Sunday, January 8, 2012

my dad's right handed woman.

my dad's health has been on the decline ever since he took his first heart attack in '96. over the last 15 years, he has undergone surgery after surgery, suffered multiple heart attacks, encountered countless complications from being diabetic, suffered a stroke, lived with severe kidney failure, and lost his ability to walk, among other things.

but behind all of this stood my mom, my dad's right handed woman, and the strongest woman i know.

to say that she stood by her vow to love my dad 'through sickness and health' is an understatement. over the past year and a bit, i've watched her 'put her life on hold' to take care of my dad 24 hours a day, and trust me when i say that this was no easy task! she organized and administered his meds [about 130 pills a week - not including his insulin dose 3x/day], kept track of his multiple doctor's appointments, cooked, counted his calorie intake, cleaned up certain messes, and helped him up when he lost his balance on the days he decided to be stubborn and independent [i don't blame him].

as his health worsened, so did my mom's stress level. and yet she continued to take care of him because she loved him, and because she ... wait for it ... promised to love him 'until death do them part'.

now, let it be said that in no ways am i here to bash [or judge] anyone who has been married and since divorced or separated. i understand that there are situations that warrant such a decision, BUT i also believe that we live in a world that gives up on love far too easily.

the media is the worst at depicting this. i can barely flip through the channels nowadays or pick up a magazine without hearing about someone's marriage ending in '72 days'. i find this disheartening and confusing, really. how can one go from "until death do us part" to "until you make me mad or hurt my feelings?" [again, i know that not all marriages end this quickly - or because of such 'pettiness' - i'm simply just making a point].

in my opinion, the media should also depict stories like that of my mom and dad; stories of love and commitment, because, well, marriages like those exist, too. i know this to be true because i was fortunate enough to be able to watch my mom and dad live out the vows they made to each other 32 years a go. and i couldn't be more grateful.

" dear children, let us not love with words and speech, but in actions and in truth" [1 john 3:18]

Friday, January 6, 2012

a tearstained pillow, laughter, and a buttload of gratitude.

i sit staring at the computer screen for hours at a time trying to pound out a blog. i write five words and erase three. write one and stare at it blankly. there's so much going on in this head of mine; only the best of memories of my dad, and questions. a whole lot of questions.

i've almost made it through day eight without my dad and so far i've only had two 'i'm not going to make it moments'. thankfully, i have great friends who are willing to lay with me until i fall asleep, others who cover me in prayer, a God who hears mine, and a water resistant pillow [or at least one that dries quickly].

whoever said that 'laughter is the best medicine' must have been a doctor. i'm so thankful that my family has the ability to make each other laugh. i'm also thankful for shows like 'modern family' and for friends who can tell me a joke at the drop of a hat, even if they are a little on the corny side [ahem, mel].

i'm thankful for each and every one of you who took the time to call or write, and those who continue to do so.

and most of all, i'm thankful that i had the chance to spend 31 years with a dad who not only taught me about the importance of having a strong work ethic, but a dad who deeply loved and valued his wife and his kids; a dad who deeply loved and valued ... me.

miss you, dad.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

my journey without my dad: day five.

most of you wouldn't be able to tell this by looking at me, but i'm missing a tooth. that's right - me - the one with the radiant smile.

you see, the dentist i had growing up told me that i had more than enough room in my mouth for my wisdom teeth to come in without problem [people always did tell me that i had a big mouth], but he was wrong. years later, my bottom left wisdom tooth came in and cracked the tooth in front of it, causing me a great deal of pain and forcing me to get it pulled.

minus the huge needle, i loved the feeling of getting my mouth frozen. i wasn't, however, a fan of the feeling i got when the freezing started to thaw; not only did i start to feel some pain, but i realized a part of me was missing.

this is exactly how i'm feeling today in regards to losing my dad. the numbness is starting to ware, causing me to face - and learn how to deal with - the pain and loss that i feel as a result. and frankly i suck at it.

a few random grief observations.

1) people are insensitive, but God is gracious.

on the morning my dad passed away, my siblings and i dropped my mom off at the door of her apartment and then went to park the car. when we met up with her a few minutes later, she told us about a conversation that had taken place in the few seconds we weren't together. after finding out that my dad passed away, a man who lives in her building went up to her and said, "you know, linda, the ambulance woke me up this morning and i wasn't able to get back to sleep". true story. [i say God is gracious because had i have been there, i'm certain that i would have punched him in the face].

2) love and support often come from the most unlikely places.

it's been said that you really learn who your true friends are in times like these and i couldn't agree more. in most cases, the people who i thought would be there for me, haven't been, and those i didn't even think about reaching out to me have been the ones that have the most.

3) the probability of me picking up the phone 'to talk' is slim, but the possibility of me 'needing' to is great.

i've been on the other side of this whole thing. you know, the watching your friend go through something and feeling helpless thing. and it sucks. but the whole 'call me if you need me' line doesn't usually 'work', and the 'i would call but you're probably too busy or have others surrounding you' one is, more often that not, farthest from the truth. the first couple of days, maybe. but after that [or the funeral if there is one], people tend to back away and forget about you, when really, that's when they [ i ] need you the most.

4) everyone grieves differently, and i really don't know how to.

everyone in my family is dealing with this differently. some use humour to get through, some are full of anger, and others cry. but me? i just feel ... lost ... and miss my dad.