2018/05/08

The Day After

Da Goddess @ 09:27

I don’t know how any of us got through yesterday. Lots of love, laughter, and tears to be sure, but I honestly don’t know how we were able to keep going.

All of us had to have a lie-in at some point. (How pretentious of me to use lie-in as opposed to nap…it’s just that napping doesn’t quite seem appropriate in this context.) We had dinner. We talked. Mojo and I stayed up talking and watching stuff on YouTube.

After crawling into bed I realized I still hadn’t changed my clothes from Sunday, had forgotten to brush my teeth, and really needed to pee. It took me a full 90 minutes to get up to do anything about it.

Woke up at 0745 to the realization that my dad is really really really gone. I knew that yesterday, but it hit me afresh upon waking. I don’t know how to do this. I mean, I know, I just don’t KNOW.

I’m in total lockup today. Neck and back are not cooperating. I practically crawled to the bathroom. This is worse than normal as the sheer emotional momentum from yesterday has left my body. This definitely is NOT the day I anticipated having. I’m hoping I’ll fall asleep for a bit and wake up in better shape.

Sleep, though, I don’t know. So much keeps running through my head. I don’t remember how many times I prayed last night, but it was kind of all that kept me from crying. That and I didn’t have Fletch to cry to. That’s how I get through the bad moments at home.

Yesterday, while at the hospital, we had the chaplain come in to say a prayer with us. She was a pleasant little old lady with a slight lilt to her voice. All was going well (relatively well, I mean, we were heartbroken, crying, and generally in need of comfort) until she got to her third “Heavenly Father” in her prayer. At the next mention, I felt a giggle building. At the fifth mention, I kind of started to shake. By the sixth “Heavenly Father”, I was actively having to hold back laughter.

Her next parlor trick was telling us she was sure Dad was a lovely, wonderful, kind man. Mom guffawed openly. C and I laughed.

Cranky, grumpy, misanthropic, loud, rude…and, yes, a good man. Perfectly imperfect. That was my dad. I didn’t always understand him, but I always loved him. I was lucky to have almost 52 years with him. That’s a helluva lot more time than many people get with parents. I’m not feeling great about it, but I’m okay with it. I’m okay with it in that he’s not in pain any longer. I’m okay with him being free of the ravages of aging. Being free from illness, from losing autonomy, losing friends, losing the ability to do all the things he enjoyed. He’s at peace now and I have to learn to get there, too.

I’m extremely grateful for my sisters, brothers-in-law, my mom, the kids, my friends, and the staff at the hospital and hospice. Together we’ve made it this far and that’s something special in my book.

Each day, each moment will bring with it new challenges, but I’m a quick learner and I think I have a handle on getting through whatever comes up. No guarantees, just a sense that I can do this.

Going to attempt sleep again. Or maybe hobble out to the kitchen for a piece of toast. Then I’ll tackle whatever comes next.

2018/05/07

Day is Done

Da Goddess @ 10:15

C had just taken me to her house so I could shower when we got the call that Dad had passed.

Mojo had just landed.

J was bedside.

Now I’m sitting here with Dad and crying and remembering and trying to process it all.

Day is done, Dad. Time to climb in the old jalopy and go find another race.

I love you. Thank you for being my dad.

Vale.

Dad

Da Goddess @ 07:44

Dad had a relatively quiet night. We were able to get him a warming blanket, which helped immensely against the chill of constant air conditioning. He mostly kept his nasal cannula in place, though I had to replace it enough to smile at his efforts.

C had come back to the hospital after her break, bringing me my requested piece of toast and some water. She was here until after 11pm. I made her go home because she’s been in the thick of this from the beginning. J has also been running herself ragged trying to keep up with Dad, her job, her other job, and everything else she has going. Thankfully, both sisters got a break from this.

The sleeping chair here was laughable, but it did the trick. I camped out bedside and was able to keep Dad company throughout the night. He slept fairly well and I slept much like I sleep these days — restless, uncomfortable, and in pain. That said, I felt better just being here. There won’t be many more days with my dad and I don’t want to miss a single one if I can help it.

His nurses and aides have been lovely, gentle, and professional. The only thing I’d change is, perhaps, quieter neighbors. But this is part and parcel of hospital life.

Currently watching the nurses do bedside shift change report. Despite it being a bit noisy, it’s good to hear what information they’re exchanging. I’m trying to NOT jump in with extraneous info, but it’s near impossible. They’re very kind about it.

Other than that, we’re waiting for Mojo to get here. Praying for just enough time to have us all here together to let him know it’s okay to let go. We want him to be at peace with himself and with us. We want him to know he’s very much loved. Mostly, we just want him to pass in comfort, surrounded by love and gentle support.

I’m off to cry a little bit by myself so I can come back and be strong for him and for the family.

2018/05/06

This is My Dad

Da Goddess @ 22:06

Dad

This is my Dad. The photo is from 2009. I don’t have any recent pics with me, so this will do the job.

We — my sisters, brothers-in-law, LD, my mom, and I — are at the hospital with my Dad. Mojo will be here in the morning.

We’re saying our goodbyes.

Dad’s been in slow but steady decline for at least a year, with something new cropping up every month or so. It’s overwhelming for him and for my oldest sister. She’s the main caretaker and the one who has been in charge of all his legal and financial affairs.

It’s tough to see Dad so frail and so out of it. Yes, this was inevitable, but when are any of us ready for the death of a parent?

On Wednesday, big sis, C, took Dad to the doctor. Dad said he no longer wanted to deal with tests or another new diagnosis (weight loss on a noticeable scale) and he was ready for palliative care. They talked about hospice and covered all their bases.

I didn’t know this until yesterday. I mean, I knew he’d lost weight since Christmas, but there’s been ever more since. I knew he was in decline, but I was hoping he’d rally. Deep down, I think we’ve all hoped that.

It’s not to be.

My brother-in-law, D, found Dad on the floor, unresponsive this morning. I knew as soon as I saw my little sis’s number pop up on the phone that it wasn’t going to be good news. Then began the frantic scramble to get down here. KA has been out of town since Thursday, I’m without a car, I have Fletch. So, scramble scramble scramble. A friend was kind enough to drive 25 miles to get me, 90+ miles down, and another 90 miles back. I spent most of the trip talking about NOTHING… basically avoiding the topic of my dad dying.

The shock of seeing him as I walked in the room was something I don’t think I can adequately describe. Or maybe I don’t want to think about it that long. All I know is the man in the hospital bed was a mere shadow of my dad. He would occasionally open his eyes, but he wasn’t really there. His respiratory rate was high, heart rate low, and blood pressure low as well. He’d eaten nothing since Wednesday (and before that, Sunday), despite my sister’s best efforts. When I’d talked with C yesterday, I told her he was becoming dehydrated (the man does NOT do water) with his constant diarrhea and lack of liquid intake. That’s not good for anyone, but especially not someone with multiple critical diagnoses. Still, there’s no making horses or old men drink if they don’t want to drink.

I’ve been here several hours now. Dad’s settled into a regular room on the fourth floor. He’s getting 1mg of morphine per hour for comfort. We can increase the dose if necessary, but we’re trying to hold off on that until Mojo gets here in the morning. Morphine, great as it is for easing pain, also depresses the respiratory system. While Dad’s respiratory rate is high, he’s working awfully hard to get oxygen to the rest of his body. I’m hoping he’ll be less agitated now and his heart rate will come up, BP will come up, and his respirations slow and deepen. Better perfusion means a clearer mind.

Since none of that’s likely to have any affect on his overall prognosis, comfort is the best option. So, comfort it is.

The best thing about him getting the morphine is that he IS comfortable enough that he’s had lucid moments and I’ve been able to let him know I love him. He even smiled a bit when I told him Mojo’s on her way, that LD had been here, that we’re all here for him, that we all love him very much. Even Mom. (Had they stayed married, Memorial Day would have been their 60th anniversary! Instead, they’ve split the difference… married 30, divorced 30. Go figure. Parents. What’s a kid to do?)

C and D are home, getting a break from the “vigil”, grabbing a bite to eat. Little sis J is now at work, tending to (among other animals) a dog in hospice. Mom is back at her assisted living bachelorette pad. LD is at home, likely processing the shock of this. 21 and he’s not been witness to death like this. His great aunt died in January, but he only attended the wake. Seeing death as it slowly takes away a loved one is difficult, even when you know it’s coming.

Please pray for a sweet, gentle passage for my dad. Please pray Mojo gets here in time. And please pray that we all remember to tell those important to us how much we love them.

2017/12/08

More Fires, More Worries

Da Goddess @ 18:33

My little sister and her husband and dogs AND my attorney are in areas now in fire danger.

Prayers are welcome.

Update: everyone I know is safe. Still sad concerned about people who continue to be in harm’s way is the rest of SoCal.

2017/12/07

The World is on Fire

Da Goddess @ 10:15

While it may not be the world world, it’s getting quite a bit more of my world involved.

Southern California is, once again, ablaze. Some keep referring to the fires as *brushfires*. These are most decidedly NOT mere brushfires. These are deadly wildfires.

Raging out of control, aided by strong Santa Ana winds, which are expected to kick up to gusts up 90mph in some areas.

We are safely away from the fires. All I can do, all any of us can do, is to pray for the safety of those in harm’s way.

May all y’all be sheltered in a safe location as your neighborhood is evacuated. May the firefighters and police and pilots be safe as they fight the fires and help evacuate communities go up in flames.

Praying this all ends quickly and with minimal loss of life.

2017/11/02

25 Years of Mojo!

Da Goddess @ 00:28

Happy birthday to my glorious first born!

Mojo, you have always been my little ray of sunshine. You were and are the best of me, the best of your biological father, and the best of our entire family.

I’m continually awed by the way you carry yourself and the way you show kindness and compassion toward others. I don’t think I know anyone else — other than your brother — who is quite as generous a spirit as you. And believe me when I say that he wouldn’t have come along if it hadn’t been for YOU! You opened my heart in ways I’ll never be able to explain.

Happy birthday, honey! I love you more than words allow!

2017/10/03

Happy Birthday, LD!

Da Goddess @ 03:25

My beautiful boy is 21 years old today.

He is a gift to all who know and love him.

What an amazing young man my Little Dude has grown up to be.

Happy birthday, kiddo! I love you so much!

2017/07/27

The CUTEST Site on the Internet

Da Goddess @ 15:45

You’ll thank me for this. You will.

2017/07/04

Happy Independence Day!

Da Goddess @ 10:26

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…

Celebrate our hard won rights and remember those who fought for those rights.

Be safe and have yourselves a beautiful day!

2017/05/18

Five One

Da Goddess @ 21:24

Today I turned 51.

My exciting day has been full of thrills, the likes of which you’ve never seen. Well, you probably have, but I’m betting you wouldn’t wish to experience.

I got back my voice after a day of not having one, the consequence of some crazy ass sore throat of unbelievable intensity. My uvula was swollen and bumpy, as was the back of my tongue. The tongue bumps were large, scratchy, and raw, surrounded by hard patches. I’ve never had anything like this before and hope to never have again. I’m dousing my throat with chloraseptic spray, eating jello, drinking tea and water, and basically resting as much as possible, while also trying to keep my back pain to just under a roar.

This was on top of knowing my sister was dealing with my dad getting out of the hospital for the second time in three weeks due to congestive heart failure. It’s a new diagnosis for Dad and I know all too well what that means for him. He insists he feels fine in between hospital stays, but it’ll eventually get to the point where he’ll need more meds to help keep fluid from building up and he’ll become less comfortable more frequently.

Dad’s 86 now and even though I’m older, I don’t like the thought of losing him (or my mom, or any sisters) any time in the near future. I’m not ready for this.

So. Yeah, so. That’s how I’ve spent my birthday. Happy fucking birthday to me.

2017/04/16

Christos Anesti!

Da Goddess @ 08:52

Christos Anesti! He is Risen!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

Before the dawn, Mary and the women came and found the stone rolled away from the tomb. They heard the angelic voice: “Why do you seek among the dead as a man the One who is everlasting light? Behold the clothes in the grave! Go and proclaim to the world: The Lord is risen! He has slain death, as He is the Son of God, saving the race of men.”

Thou didst decend into the tomb, O Immortal, Thou didst destory the power of death! In victory didst Thou arise, O Christ God, proclaiming “Rejoice” to the myrrhbearing women, granting peace to Thy apostles, and bestowing resurrection to the fallen.

The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin! Again I say: Rejoice! Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb! With Himself He has raised all the dead! Rejoice, all you people! Shine! Shine! O New Jerusalem! The Glory of the Lord has shone on you! Exalt now and be glad, O Zion! Be radiant, O Pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection of your Son!

Happy Easter, my friends!

2016/12/25

Merry Christmas!

Da Goddess @ 00:29

May the light shine upon you and those you hold dear.

And now I bring you my favorite Christmas song of all. It’s my favorite version and it wouldn’t be Christmas for me if I didn’t post it.

2016/12/24

Christmas Eve is Here

Da Goddess @ 15:17

Justin Hines, y’all. Please, pray for a Christmas miracle for him. Give him his breath and song again.

2016/10/18

Ramblings of a Failed (yet Successful) Parent

Da Goddess @ 21:32

I didn’t blog about L.D.’s birthday back at the beginning of the month. I thought about it. A lot. But I still managed to not post a single word. Perhaps it was my way of denying that my baby was no longer a teenager. Maybe it was just because I was finding it difficult to admit I missed him terribly. It was likely a combination of the two. Reglardless, I should have posted something and celebrated it with the few of you who still read the blog.

So, yeah, my Little Dude is now officially out of his teens. 20 is just the beginning of his adult life. I’m both immensely proud of him for being the sweetest, gentlest young man I know while simultaneously worrying about what comes next for him. He’d had his heart set on a military career only to have his hopes and dreams killed by a single hearing test. While the military’s test is admittedly inadequate, his documentation from his doctor that proved his hearing was fine wasn’t accepted. Since then, I’ve been full of concern over what will become of him, where he’ll find new inspiration for a new dream or two. He’s so smart, so creative, so thoughtful. He’s really a great kid…er…man. I wish so very much for his happiness and contentment, for him to find his path to a satisfying life, doing something that fills his heart and soul with joy. In other words, I fret like every other parent does as their children grow up.

Then there’s Mojo. She’ll be 24 in a couple weeks. She’s living so far from home, married to a wonderful man, and, yet, I still think of her as my baby. It’s just so wrong that we can’t shake those images of our children as infants. On the other hand, I never want to forget. I never want to forget the wonder I felt as I heard her heartbeat for the first time. I never want to forget the overwhelming love I had from the moment I first laid eyes on her. I never want to forget how she felt in my arms when I first got to hold this tiny miracle that somehow came from me. I feel that way about both kids, but I think it’s especially potent with Mojo because she was my first absolute and truest love. You never get over that. Nor should you.

I’m proud of her. Proud of how she’s followed her heart and found a man who truly loves her, believes in her. Mo’s educated herself (though I wish she’d go back and get a bachelor’s in something!), she’s filled her heart and home with love. She’s bright, funny, loving, generous, and all around swell. What more could I ask for? Turns out, I want more. For her and her brother, I want everything. I want the sun to always shine upon them. I want fortune to always favor them. But that’s what I ask of the universe, not of them. From them, I want only to know they’re trying and giving their best — to themselves and to others.

I hope they’ll forgive their old mum for my lackluster performance. I hope they’ll know that I’ll always love them. And I hope they’ll know — forever and always — that they are the best things I’ve ever done and ever will do.

I may have failed in a myriad of ways as a parent, but I’ve never failed in my love for them, nor have I ever regretted having them. As I said above (and many times before), they are the best of me, my greatest loves, the one thing I’ve ever done with the clearest mind and fullest heart. My failings should never be thought of as theirs. And their successes are theirs alone. One day, when my time is done, I will be able to say, with nary a bit of exaggeration, I’ve done something wonderful and left the world a better place if only because of them.

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