Friday, December 31, 2010

Daddy

After much deliberation and soul searching, my father has decided to stop his dialysis treatments.  He started hospice care Wednesday evening (12/29/10), at home.  He is home, where he has longed to be for seven long, torturous weeks.  He is home with the love of his life.  He is home, surrounded by his family, surrounded by love.

It is all too surreal.  My mind knows he is home to die, and it won't be long.  But my heart looks at him, sees him and thinks 'he's just sick, he'll get better'.  This time, there is no better - only when he leaves this life to join his Mom and Dad, his Grammy, in eternal life.

How do you say goodbye to someone who has been a part of your life forever?  How do you say goodbye to the one person you trust beyond all measure, the one person who makes you feel so special and loved?  How do you say goodbye to such a holy, spiritual man who was a devoted husband for 59 years; and a dedicated and loving father?  Who served his Lord with all his heart, mind, and soul?

I know he is at peace with his decision, as is the entire family.  But last night, sitting by his bed, I couldn't help but think I wanted to change my mind; I don't want him to go, I want him to stay.  I want to hear his voice when I call home. I want to hear that laugh, the chuckle.  I want to be held in his arms and told everything will be okay.

How can anyone measure up to Daddy?   When God created my Dad, he threw away the mold .  There isn't anyone in the world like him. Hell, I waited 38 years to find a man like him!  No one gives better bear hugs, no one makes you feel so loved and accepted.  Thought not a perfect man, he is, and always will be, the perfect Dad.  I love you, Daddy and I will miss you forever.  Love, Poopsie

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Thoughts

So, I'm sitting here in my parent's condo.  It's Christmas morning, but a strange Christmas morning as my Dad is not here, nor is my husband.  This Christmas will be quite different.  I feel a bit of sadness, perhaps melancholy, thinking about past Christmases.

I remember going to midnight mass; the excitement of it all.  We would take a nap, then get up and get dressed - our Christmas best - and head off to church.  The church was so beautiful and peaceful.  And in our hearts was love and excitement, knowing we would soon be going home to a Christmas buffet and the opening of one present. 

Ah, the excitement of waking up Christmas morning, running downstairs to see the presents; the anticipation of what was to come.  My parents didn't have tons of money, but always managed to provide wonderful gifts.  As children though, we didn't always appreciate their efforts.  There was always one child that was gloomy because we didn't get enough presents, or we didn't quite get what we wanted.  Mom and Dad would keep one present behind and give it to the gloomiest.  I remember the year, in my late 20s, when Christmas was just miserable.  I was very unhappy and sad because my life wasn't what I thought it would be...I wanted an Oxford dictionary - a huge dictionary that contains the history of the English language - but I knew it was out of reach, too expensive.  As I sat there after present opening, Dad said he had one more gift for me.  And there was my Oxford dictionary...I couldn't believe it...I still have the dictionary and it remains one of my most special gifts.

One Christmas was all got ice skates!  We went to the 'power lines' to a frozen pond and skated around.  The pond wasn't big, but we thought we were so cool!  I remember waiting for Aunt Marie and Uncle Ed to show up.  They would always bring santa sleighs filled with silver dollars.  We were rich!  And Uncle Ed would bring peppermint ice cream.  To this day, the taste of peppermint ice cream reminds me of my uncle and every Christmas I make sure I have some in my freezer.  And Aunt Marie loved her egg nog; again, every Christmas there is egg nog in my fridge. 

As we got older and my siblings had families, we changed our family tradition and started celebrating on Christmas Eve.  For years and years, every Christmas Eve the family would gather.  We would have a procession to put baby Jesus in the manger ~ the youngest grandchild was the 'chosen one', the one to put Jesus in his bed; we would sing Christmas songs, then end with a grand 'Happy Birthday to you!'...and the celebration would begin - always tons of food, presents and happy smiles.

Traditions change and morph.  Right now my family is in a 'morphing' stage ~ one tradition has died and another hasn't taken root...a new tradition will arise, I have no doubt.  Christmas is about family, and love.  My family loves each other, through all the trials and tribulations, through all the complex relationships that a large family has...yes, I have faith that a new tradition will sprout from this transformational phase.

This holiday season may bring a very great change to my family, one that will change the entire family dynamic.  As I sit here writing, I can't help but wonder what the future will hold.  It is Christmas, the day of Christ's birth, and though I am trying to smile, my heart is heavy.  I miss my Dad, I miss my husband.  This Christmas is a mixture of past, present and future; remembering the past with fondness; thinking of the present, wishing things were different; and pondering the future, the changes that will occur. 

Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Quiet

So, it's a rainy morning.  Get out of bed, have coffee, get on the computer, light the tree and enjoy the quiet morning hour, rain gently falling outside.  A peaceful kind of quiet. Ah.  Then, something changes.  A word spoken out of turn?  Some small act of annoyance?  Who knows.  But the mood changes and it's not so peaceful anymore, but a strained silence.  What happened? 

The tree is still it, the rain is still falling gently outside, and so are my tears.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nativity Scene

This Christmas Terry and I will be staying home.  We decided to do a bit more decorating this year since we'll be here to enjoy it the whole season.  We want an outdoor nativity scene.  But can we find one?  We've been to Walmart, K-Mart, Family Dollar, Beall's, Lowe's...just about every place we can think of to look.  We have found Santa, reindeer, penguins; we have found all kinds of inflatable decorations, but no outdoor nativity scenes. 

We have looked on-line, and have found some that cost an arm and leg.  And yes, Lowe's did have one, a bit more expensive than we wanted to spend.  I just find it odd that there are plenty of commercialized items to be found, be very few that speak to the true meaning of Christmas ~ the birth of our Christ.

So, Terry is going to do what he does best and improvise.  He has his mother's heart and talent and is quite the artist ~ and he has a vision.  Somehow we will have our outdoor nativity scene...