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Posts Tagged ‘love’

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?”

“Yes!”

“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.

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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.Tucson Sunset

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20110507 missing oak tree

I refuse to react.

I refuse to participate on any level with a bully.

I refuse to allow anyone or anything distract my father from his continued comfort, peace and healing.

Only God will guide me in my decision making.

I am strong. I am tall. I am clever. I am tenacious.

Perhaps I am a daddy’s girl after all.

 

 

 

 

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cloud streetWhile my father was resting at the skilled living center as his feeding tube gradually, gently allowed nutrients back into his dehydrated body, my gentleman friend and I went on errands for supplies.  I was grateful to have his hand to hold. . . My body buzzing with anxiety – my mind fuzzy with a horrific sence of urgency – my vision blurry as if someone rubbed vaseline petroleum jelly around the edges of my glasses. . . Clearly it was a good thing I was the passenger and not the driver.

As we drove down the empty road and the sky was jam packed with fluffy Arizona clouds, the GPS seemed to be confusing our sence of direction as we did our best to navigate around Tucson so I could get a couple items for Dad.

“. . . Point 5 miles U-turn . . .”  the automated female robot voice said.

Following directions – we did a U-turn.

” . . . Point 5 miles U-turn . . .” the GPS said to us once more.

“What?!  Seriously?! Stop it!”  Clearly the the gosh darn GPS was more turned around than we were.

“Turn that thing off!”  We said in unison like Bose stereo speakers.

Instantaneously we burst into laughter!  Beautiful, beautiful laughter. My gawd it felt good – a moment in a day where my tears were endless and my heart was broken due to my fear of the unknown with my Dad’s health status.  Our sweet and sudden laughter created a tiny crack in my overwhelming fear and my hope rushed in – as if the laughter had broken a dam of despair.

My father’s strong spirit is inside of his frail body.  And with his whisper of a shredded voice, he softly stated, as if it was a typical Sunday afternoon, “I want to play golf again.”

My father is working with all his might every moment to regain his health. So the least I can do is remain hopeful and carry my faith with all my might.  Together we can do this.  My family is small – but we are mighty.

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Like a man stranded on an island – my father has not had solid food for almost 8 weeks. His determination and stubbornness has gotten him past the last chemo/radiation therapy. Not only is he 85 years old – he still has hung on to his beautiful gray hair during chemo.  However, his little body has become quite weary and disoriented. I am not able to say out loud the amount of weight he has lost.

The thing is – I have no doubt in my mind that he will improve.  I expect it of him. Is this unfair?  Is this unrealistic?  Who is to say.  It is just something I know in my heart.  Like when someone feels lucky in Vegas – I’m feeling lucky in Tucson.

After an extremely long day today – visiting dad, fixing a couple of things at his house, plus taking care of his health care business – he was transported from the ICU to a Skilled Living Facility.  He was exhausted and while he slept starting around 6:30pm for many hours, I peacefully, quietly, sat directly in front of my father for the majority of the evening.  It was quite an experience for me, standing guard as I shared with every new nurse, caregiver and CNA that happened into his clean, light blue room…

Softly I spoke, “Hi. I’m Julie and this is my Dad.  He just finished cancer treatment for his throat.”

The team hooked him up with his new feeding tube.  Real nutrients were starting to gently drip directly into his tummy.  Thin. Small. Frail.  None of this matters because I felt his spirit, even though at rest now, was, larger than life.  Strong. Determined. Stubborn. Ornery.  Yet, still a sweet generous man.

And my dear gentleman friend.  My new defensive blocker of some of the extra challenging people in front of me, had just brought me some food and coffee.  I felt a little guilty chowing down in front of my father as he slept.  My gratitude was fresh and filling the room.  Then bam… once again I felt my own body was not pleased with my pushing myself to the limit one more day.  My feet burning like frost bite from the Fibromyalgia.  It was time for me to put myself to bed.  Can not help my dad unless I help myself.  Time to go….. But I did not want him to wake up and not know where he was.  So I wrote a sign on a piece of paper in big perfect letters and left it next to his bed:

Sunday night

Dad,

We transported you to an After Care Facility in Tucson.

It’s good!   🙂

We will see you soon.  

Love, Julie

It feels good to do the right thing.  Even if it brings a few tears. Because I know that I am lucky to be given this opportunity.  Another life lesson in the making.

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I am thankful for positive words when I needed them immensely…

You are beautifulI am thankful for having a trusted (handsome) friend to lean on…

darrell & me  07.2013

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26th spiritual birthday coffee mug

26th spiritual birthday coffee mug


So far, I have been sober since 1987. 3 weeks ago, on August 2nd, it was my 26th spiritual birthday. I've made the mistake of believing that I am undeserving of a celebration this year. I admit that it took a while, but, thankfully I remember that the "celebration" of sobriety is in the sobriety itself. My sobriety is not a celebration of my many "accomplishments" this year, or any other year. Sobriety is not a celebration of the ego. And this year has been quite humbling.

I have found myself in survival mode. Some days taking it one hour at a time, not to stay sober, like I did long ago, but to endure this horrific pain that engulfs my body. Today was one of the many days where every hour I asked myself, "Can I live with this pain and debilitating fatigue one more hour?" Magically, the answer is always, "yes".

Because I have a foundation of sobriety – I get to learn that I am my spirit, not my body. I get to learn how blessed I am to have a roof over my head. Yes, it bothers me greatly that I have not received a paycheck for one year and 7 months – however – I am able to see past that and see the important blessings of good neighbors that help me and good friends that check in on me and visit, bring food, and surround me with unconditional love. I am not forgotten as I am held up in my quiet sanctuary. The blessing is that I get the opportunity to receive love that has no boundaries when I secretly feel that I have nothing to offer in return.

I am a willing student as I learn this very well could be one of my most important years for my spiritual growth. I am grateful to see that the celebration here, as quiet as it may be, is for God. The one that keeps me sober while I am finding my way. The one that is showing me that it is time to accept a deeper level of love. A simple life can still be a powerful life with purpose.

It is God that I quietly celebrate. For He has brought me to this 26th year of sobriety. I have faith that God, under any conditions, still has big and fulfilling plans for me.

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