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5/23/18 am

When is rains it pours, you know? A busted motor sensor on my treadmill has forced me outside for my daily walk. Because I really needed one more thing to deal with. The neighborhood behind our condo complex is quiet. This early morning is cold, breezy, and the birds are super active. I’m underdressed, but the chill is welcomed. This school district still has two more weeks left in their school year, in another hour I will be dodging minivans, strollers, and frazzled moms.

My dad passed away about 24 hours ago. The world hasn’t changed much in that time, but I know I am forever changed. He went quietly after a final deep breath. I went over after mom called me to be with her, and to see my dad. He’ll be cremated this week, we’ll do a celebration of life in a month or so. No rush. Mom is s planner.

The house feels weirdly empty. It is way too big for just mom to be there now. I expect that she’ll be ready to start cleaning the place out this summer. She wants to take a year before she moves, but the house is big, they lived there for nearly 30 years, there’s a lot of books and crannies to go though.

When mom called me yesterday, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I cried a little. After the cremation company picked up dad, my mom and I put the room back together. We put the medical supplies aside to be picked up. I helped make some additional phone calls to friends. I talked to some people I hadn’t seen or heard from in years. It was comforting and sad at the same time. Life is short, time passes too fast.

Mom sent me home, we decided to do dinner at Red Lobster in honor of dad, so I ran some errands, went home to get Coach. We laughed at dinner. Mom insisted we get cocktails to toast dad. It was honestly very nice.

Today is a new day and we start from a new place. I have one client this morning, and then I get the rest of the day to myself. I’m waiting now for my new reality to set in. Which it may never. But my grief is here. I’m not one to wallow, but I will go through my process. I’m grateful for the friendships I’ve cultivated that have been so understanding as I get through.

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5/19/18 am

My dad is still here. He’s been unresponsive and just sleeping since early Monday morning. This is getting to be extremely emotionally taxing. Mom was reading to me about “fear of death” and “unresolved issues” and how both these things can literally leave a person in limbo as they attempt to transition from life to death. We both believe strongly that this is where my dad is. We both know that he had plenty of things left unsaid that he has been afraid of dying since his original cancer diagnosis in January of 2017. So here he is. Stuck. His body will give out eventually. I just don’t know that I can wait another week.

His being stuck has left all of us on a hiatus in our grieving process. If anything though, I am learning that we can’t leave things unsettled in our lives. We have to speak our piece, we have to follow our hearts, we have to apologize and forgive, and we have to live our truest version of ourselves. Apparently my dad couldn’t do this. I hope he finds peace in his eventual death.

I actually canceled some appointments yesterday and today. I couldn’t take it. I had to. I’m unfocused. My patience is low. I’m distracted. I’m trying to move forward, but I’m stuck too. I’m just waiting. My tears are waiting. My life is waiting. My future is waiting. My grief too, is waiting.

5/13/18 Morning Thoughts

I have this weird anticipation of the unknown going on. What’s my life going to be like after dad is gone? How does it change? Why won’t I or my life be the same again?

So many questions.

Watching him in his hospital bed, in a room that we spent our childhoods watching movies with our friends, struggling to find the correct words, knowing that half the things he is saying aren’t making sense, it makes me so sad. He knows people are visiting to say goodbye. It breaks my heart wide open. He’s telling me how much he loves me and that he’s grateful for all I’m doing for him.

Today is Mother’s Day. In a month it will be Father’s Day. He likely will be gone by then. Tomorrow is my parent’s 41st wedding anniversary.

My mom’s grace is blowing me away. Her strength is formidable. She keeps talking about looking forward, keeping joy in her heart, and being so glad to have me and my brother. She’s grateful for the home she and dad built. That my dad’s hard work has created a place where we were a family together and that he can now come to the end of his life in this same space.

Someday this will get easier. Today isn’t that day.

5/9/18

My dad starts hospice tomorrow. He will be at home, at my parents house. He knows and understands that it is because of the cancer. This. Is. So. Hard. I’m grateful for our friends and support system.

I’m a little at a loss today. I need to go to bed, I need to clean my house. I need to breathe. I have nothing left undone or unsaid with my dad. He can go from this planet. He can be pain free. I’m so horribly sad that his time is coming to a close, but he led a full life. He left his mark on so many. He is loved. He will live on in spirit. I know he wanted more time, but this was the card he was dealt, and he has put up such a fight. He’ll be surrounded by loved ones. He’s not doing this part alone.

It’s almost surreal that we are at this point. It’s reality. I’m grasping that. Doesn’t make it any easier, but I can wrap my brain around that.

5/7/18

My dad is getting moved to hospice this week. I know what this means and although I have been preparing for this, it’s really not something you are ready for. I’ve been going and sitting with my dad at the hospital, just like I have been doing since the first time he got sick last year. His cancer is taking him. It is spreading and it is increasingly painful.

I am incredibly grateful for this man. I’m grateful for the stories he has shared with me and the parts of his life I’ve gotten to know about. I’m deeply saddened for all the things he’s going to miss that I know he wanted to be part of. I just don’t want him to be in pain anymore. He seems like he’s ready. He’s not eating, he’s not drinking. He has moments of clarity and moments of being confused. He can still call me by my nickname and tell me that he loves me.

My tears haven’t come yet. My full experience of the loss isn’t setting in but I know it’s coming. I expect that by the weekend I will be clearing my schedule for next week. Dad has been given 7-10 days. It could be sooner. Could be later. People will start coming from out of town.

A light will blink out. And I will never be the same.

5/2/18

Current vibes: A quiet spring morning alone with my cats and a cup of coffee. This I am grateful for. I can sit here in quiet reflection for the first time a week and really wrap my brain around what is going on. My dad has cancer now in his liver. They are hoping to do chemo if he can get a little stronger in PT. If he does go ahead and do the chemo that will buy us more time with him, but ultimately, this could be the beginning of the end.

I hate using that term. It sounds so awful because it is. I don’t want to be in denial of what the reality is, but I also don’t want to be all like “my dad is dying”.

My emotions are all over the place. I want to continue to do the things I normally would be doing this time of year. Which is celebrating all these May birthdays that we have in our social circle. (I am one of two Sagittarius’s in a sea of Aries and Tauruses.) I can barely get myself off the couch when I come home. I’ve gotten some much needed gardening done, I’m keeping busy at work, but my reality is that I’m exhausted at the end of the day and that the things I’m carrying inside my heart need to expressed. I’m tired because my emotions are taxing.

Coach wants to go the beach Sunday for his birthday and I need that so badly. I’m sure mom will agree that it is okay to go. I’m still struggling with the idea that it will be okay to be that far from dad, but he’s stable and he won’t die anytime soon.

My friends have been incredibly supportive through the last two months. That makes this easier. Margie was even up at the hospital with my parents yesterday on her lunch break. I’m so glad that they feel comfortable enough to have her there with them. She understands though. A survivor herself, she’s been there.

I really hate cancer. I don’t hate a lot of things but i hate cancer. I hate that so many people are touched by it and that so many incredible people are taken so soon and sometimes too suddenly. I don’t understand why there isn’t a cure. Not a quick fix, but at least a cure. I talk to people, clients, my loved ones, and we all know someone that was just diagnosed, battling, just lost the fight. It’s not right. I wonder how many people I will end up losing over my lifetime to cancer. It seems inevitable that some of us will go this way. It seems more common. That’s so sad. And awful. Can’t the world do better?

My goals right now are to take care of myself and keep working. Staying busy. Being available to my mom. I’m honestly tempted to offer to move back home whenever dad gets to go back to the house. Just so mom can have another person there. I know Coach would rather I was here, but I feel like mom could use the support, and it would be easier if I wasn’t on the other side of town. Maybe I’m jumping too far ahead. But again, my heart and brain are racing round with so many thoughts. At least some of them are out now. I do feel lighter.

4/26/18

I’m sorry. I went MIA. There’s been so many things and so many feels. I’ve been overwhelmed. Frankly, not writing everyday didn’t help me. This is an excellent processing outlet.

Dad is a rehab facility and turned 70 years old tomorrow. After some really hard days we are seeing some light in the tunnel. Thank goodness.

Today I did a lot of listening. Lots of talking too, but there was so much to hear. I’m surrounded by incredible people.

Today I am grateful for:

1) support.

2) friendly spaces.

3) freedom to be honest when the soul needs to purge.

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