Week 19 of 2009, 8-14 May ** "You may go..."
Week 19...one I'm ready to put behind me. On the 14th I got the news. I KNEW something wasn't right, and the confirmation came on the 14th. Dad's latest scans did not come back good. I'm enjoying every moment I have with him.
Week 28 of 2009, 10 July - 16 July ** HAPPY 32ND ANNIVERSARY MOM & DAD!
I have never seen two people fight and work as hard as my Mom and Dad to make it to 32 years. The two of them, while completely different people, compliment each other so perfectly and just "fit" unlike any other couple I've ever seen. They went through their rough patches but always met back in the middle and never gave up.
Dad's been serving in the Army for over 29 years and, I think we figured out, about 60% of their marriage has been spent separate from each other. He finally, after years and years, had the opportunity to be "home", not living in an apartment in VA ( while working at the Pentagon) and they finally got to be together. Unfortunately, cancer was found in Dad and it's been a hell of a battle for the past 10 months. Mom is a cancer survivor as well, like I said, they've been through a LOT during their lifetimes and marriage, but this time, this disease is going to take away what was supposed to be their time together. Finally, after years of living their marriage on opposite sides of the world/country and everywhere in between, this stupid disease is what is going to "break them up".
The cancer my Dad has is in his brain, as they found 10 or 11 months ago. We knew then that the prognosis wasn't good but he had defied every odd, fact, figure and stupid website I scoured. He was supposed to never make it to last Christmas, and here, I got to spend Father's Day with him. Yes, he's changed, the disease has been taking over, but I have had my Dad for pretty much every holiday for one full year (we moved to where they were living and the day after we got here we found out he had Stage 4 cancer that had spread to his brain). We were supposed to have at least 20 or more Christmas' to spend together, being that he's only 54...
Mom and Dad went on a little vacation last week, back to Oregon, their/our home. I saw my Dad a week later and everything had changed. A week ago he was sitting in my recliner watching a movie with my kids and I. Yes, he was tired, but we were able to talk and laugh and look at the kids while watching Lilo and Stitch. I went to see him yesterday and he was in bed, now having trouble walking. Words that aren't words are coming out of his mouth and in our 20 minute conversation, he fell asleep at least 7 or 8 times. My Dad, the talker of all talkers, a speech writer and an officer in Public Affairs couldn't hold a 20 minute conversation, really, he couldn't stay awake for more than 2 minutes at a time. It was horrible, sad, but reality was finally sinking in. I have held out hope, this whole time, because he's defied everything I've read thus far...I had hoped for the miracle that we were all waiting on. Hell, I didn't hope for it, I truly believed it was coming. But my hopes were shattered yesterday when my Dad grabbed my hand, and in one of our 2 minute conversations, looked me straight in the eye and said "I'm so tired, this whole...process. I'm so tired and I just want to sleep." In that moment, I realized that although my selfish needs wanted me to never have to say goodbye to my Dad, it was time to find peace in the fact that soon, my Dad is going to fall asleep and not wake up.
So, while I type this I'm angry and miserable and want so bad to scream about everything that went wrong during his diagnosis and how unfair it is that my Dad is being taken from me and my kids at WAY too young of an age, I'm going to instead say that I wish my parents the very best for their anniversary today and I wish so bad that they could have a million more...cus' they, of all people I know, deserve it.
(I haven't slept, I'm typing through tears and I know this is a ramble that makes no sense...thanks for reading anyway.)
Mom & Dad at my son's baseball game (2009):
My parents, Nicholas and I in 2000:
Dancing with my oldest two when we went to visit in VA (2002):
(Mom made this little collage)
2002, I believe
New Years in NYC:
My Mom and Bro (Easter this year):
My Dad and I (Easter this year):
Waffles & Hospice (posted August 14, 2009)
Wednesday I went over to make Dad waffles. We're trying to get him to eat and that was something that, for a moment, sounded kind of good. He ate 2 bites I think...I'm just glad I made it over to make him some.
While we were there that morning Avery ran up to the bed and grabbed his hand and said in her sweet little voice, "Opa, I love you", then she was off to play. Olivia was very concerned and sat on the bed with Opa for a bit just watching him and smiling. She was insistent on being the one to straighten up his covers after we re-situated him and got him ready for yet another nap. I hope I never forget the look on their faces, and on Dad's face when his granddaughters were taking care of him. So sweet, yet so incredibly sad, as they should be outside running around the yard playing with him right now.
Dad's in the hospital again today, he went in that evening, the night of the day that I went over and made him waffles. Today we decide who our hospice nurse will be. Dad is fully dependent at this point and we have to make sure he's comfortable. I knew the beginning of the end was coming awhile back, but now the end is near and I don't know if I'm ready for it.
That's it for now. Updates soon.
Camera phone pics...
Nicholas and Madison with Oma & Opa. Oh, and Libby, of course, who hadn't left Dad's side in weeks.
Proof that he liked my waffles. I swear he's not in the hospital because of my cooking. =)
18 August 2009 ~ He grew his angel wings.
This morning, at 8:33, Dad took his final breath. He said his goodbyes to this crazy world we live in and went to a better place. What that better place is, I don't know, but I know he's looking down on all the people who were blessed enough to know him.
Rest assured that his passing was peaceful and absolutely beautiful. I never thought I'd use the word beautiful to describe it, but that's exactly what it was. He was taken care of by wonderful doctors and nurses and had Mom, Matt and I by his side, holding his hands and telling him how much we loved him.
Thank you for all the kind words. Dad never knew the impact he had on so many lives. Mom, Matt and I find it comforting to hear the stories and the messages describing the amazing man that he was to each and every one of you.