Archive for the ‘parent’ Category
Posted in acceptance, Chronic Lyme Disease, co-infections, home, hope, parent, son, spiritual growth, Tucson, unemployment, tagged blessings, faith, family, fatigue, Gratitude, health, inspiration, surrender on April 9, 2017| 1 Comment »
My friend shared with me that his beloved 12 year old pup suddenly passed away. This has been on my mind…
As a result, I am mindful of when I was 4 years old & living with my family in Michigan with my Doberman, Hans. I have vivid remarkable memories of Hans. He was a true Doberman Pinscher, as the breed is known for being, “Always Faithful”. He was a big boy – I remember the age I was standing eye to eye with him & then I grew to be a little taller. My father was a brilliant dog trainer & the original animal lover. And my big brother & I loved playing with Hans in our back yard in the winter snow & the summer grass. Quite often, as I dashed out our back door, my dad would hand me a small paper bag full of trash to toss out in the big metal can in our yard. Each time, Hans would hide behind the trash can & as I approached, suddenly Hans would leap out & he’d jump & hop around me with glee! I laughed till my sides hurt! I fell for this again & again as he continued to lovingly play his own brand of hide ‘n’ seek behind the big trash can. I never got my dad to admit if he taught Hans how to hide & tease me in this way. But what I do know is that when our family suddenly moved into a small apartment the summer of 1962, before I started kindergarten in California, sadly we did not bring Hans with us. I am unable to remember where my beloved play mate’s new home would be that day – but I do know Hans took a piece of my heart with him. I wonder if it is possible to fill that special void of the loss of a fine dog. Perhaps it is due to that lost love that we must freely give to every dog we see in our new life with out our faithful friend at our feet. I do know, that with out the great companionship of Hans, the unexpected fun & laughter, the feeling of being protected – I would never have experienced that great level of unconditional love & compassion – as my heart grew to realize I’d never see Hans again, I experienced a painful sense of loss at much too young of an age. Hans was one of my greatest teachers. Perhaps my first teacher. My memories of Hans are my strongest childhood memories of Michigan when I was only 3 & 4 years old.
My entire life since the summer I turned 5, when ever I see a Doberman, my joy filled heart gravitates towards him & I hear myself softly say,”Haaans! I remember you. Thank you for teaching me about unconditional love. I will love you forever, right back!” For I too, am “Always Faithful”.
Posted in Dad's throat cancer, home, hope, pain, parent, sober, spiritual growth, tagged alcoholism, blessings, California, faith, family, fatigue, Gratitude, health, inspiration, surrender, Tucson on October 21, 2014| 6 Comments »
Once I thought that I’d live in California forever. But I didn’t.
Once I thought that my dad would live forever. But he was not able to.
I never ever thought that I’d live in Tucson, surrounded by my father’s memories.
But suddenly, I do.
I’ve never known the depth of this grace.
I’ve never known this level of humbling fatherly love.
My gratitude is bottomless. My blessings quiet me.
My love is deep. Therefore my grief is deep.
I am a lucky girl because I am my father’s daughter.
I am just going through the motions day after day, missing my father immensely.
But it is with these motions that I will persevere & find my way & a new life.
Because this is how my father taught me to live.
Keep on pushing until I reach the top of the mountain.
It is June 11th once more – today is my son’s 29th birthday. The following is a re-post of the day of his (fast) birth… And today, during this time of grieving for his grandfather, it is a joy for me to celebrate the man who my son has become. After putting himself through night school for 2 years, my son received his MBA shortly after my father passed. Not only do I celebrate my father’s life – I also celebrate my son’s huge achievement and my excitement for him and his brilliant future. My son is my family. And what a blessed family I have…
Here’s the post I wrote 4 years ago, HAPPY DAY OF BIRTH, SON:
For many years on his birthday, I’ve called my son at 10:08AM – the time he was born. I get a kick out of being that kind of mom. 25 years ago I was only in labor for 3 hours. (Yes, I said three hours.) When we arrived at the hospital and got on the elevator, the contractions were so intense that I had to awkwardly squat down on my knees for fear I might fall from the pain. Some how I spoke through my agony as the elevator started to move, “Oh my God, this baby is ready to be born”, I gasped to my then husband. The people riding on the elevator with me did not say a word as the doors opened when we arrived on the maternity floor. A couple of people helped me up and off I waddled – on my way to give birth! My son was over due, ready, and starting to be born while I was still in the labor room (I’ll spare you the details) and by the time they finally wheeled me into the delivery room, Tyler was on his way! I noticed my doctor had not even arrived yet. “Where’s my doctor?!!” Needless to say, things were getting a little exciting during my speedy “FedEx” type of delivery and apparently I thought that was as good of a time as any to start screaming my head off. No, not like a woman in labor, but, perhaps like a woman who was witnessing a murder or something. At that exact moment, my doctor literally burst through the doors of the delivery room. He held his cloth face mask over his nose and mouth with his hand as the untied strings hung freely and touched his plaid shirt. As he was holding the face mask in place, I noticed he had on a beautiful, big artistic silver turquoise ring with a matching watch and band. Incredibly masculine. I felt relieved at the sight of my cool and hip doctor and stopped screaming as I got back to business and continued to push. To my dismay, my cool doctor started to scold me for screaming at the top of my lungs – he had heard me from down the hall. “Geeze. Well, where have you been?” I said to him. And then he started to explain how first babies usually don’t arrive so quickly while one of the nurses started tieing his face mask on for him while another helped him with his scrubs while I was pushing and pushing and . . . then . . . . silence . . . “It’s a boy!” More of that silence. (But he is lavender? Are they all like that? Lavender?) More silence followed by my son’s father crying and barely getting the words out, “I knew it was going to be a boy!” He looked at me and said, “Can I hold him first?” I nodded my head, “yes”.
The silence that was getting my attention was that my son was not crying, he didn’t even peep. Not a sound. It made me feel uneasy, I mean, after all, he was lavender too. I did not remember receiving a memo on lavender babies. “Is he ok?”
“Why isn’t he crying? Isn’t he supposed to cry?”
“You know what? I don’t think your son feels like crying. He is just fine. A fine, healthy baby boy.” I’ll never forget my doctor’s words.
Quiet new son Tyler was being held by his grateful sobbing new daddy.
And that is pretty much how my baby boy has been for most of his 25 years, incredibly mellow, cool, calm and collected. Totally together during any kind of confusion, chaos or stress that life can bring. He just has that kind of demeanor, along with an occasional joyous loud laugh that makes anyone want to laugh along with him.
Yep, amazing to think he was born 25 years ago. My son was born in 1985. I got divorced – as well as sober – in 1987. The odds were completely against me to make it on my own, let alone be a good sober mom. No child deserves a drunk parent. A drunk parent can change even the most mellow of kids. There is no reason or excuse to be drunk, especially when there is a solution and a joyful way of life to be found. It is always possible to find a solution, eventually.
My last drink was on August 1st, 1987. My 30th birthday. I was ready.
My blessings are abundant.
Posted in Dad's throat cancer, Fibromyalgia, home, hope, pain, parent, spiritual growth, tagged blessings, faith, family, fatigue, Gratitude, health, High Sierras, Tucson on June 8, 2014| 9 Comments »
I am forever eternally grateful that I listened to my heart and still was in Tucson, and not in LA, when my father suddenly took his last breath. Dad was my entire family on his side of the family. Gently, yet tightly, I held him as I looked at him with his perfect haircut he had just the day before. I carefully, gently, slid my hand underneath the back of his neck and shoulders so I could hold him for as long as I needed – no one would dare ask me to let go of my dad. I intuitively knew that he could still feel my love, protection and admiration. My tears, endless, as I softly spoke into his ear, “You did good Dad. I’m so sorry that you were sick. I understand that you were sick. You did good – please know that. Please know that I understand. Know you are incredibly brave, strong and sensitive to my feelings all in the same moment… I love you Dad… You did good. You did a good job raising me and my brother. You were the original full-time single dad and you did a good job on your own with out help. God is with us.”…. As I slowly lifted my head off of the crook of my father’s neck, one of my gigantic tears had dropped to the inside of my glasses. Ironically, my vision blurred. So hard to focus. To take it all in. The moment important. The pain unbearable. My dad so handsome. His features resembling my grandmother so much that, momentarily, it startled me.
My heart has been so painfully broken since that morning on February 20th, 2014, that I am worried that I will never be my self again. It has been 3 and a half months and it seems I have lost my true voice. The voice I hear is not the old Julie I once knew. I don’t like to talk on the phone. I don’t like to talk to people when I go out side. My body continues to decline from chronic pain and bone crushing fatigue.
What I especially don’t like or appreciate is, on the 9th day after my father passed and I saw him for the last time, I was coldly, cruelly and bluntly greeted with being told I must now get out of my home of 5 years. Who was this self-seeking self-loathing mean old woman who believes her own life of lies? The impostor drill sergeant stepping on landmines waiting to explode in the depth of her self imposed victim’s pot of poison – orders screamed with ugly eyes of misplaced rage and envy, a block of black ice where a heart never ever was to begin with. Was it blood that I witnessed dripping from the black crevices of her empty soul? A clearly planned betrayal with the absurd transparent demand to immediately give up my familiar surroundings upon my return from Tucson and to say good bye to my many neighbors who had become my supportive friends. I especially don’t like that I was forced to move away from my precious, precious little neighbor-friend Emma, who, once a week for 2 years, helped me with chores I had become physically unable to do myself.
I don’t like that the majority of my belongings, my few pieces of furniture, my comforting photographs, my old books of recovery I’ve read over & over for 27 years, sentimental knickknacks and all my clothes except for the suitcase I packed in my haste, are all in storage somewhere, I do not know where, but in Northern California somewhere, while I find myself suddenly living in my refuge, my safe haven, in my father’s guest room in Tucson Arizona. Along with my cat and my father’s 12 year old cat.
Now is the time. Now is the time that I have been given. The opportunity to find out just what I am made of. How deep does my courage run? How strong is my faith? Will my love and belief carry me though this time? Am I steadfast and true as I allow God to continue to lead my way? I continue to demand that my voice be heard. My vision is still as blurry as the morning my tear drop landed on the inside of my glasses as I leaned to hug & kiss my father goodbye…
I become mindful of my father’s words to me when I was a young teenager. We were back packing the switch backs up a particularly steep mountain in the High Sierras. I was looking up and feeling defeated as I was taken in by the gigantic mountain that was still in front of me. It was looking down on me, daring me to come closer. I did not like not knowing how much further I had to push myself before my father set up camp for the night. Exhausted I stopped and reached for my canteen that my father had hooked on my belt for me hours earlier. Being acutely aware, my father gently held my shoulders and said, “Turn around Julie, and see how far you’ve come.” As I turned, with my father’s hand guiding me, I looked down behind me at the path we had just climbed. I was overwhelmed by the dense beauty of the vast Sierra. The view before me was breathtaking and magnificent. And it felt good. I had done good and my father was able to prove it to me… Today I can turn around again, and see just how far I’ve come from LA. It was not in my best interest to remain in my home – because home is where the heart is. No heart to be found there. I do not need to double check this lesson from long ago. This stage of this journey of mine remains in God’s hands. And His plan is too brilliant for me to see right now. I look forward to that day when I will once more “turn around and see how far I’ve come”.
My father peacefully passed away 12 days ago. I have vivid dreams of him almost every night. While my grieving has been quite unbearable and I do not seem to have the energy to answer my phone – I am comforted to know that perhaps my father has finally found my brother. My dad would be so happy to see him again. . . I love you Dad. I know you promised that I will be happy again – but I just don’t think that it will be today. . . but maybe tomorrow. . .
Posted in Dad's throat cancer, Fibromyalgia, hope, pain, parent, sober, spiritual growth, tagged alcoholism, blessings, faith, family, fatigue, Gratitude, health, inspiration, love, recovery, Tucson on January 3, 2014| 4 Comments »
I’ve been staying in Tucson longer than I originally anticipated. 9 weeks ago I arrived with endless hope and energy. As today comes to a close I feel the weight of endless sadness – reckless sleeping has pushed down my weary shoulders and clouded my eyesight. I am amazed at the amount of tears that continue to fall many times a day. I duck into an empty bathroom or I sit in my car, or suddenly I can not hold myself up as I am standing alone washing the dishes in my father’s empty home.
Is this the way life is now? I am unable to see out. Suffering from serious sleep deprivation as I make endless decisions for my father’s care. I find myself with the suprising and distracting task of convincing caregivers that my father is in their facility to recover from throat cancer and chemo – not die – recover! I have learned the hard way that because my father is quite thin and is on a feeding tube many false assumptions have been made. My hope and faith is tested as I take someone aside to explain that my father is already a miracle! can’t you see that he is walking unassisted?! He was in a wheelchair only 2 months ago. PLUS he has gained 7 pounds since he went on that feeding tube. I am quite clear on my hope. I am quite clear I am spreading a positive force of healing thoughts. I am quite clear as I share my admiration for my father’s unwavering determination. Yes, his confusion is heart breaking – however – he is tenacious and healing!
Caregivers giggle when he makes a face like a frog with a wide turned down mouth. Then he makes a face like a fish and puckers up. “Ga. Ga. Ga!” he says with his broken raspy voice. “Ka – ka – ka!” He says with a sly smile and wink. “Wow! Good ones Dad! You’re really improving! Keep up the good work!” I tell him with a gentle hug. “Your throat exercises are making a big difference Dad! I can tell. I just know it to be true. I catch a couple caregivers tilt their head with sudden understanding. They ask questions. So my father teaches them what he is doing to rebuild his throat muscles. The tumors that were at the top of his throat and airway are gone now. He speaks highly of both his oncologist as well as his Speech Pathologist who visits him on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Yes, it is another day in the life with surviving throat cancer. But the good news is, my father’s hard work, combined with hope and my private tears and prayer is paying off in baby steps. The Speech Pathologist gave him 3 sips of water yesterday and then 3 sips of apple juice. He did not cough. He did not choke. He swallowed – he drank them. It was magnificent.
And the best news of all is that my father’s alma mater, Michigan State, won the Rose Bowl. All we can do is the very best we can do. Half measures avail us nothing. It’s another blessed day in Tucson. It is the recovery that comes from hope. Tears are allowed with hope. Confusion is allowed with hope. Sleepless lonely nights in an empty house can still have hope and blessings in every corner.