Flashbacks…

I was looking through an old journal.  This is the time of year I start thinking a lot about my father…   February 24th will mark the 9th year since he passed away.  I still think about him every day…  and miss him some days, more than others.  Today is one of those days.   I was looking back, and decided  I wanted to just get a few of my journal entries from that time in the computer…  and thought I’d share them on here too…   They are long…  so, don’t feel like you need to read this whole thing.  uh…???   Ok.. that was silly… as if anyone ever has to read anything that I write.  =?  oh well, I just meant this is more for me…. just to have… than, it is meant to be for anyone else… that’s all…

11-6-01 Tuesday

It’s Tuesday morning and I just got thru having a long talk with my Dad over breakfast.  This was after we got AJ off to school & K had left for work.  Dad and I talked about AJ, and when I was a kid, and he talked about why he won’t do the dialysis.  Again.

I am finally realizing that he really isn’t going to do it – and just what that means.  It’s really hard to believe he is dying.  Ever since his last doctor’s appointment, a week ago, this reality is setting in.  I think, up until that point I was in denial. I was just thinking he would do the dialysis and everything would be okay.  Or that somehow everything would be okay even if he didn’t.  At least for a long time still.  When his doctor was so serious last time and then told me he most likely has “weeks to months” – it all hit me.  I am going to lose him. He really isn’t well.

I sort of freaked out the first few days.  I talked to my brother and have been venting to a few friends.  I think that helped, but, this is really hard.   I want to fight this with everything I have.  I wanted him to fight with everything he had.   I tried to make him feel like he HAD to fight.  I’ve argued, reasoned, pleaded with him and tried to get others to do the same.  Part of me thought he should do try to fight this more…. for ME if nothing else.  I guess, I was use to him doing things for me… because, he always had… and, so, it was hard to believe he wouldn’t NOT die for me, as well.

When I called my brother last week, I wanted him to come over and “take my side” and help me drag my father to the hospital for whatever treatment they could offer if we had to.   But, B just told me that I needed to stop.  That this was Dad’s life, and he should be able to live, or die, the way he wanted to.   That, he only had a few things left in life that he could decide – and this should be one of them.  I remember feeling devastated.  Like I had run out of options…  as if the options were ever mine in the first place. Slowly,  I realized B was right.  This wasn’t my decision.

So, I am pretty much giving up now on the hope that he will change his mind about doing the dialysis.  And, I don’t want to be bitter and angry with him for his decision on this.  I’m trying, really trying,  to understand and make sure that he knows how I feel too.  I really was worried that he felt like a “burden” or something.  Living here with me and K, and with me being pregnant and all.  I keep telling him he’s not a burden, and truly he isn’t.  I wouldn’t want him anywhere else.  But, I don’t know that he believed me, and I felt guilty and responsible for him not wanting to try the dialysis… like maybe if he didn’t feel like a burden then he would do it.   But now, I don’t think that’s the case.

I am seeing things differently, and I think I know where my Dad is coming from – sort of.  He has already had a very hard medical history (to say the least) and life, and he just doesn’t want to live life in a way that’s even more difficult than how he is now.  He doesn’t want to prolong things, only to wind up bed bound, or in a wheel chair, or in a nursing home, or hooked up to machines, for his last few days/months of life.  He really hates going to the doctors (again, to say the least).  I guess I can’t blame him considering all the days, and years, he spent in hospitals.

Anyway, we had a nice talk this morning – and I’m thinking that I should just do my best to appreciate and enjoy what time I have with him now because I never know how much longer I will have with him.  I guess, that philosophy can (and should) be applied to life in general… but, knowing that my Dad’s days are now numbered, has really made him a priority right now for me.  It’s sad, in a way, that it takes something like this to really make you realize things, and act in a way that should have been the norm all along.  I mean, as far as taking the time to talk and listen and just be kind.

Unfortunately, I’m now having such a hard time dealing with all of this that I’m having trouble keeping up with other things and I know it’s not right for me to neglect other things or people, but I know I’m guilty of that now too.  I’m not sure what to do about it yet.  One day at a time, I guess.

Right now, I better get going and get going and get a few things done before AJ comes home from Pre-K

11-17-2001 Sat

Saturday mid-morning here.  K went to work this morning and I made waffles for AJ, Dad and myself.  I was glad Dad had one.  He hasn’t been eating much lately.  I don’t think he really wanted to eat this morning, as much as he really just wanted to have breakfast with AJ.    Breakfast times on the weekends are usually still his time with AJ .  After breakfast we talked again about a lot of things.  About AJ mostly.  He sure does love that kid.  AJ has no clue just how much, or how big of a part he plays in Dad’s life.

– Someone’s here – write more later….

(it was my brother B, and his kids that came over… )

3-19-02

Well, I never did keep up writing in this journal the last few months. I sort of wish I had, but it has been a really… really hard last few months and maybe it’s better that I didn’t.  Some details are better not chronicled.

Dad died Sunday morning, Feb 24th.  The days, weeks, and months before that were just a steady decline in his health until he left my house on Mon, 2/18 to go to the hospice unit in the hospital.

We had help from hospice care involved in his care since mid November, but out of my home.  They turned out to be a real comfort, and they really did help us all a lot.  My Dad even liked them – his nurse, Jean, and the social worker – Ellen, and an Aide – John. My brothers were coming over and helping a lot too – more towards the end.

I can’t begin to describe how painful and hard it was to watch him get weaker and sicker.  Mostly, weaker.  It was harder on his pride and sense of dignity than the actual pain.  He actually insisted he wasn’t in pain or feeling too sick – right up until the end when he went to the hospital. But, he just got weaker and weaker until he could barely sit up.  He never once changed his mind, though, about the dialysis and he said he didn’t regret his decision. I believe him.  Man, he could be so stubborn.

As difficult as it was to watch him getting worse and worse  – it is so much more difficult not to have him here now at all.  I miss him so much. I know that he was ready  – tired, and he didn’t want to keep going like that.  I know that he was worried about me.

Everyone was worried about me – being pregnant and all and getting bigger and bigger by the day.  K was extremely understanding and helpful throughout everything…  But, I   just    miss    Dad.  Sometimes, I still think the finality of it has not sunk in yet.

Dad and I were always so close, but these past few months we just talked, and talked.  It was awkward and difficult at time for both of us at times, when my “care-giver” role sometimes over-shadowed my being his daughter – but, never for long.  At least, we had that.  Time to talk, I mean.  About old times, current, and even looking into the future with another baby boy on the way.

Dad felt him move a few times.  We knew it would be a boy… and we knew his name, and that his middle name would be after my father.  I laid next to him, and he put his hand on my stomach… and we were both just quiet…. enjoying the miracle of a baby on the way.  We just laid there, not saying anything… my mind racing…  but neither of us voicing the pain from knowing he would never get to see him or hold him.  It was sad to know that he would never get to really KNOW this baby, like he did with AJ.   I know he felt sorry for himself a little, sad that he would miss out on that.  Me? I was feeling sorry for both Dad and the baby.  Makes me wish I would’ve started having my kids earlier on.

Anyway, I’ll never be able to catch up on everything in one entry.  So, I’ll just take this journal as I’m taking life lately – day by day.. and see how it goes.

Today, AJ went to Pre-K, and K got him off this morning.  I was so beat from staying up late trying to organize, replace, and set up the photo albums. I had to put back all the pics we pulled out for Dad’s memorial service (3/2/01), and then got all the pics from the last 2 1/2 years sorted out and put in albums too.  Man, I take a lot of pictures.  I do enjoy them, though.

AJ is doing great. He did have a rough time the day Dad left our house – I think, because we didn’t really tell him what was going on at first & he just knew something bad was happening.  It was a rough night the night before, and an even rougher morning that prompted the 911 call.  It probably didn’t help that I was a wreck myself.   AJ actually refused to go to K’s parents when they came to get him. He went and hid in the house.  I finally  told him the truth, that Pa had to go to the doctors, to the hospital, and he was so much better once he felt informed.  I was glad he left with K’s parents.  For me, watching my Dad leave my house on the stretcher that morning was the worse feeling ever.  The look on his face haunts me still sometimes…  and, the feeling that went with it.  We all knew, he wouldn’t be back.    Later that night, AJ  went with us and saw Dad at the hospital that night.  Dad and AJ seemed better that night.

The following 6 days were too difficult to get into right now.  My brother B, sort of took over the brunt of everything at that point…  and I love him for being there for every step.

With AJ, for the most part, we just have tried to be honest and let him know what is happening.  He knew  Pa was sick.  I think he knew a lot more that we gave him credit for.   He had to know.  He saw the whole process of Dad’s sickness too while he lived with us,  and when Dad passed away, AJ  didn’t seem surprised. We talked about it, and he has had some questions and concerns – but, for the most part, he just accepted it.

He likes to hear that Pa is in heaven now, and with all his dogs that he missed so much, and not sick anymore – no more “boo boo legs”. We talk to Pa too, and AJ likes to think that Pa is watching him and listening to him still, but that we just can’t see or hear him.  He wanted to leave the Road Runner cartoon on the TV the other morning when he was leaving for Pre K,  so “Pa could watch it from heaven”.   And, sometimes he asks, “can we call him?” when he see’s a phone…  And when we were at the grocery store, and he heard a voice announcing something on the loud speaker and he asked if that was Pa  talking.   One day, he came home from school and said, “Is Pa Home?”    ??   I don’t know if he forgot, or if he was just testing.  ?  He’s also been a little concerned that K or I, or himself, will have to go to heaven soon and I have to keep reassuring him that he doesn’t need to worry about that.

So, yeah..  this is an adjustment for him too.  Of course it would be, they were such buddies for his whole life.   Still, for the most part, he seems like he’s doing well.  Kids can be so resilient.  My doctor friend told me that he would be ok, as long as *I* was “ok” and didn’t sink into a deep depression around him or something.  So,  I’m the one who has to try to keep myself in check…   I try to get my crying in when he’s in school…  or when I’m alone in the car… that always seems like a good time to sob.  And, I can’t get too depressed anyway – because i have this new baby growing inside me, that needs me too.

Ok..  that’s enough for tonight!

And, so it IS enough for tonight….

Good night Dad.

This one’s for you:

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4 Comments to “Flashbacks…”

    • thanks Charles. I miss him… but, I’m ok. Better than ok. I like to look back…. and remember… even the more difficult times…

      And, now I have the strongest urge to say, “and also with you”…. *smile* Take care.

  1. Well now… if I don’t have tears streaming down my face… you were blessed to have him and he to have you. He is still here, in your words and in your memories. I understand. It is never really ok… but sometimes it is. Look for your angels. Take care my friend

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