Archive for the ‘death’ Category

birthday tears

Here I am again, trying to write. Again, Dad is on my mind. His birthday is tomorrow, he would be turning 65. Sixty five! Such a landmark joyous age, you worked your whole life, saved (he did great at that part) and now it’s time to relax, enjoy the grandkids, maybe travel or pick up a new hobby. But, no, not for Dad.

I have a tradition of making birthday cards for Mom and Dad and I finished them last night. At first I was just going to make one for Mom cuz, ya know, Dad’s dead. But then I decided I’d make one for him anyway. Usually I put his age on it, last year I made a big colorful swirling 64. But as I was making his card this year, it didn’t make sense to write 65. He didn’t make it to 65. He never was 65. But then I wondered… should I write a 1? Start over? I couldn’t figure it out so I ended up just painting a very childlike rainbow over the word “Dad” with lots of hearts and raindrops (though it’s possible the raindrops were really tears.) Tomorrow I will go visit his grave for the first time since we lowered him into the ground and I’ll leave him the card. I hope he likes it.

Since I wrote last we had another death in the family. My Grandma died shortly after her 86th birthday on March 8th, 2014. She died in her sleep. We were all grateful for an easy passing and plan to gather at her old home, High Hopes, this summer for a celebration of life. I cried for her when I got the news, but one can’t be too sad that she’s now free from her dementia or life in the memory care facility.

Still, three deaths in less than six months. Last year this time I had two grandmas and two parents, and now I have no grandparents and just a mom. But I am grateful for what I have and excited for all my family off on their great adventure into the afterlife. I just wish they’d send a note or an e-mail now and then to let me know how it’s going.


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second chance

I had a dream about dad last night.  He was alive. In fact, he never died.  We were at a big celebration and performance, possibly involving Sam’s school, the kids were dressed up and dancing.  I got to see my dad and talk to him a little, but his seat wasn’t near mine.  Still, I kept my eye on him and yes, there he was.   I kept trying to understand how he was alive.  “Dad! I thought you were dead!”  I’d say to him.  “I know.  I thought so too.  But here I am!”  It was such a joyful time.

I remember feeling like we had a second chance.  “Don’t do the chemo!”  I was going to tell him.  And, I decided I would try to convince him to drink wheatgrass or do a raw food cleanse or give up meat wheat and dairy… anything to try to rebuild his immune system.  But as happy as I was in the dream, I couldn’t quite shake the image of him laying there dead in the hospital.  My mind wanted to believe, but it couldn’t forget.  The best I could do in my dream state was decide he actually WASN’T dead, and somehow he’d been cured after we left the hospital.  A stretch, I know, but, the mind can take giant leaps and ignore the obvious to find the results it wants.

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passwords and back-ups

I had to reset my password, because it’s been that long, but here I am typing away at my old blog.  Some helpful child set the alarm on the digital clock radio (that by dad bought me as a kid, and still sits beside by bed) and it went off loudly at 4:00am this morning.  Unlike a few years ago, when I was seriously sleep deprived and could fall back asleep in an instant, anywhere, anytime, I knew after laying in bed listening to snoring for half an hour that I might as well get up.  I’m attached to the idea of doing yoga at 6am this morning, and I could feel that I would just lay there until, probably 5:45am at which time I would no doubt fall into a deep sleep. 

So, here I am in the quiet morning hours, alone at my computer.  It has been a while.  And, I have thoughts.  But I’m out of practice expressing them in anything longer than a facebook update so please forgive the lengthy preamble.

I could write about my kids, but what I need to process now is the other end of life.  Dad died about five months ago, and then Bubbe joined him a few months later.  Well, I guess she joined him.  Maybe they got on a different train?  Maybe they are together in the way all spirits might be together when not bound to physical bodies.  Hard to know, really, but sometimes interesting to think about.

When Dad first died I felt his spirit close and it brought me comfort.  After a couple months I felt a shift and I began to worry that Bubbe hadn’t been told her son was dead.  But, she knew.  And she followed quick as she could.  Coincidences are more likely unseen connections.  Wherever they are, here I am, still on earth occupying my body, raising my family.  And what am I to make of these feelings that come from losing two people I knew and loved my entire life?

Strangers take comfort in notions like, “Well, she was 90.”  Or they ask, “Was he sick?”  Yes, he was sick.  Well, ok then.  And it’s true, it’s less shocking when someone who is gearing up for their second battle with cancer dies of chemo than when a healthy young person gets hit by a bus.  But, it doesn’t make them any less dead.  With my dad we knew he was sick, but we did not know he was about the drop dead.  He went to work on Thursday and died on Sunday.  We knew he wasn’t feeling well, he’d been saying that for years.  And we all felt bad for him, but, vague comments about not feeling well doesn’t set off alarms that you’d better rush over and pay your last respects.

Last weekend I went to visit my mom, without kids, and helped her with the momentous task of clearing out the house they’ve lived in since I was five.  It’s not a giant house but it’s got two stories, four bedrooms, and a two-car garage.  And, my dad did not get rid of things.  So now we will sort, clean and do a lot of letting go.  But helping Mom last weekend I stumbled across a couple clues that made me think Dad had a sense his time was coming. 

For one thing, he backed up their computer hard drive two months before he died.  I know this because when I found the external hard drive it had a little yellow sticky note with the backup date neatly printed in his handwriting.  Later I helped my mom start her taxes using TurboTax and although this was always Dad’s job, she had found a printed sheet with all their important passwords.  He had helpfully noted the printing date- just a little over a month before he died.

Maybe he didn’t know, but he certainly suspected, and he always liked to plan for the worst.  Time is such a funny thing.  It passes without much thought most of the time.  But every now and then there are these moments that change everything.

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