on the caller ID. I figured she was finally getting around to calling me back about a hair appointment. But the voice on the other end belonged to my stepmom. “Your dad is gone,” she said, choking back sobs.
He had COPD for years, not being able to quit smoking until it was far too late. He’d fallen the night before, twice. Life squad came out both times. He refused to go to the hospital the first time, but the second time they transported him. I woke up at 1:30 a.m. that night/morning, wide awake for no reason. That was probably around the time they were getting to the hospital. They ran tests. And just after 7 a.m., as my stepmom was helping him back into bed after a trip to the bathroom, he coded.
And then he was gone.
I spent the next several days in a fog, with a weight on my chest that threatened to crush me. I had forgotten how much this hurts. It’s been nearly 18 years since I lost my husband. Apparently, time does heal all wounds. I moved forward with life then and good things happened. In that spirit, I came to ACRL. I presented my poster. Good things happened. All signs point to being OK.
Today, however, we head back home and to the reality that comes with it. The hard part is just starting.
I blinked and my babies turned into full grown men. They moved out and moved on to their own adventures and I considered The Great Parenting Experiment to be a success.
It didn’t happen overnight, obviously. There were many, many milestone moments along the way. First steps, birthday parties, kindergarten, choir concerts, school plays, cross country meets, baseball games, sports banquets, first jobs, driver’s licenses… high school graduation. The lump in my throat grew exponentially larger with each of those moments as we grew closer to the day when they would leave home for the last time.
Knowing their dad isn’t here to see it all unfold only makes it harder to fight back those tears, the bittersweet mixture of happy-you’ve-turned-out-so-well and no-no-I-won’t-let-go-of-you-ever.
JM proposed to his girlfriend last week and she said yes. I’m thrilled, of course. I like his fiancee a lot. I knew she was the one as soon as I learned they were dating, actually, because it had been several weeks and I hadn’t heard a single thing about her. JM generally started griping about whomever he was dating within two weeks. Eighteen months later, I’ve not heard one negative thing.
Yes, of course, I’m thrilled. I’m gaining a daughter, after all. A lovely addition to the family, that his dad will never meet. That part hurts.
And yes, I know it looks like I’m crying, but I’m really not.
I’m just trying not to blink.
Life hasn’t been too kind to people around me lately. Family members have lost family members. Friends are dealing with relatives’ illnesses. And let’s not even get started on Mother Nature’s shenanigans on the east coast.
Last week, Tamoxifen started playing its evil tricks on me again. The physical symptoms are bad enough, but the emotional side effects are exhausting. I cry at the drop of a hat. I was so looking forward to turning in my paper and enjoying the month off. Instead, I’m dealing with depression and irritability, and the only way out is right through it.
Things came to a head the other day when I logged into my blog feed reader and discovered a new post on the blog of S, the gentleman I met at my last chemo treatment. I talked about S a while back, when he’d posted that his latest round of chemo hadn’t worked. He and his doctors continued to look for other options, though, and every time he posted, I was always struck by how honest he was about his disease, but how willing he was to continue fighting with all his might.
Just before Thanksgiving, S posted that he was dealing with some pretty nasty side effects, but was approaching the “feel good” stage in between treatment rounds. He’d brought some of his art supplies into the house from his studio and was feeling creative. It sounded promising.
This latest post was from his wife. S passed away on December 3rd. She wrote a beautiful tribute to him that broke my heart. I’m trying to work up the courage to write to her. Having been on both sides of this battle now, I still believe it’s harder to be the caregiver than the patient. But I admit my perspective might be skewed–especially this week.
I have no way of ending this post. I just hope that life gets a little easier for everyone soon.
My BFF Kimmer is 32 years old today!
There are days when it’s just better to say nothing. Today was one of those days. It’s after midnight, so technically I’ve missed a day. When I’m up to explaining, I think you’ll understand. Until then…
The one thing I touched today that didn’t turn to s**t.
This was basically a test to see if I could post to the blog from my phone. Guess what? I can! But I wasn’t kidding about this being the only thing that’s worked today. I had the best of intentions when I woke up this morning, free of pesky obligations such as homework.
The Boyfriend and I brought up all the boxes of Christmas decorations last night and my plan was to:
- Start a load of laundry
- Make coffee, feed the
brats cats and load the dishwasher
- Make a batch of Chocolate Crinkles cookie dough
- Start the dishwasher, check Facebook while drinking my first cup of coffee
- Start decorating the house
- Start baking the cookies after the dishwasher finished running
It was going to be a great day. The Boyfriend would leave to go watch football at 1 p.m. and the house would be mine. By the time he returned home, the house would be decorated, the tree would be up and it would smell like fresh baked cookies. Mmmmm…
Everything went swimmingly well… I had to do a bit of dusting and vacuuming before I could put the tree in its corner and I had to set some things aside for The Boyfriend to haul upstairs. I was just starting to get my prelit tree out of the box when he went outside to move my car so he could get his truck out of the driveway. He was out there for a while. Gracie wasn’t starting.
I noticed on Friday morning that starting was a bit of an issue. I assumed that it was because The Boyfriend had moved it in the middle of the night and the temperature was below freezing. When he leaves for band practice, he’ll park my car in the driveway of the house next door and move it back after he comes home. Gracie started on the second try and when I got to work, everything seemed OK. She was sluggish again yesterday when we first headed out to run some errands, but seemed fine by the time we made our last stop. Then this afternoon, nothing.
Fortunately, I just renewed my membership to Triple A and had them come tow her to my mechanic, free of charge.
The Boyfriend headed off to watch football. I finished setting up the tree, only to discover that the top three strings of lights are no longer working. And I have no idea why. I’ve checked all the bulbs. I’ve tested the fuses. They just. don’t. work. And of course I have no replacement strings. Well, I do, but not enough. Also, I need white lights for my tree. It’s just not right with anything else. Colored lights are fine for YOUR tree. Just not mine.
I’d have gone on a Target run to get more, but… oh, riiiiiight. I have no freaking car.
I’m just thankful the damn oven didn’t blow up on me when I turned it on to bake cookies.
I was a freshman in high school. I was lying in bed in the dark, listening to WIOT the way I did every night before I fell asleep. In between songs, the DJ announced that there was a report John Lennon had been shot and taken to the hospital. That was all they knew at that moment. The music resumed, but then the DJ came back and said, “John Lennon has died.”
My two closest friends and I were crushed. Looking back, it wasn’t just that Lennon was killed. I think that up until that moment, we were still relatively innocent and naive to the ways of the world. That was the night I realized that evil resides in the world. Life was never quite the same after that moment.
The Boyfriend and I have been, on a fairly regular basis, heading to one of our local metroparks and taking a two mile hike, when weather permits. The park that we visit is gorgeous. On any given day, we manage to see at least three deer and usually more. Thanksgiving turned out to be gorgeous and dinner wasn’t until 7 p.m., so we headed out for an afternoon walk. We arrived just in time to see a herd of deer hanging out by the creek–including a fawn frolicking in the water. It was adorable.
We try to get out there once a week, at least. There are a good number of people that walk out there and several groups of runners. The people are generally super friendly. Actually, on the days I’ve been out there without The Boyfriend (translation: EARLY IN THE MORNING), the people are typically even friendlier. But usually, those of us who pass each other on the path say hello.
Every week, it seems, we encounter someone getting family photos taken. They are generally not amused about the fact that people are traipsing through their memorable moments. They seem to be quite unaware of the beauty of their surroundings.
It makes me wonder how many of them actually visit the park on a day when they’re not hanging out with a photographer. I would scold them, but it took me 40 some years before I ventured into this park for the first time, and another five before I started doing so regularly.
The park is definitely a gorgeous setting for family photos; there’s no doubt about it. But I hope those who use it for that reason realize that there’s so much more to it than just a scenic backdrop.
Then again, if too many people start going, it’ll just piss me off. So, on second thought… take your pictures and go home!
The Boyfriend is downstairs playing “Taps.” On a trumpet.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t know The Boyfriend knew how to play the trumpet.