2018/07/14

My New Motto

Da Goddess @ 23:04

From Paula Pell:

I’m gonna hang on to hope like a cat on a fucking lace curtain. Wild eyed, fully aware that it will eventually be okay.

That about sums up everything.

Overwhelmed

Da Goddess @ 09:40

I’ve spent much of the past couple weeks overwhelmed by emotions. Just about anything and everything reminds me of Dad. Sometimes the memories bring smiles; mostly, though, I’ve been drowning in my tears.

One of the most overwhelming thoughts running through my brain is the last truly lucid conversation I had with Dad. I cringe when I think of it. I know it caused him distress to think of me unhappy and in a precarious situation. I regret that so much. I want to go back and just talk about everything except my troubles. I want to go back and just ask him to tell me stories about his life.

The thing is, I can’t go back. Nor can I change the conversation we had. I also know I can’t live with regret over something that cannot be changed. So, for now, I let the tears fall and focus on his final night, our conversations throughout the night, and the fact I was able to be there with him. It brings some comfort, but it’s also a work in progress. I’m a work in progress.

I know grief is a process and can’t be rushed. I know this will take as long as it takes. I’m just going to keep working through the emotional jungle of life and hope I get it right at some point.

Getting older and adulting ain’t for sissies.

2018/07/06

Sucker Punch to the Gut

Da Goddess @ 20:22

It was already over 100° in the shade before 11am. The forecast called for 110° at some point. My first thought was to call Dad and harangue him into going somewhere with adequate air conditioning. I had the phone in my hand, pulling up my directory before it hits me: he’s gone.

I sobbed.

Twice more throughout the morning, I reached for the phone to call. Both times I practically doubled over as if punched. It physically hurts to remember he’s gone.

Even as I type this, it hurts. Tears rolling down my face, I’m gutted.

I keep waiting for everything to stop hurting when I think of Dad. I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon.

I miss you, Daddy.

P.S. it was 112°+ on the porch, in the shade at 1900. If I’d wanted temps like this, I’d’ve stayed in Vegas.

2018/07/04

The Spirit of America on Independence Day

Da Goddess @ 00:01

Flag Day 2009

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

~ The Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

Be safe, have fun, and remember that Freedom is tentative and we must be vigilant, that we must defend it. We cannot take it for granted. Nor can we take for granted those who protect our freedoms.

God bless our troops! God bless America!

And, God, please don’t let these fools playing with fireworks set the whole of Southern California ablaze. Thanks!

2018/06/26

I’ll Whisper Softly

Da Goddess @ 00:01

Twelve years ago he left us.

I miss him still.

I keep thinking of all the people I’ve met who would have loved him. They might not have agreed with everything he said, but they would have enjoyed the way he said it.

I miss you, Rob. I hope your spirit is at peace these days.

2018/06/25

Much Better

Da Goddess @ 02:55

Fletch kitty is so much better today!

I have no idea what made him sick in the first place, but I’m super grateful he’s better now.

He’s back to begging for treats, playing, and head butting me for scritches. He’s kneading blankets, purring, and seeking buddy time (his version of the “almost” cuddle). Currently, he’s lying atop the couch behind me.

My favorite part of Fletch feeling better is watching him sun himself in the window. You know your cat isn’t feeling well when he won’t sun himself.

I’m breathing easier, grateful that whatever was wrong is now right again. I cannot deal with more loss at this point. Y’all hear me?! God have mercy on me.

2018/06/23

Better

Da Goddess @ 21:43

Fletch is doing so much better today. He’s a little more playful, eating like it’s his job, and he’s back to patrolling the perimeter windows, keeping us safe from the neighborhood strays.

I’ll continue to be on alert, though, until he’s begging to be fed every few hours.

My sweet fuzzy baby…he means the world to me. I can’t help but worry.

2018/06/22

Sounds Like Surf Letch, But It’s Not

Da Goddess @ 16:20

Fletch

Fletch on a healthier day

I came home from San Diego to a sick cat. Barfing up everything he ate. Lethargic. Just. Not. Right. Sir Fletch is sick and I don’t like it!

I’ve been watching him closely since Wednesday evening, and while there has been improvement, he’s still not himself.

Frankly, I’m worried as hell. He’s still a young’n. He’s only seven!

He’s done so well this last year; losing weight, becoming more active, and generally just being a super dude. Now? This is not good.

There are days when I struggle to get up to feed Fletch, but I get up nonetheless. He comforts me when I’m hurting most. He’s my little Bubba.

Seems weird to ask for prayers for a cat, but he’s so much more than “a cat” — he’s my fuzzy lovekin. If you’re so inclined, please send some healing vibes his way. Thanks.

Signed, an internally panicking guardian

2018/06/18

Nervous

Da Goddess @ 04:18

In a few hours we’ll be gathered at the house of Dad’s friends, celebrating Dad. His car club friends will be there, family, old family friends will be joining us, and it’ll be…a little overwhelming. Emotionally, it’ll be a heavy day. I mean, it’ll be lovely to have everyone together reminiscing, but it’ll be heavy on the old ticker for us.

I’m nervous about whether or not I’ll be able to say anything in front of a crowd. I know I CAN, but can I really? I want to. I want people to know the Dad I knew. I want them to see a side of him reserved just for us kids. But there’s a part of me that also wants to keep that between us girls.

I don’t know. I’m wavering. I don’t like wavering. I don’t like nervous.

Say a prayer for us girls, would you? I’d appreciate it very much. Thanks.

2018/06/17

Father’s Day Without Dad

Da Goddess @ 00:01

My dad was many things to many people — father, husband, friend, the guy who could fix just about anything, the guy who yelled, or just plain old Dick P.

He had a crusty, grumpy, gruff outer shell that surrounded a warm, kind, and also sometimes gruff, crusty, grumpy soft center. The simple truth is that Dad was a good guy, once you got to know him. There was a time when I was much younger, but still old enough to know better, when his outer shell was the source of much embarrassment; right or wrong, it’s just how it was. Because even though he was always a good man, you first had to get past the blustering crank that would let loose with racial slurs that would make your mama blush. Yes, that was part of him, but a small part. And it changed over the years. He went from Archie Bunker Supreme Insulter to Archie Bunker’s Learned A Lesson Contriteness. His first instinct was to be on the defensive, but once he got to know you and you him, you had a friend for life. It was just his way and I learned, over the years, that it was okay to let him be him and I didn’t have to own any part of it. Eventually, he mellowed…or maybe I did. Or maybe it was both. All I know is once Mojo came along (and later, LD), I’d told him point blank that he’d have to watch what he said around her because I didn’t want her hearing some of his words. It had a huge effect on him because he was careful…mostly. Ultimately, his love for his grandkids made him want to be the best version of himself possible. He wanted them to grow up knowing Papa was on the job! And that’s what they always had with him. And, by the way, while I was in the hospital having Mojo, Dad was on a plane having a heart attack! The lesson I learned that day was to never give up hope when it comes to a man who wants to meet his first grandchild! Thanks to the quick actions of the plane crew, his buddy Rex, and everyone who worked to keep him alive, not to mention that stubborn streak he has, he survived. Don’t count him out when he’s motivated!

My earliest memories of Dad are of him working on Model Ts or Model As, driving around to find car parts, walking through the woods, playing in the big backyard of our first home in Strongsville, Ohio. I recall him working with a neighbor to repair the bridge over the creek that ran behind the house, watching them work while I looked for turtles and frogs. He was always there. Always doing something to make our little part of the world safer. I also remember sitting in one of his old cars, pressing the button and the car springing to life. I might have been all of 2 at the time. He came running out to see what happened. Of course he knew, but he had to ask, “did you start the car?” And being a kid, I, of course, lied, “no, Daddy.” I know he was likely more frightened than angry, but I wasn’t left alone in the car — not for one second — after that. Probably a wise decision. That might’ve been when I first began to think my name was either Jesus Christ or God Damnit. I eventually learned everybody shared those first names with me!

I remember, too, how he’d take us kids to the airport to see the Sea World animals arrive each year. It was a very big deal. We got to see the animals up close, touch some of them, and even get to hear the Sea World employees talk about the animals. Since American Airlines was a Sea World sponsor for many years, employees got discounts and we went as often as possible, not just in Ohio, but also in San Diego. It was a little like being part of a special club and something Dad liked to see us kids enjoy.

Another special club, to which I belonged, was the Daddy and I go hunting for car parts or go junking with his friend Norman and Norman’s son Ricky (who was born the day after me and, in fact, our parents met at the hospital because of us!) club. Sometimes we’d just head over to their house and spend hours in the greenhouse they had. No matter what, though, we’d end up back at our house, Dad making us breakfast. That was when I learned another lesson: I only like scrambled eggs that are completely beaten and thoroughly cooked! Yikes! You don’t need more than one breakfast of runny, egg-white lumpy scrambled eggs to make that your number one rule in life. Of course, Dad balanced the runny eggs with his grilling. In order for that to level the field, you gotta know he served everything from the grill WELL DONE. Never medium well. Never lower case well. Steaks, burgers, dogs…it was totally UPPER CASE WELL DONE. It was many many years before I learned to like my steak done to medium/medium well temp, though I will happily cop to still kind of enjoying hot dogs with a slightly darker crust to them. So many lessons from one man.

When I was about 8 or 9, we went to Magic Mountain. After trying to convince him I was brave enough to go on roller coasters, he finally relented and took me on the Gold Rush. I’m so glad he was with me because our safety bar didn’t lock and he physically held me in place the entire ride! It was scary, but it also made me want to try every other roller coaster in the park. And so he took me on every single one of them. Two lessons learned that day: 1) Dad is there to protect you. 2) Dad is there to encourage you and help you achieve your goals. Bonus lesson: if you’re tenacious to the point of being overwhelmingly pesky, Dad will eventually give in to the begging. But only at amusement parks. Or on Saturday mornings when Abbott and Costello, Little Rascals, or Laurel and Hardy were on. I’d plead to be allowed to watch before starting weekend chores. Because he liked comedy, he’d acquiesce. We’d watch together. No matter what pressing chores awaited us, he made time for us to laugh together.

But back to that whole saving my life thing.

That roller coaster ride wasn’t the only time Dad saved my life. Not long after that, we were visiting friends in Tucson and we took a big trip out to the Gila River to go tubing. Much of the river was a gentle flow of water, the sort of easy ride where the dads were in their inner tubes, beers in hand, watching us kids splash about, slowly making our way down river. Except, there was section that got a bit rough. In the middle of that section was a huge tangle of trees, and the water diverted around that was whirling and raging. Somehow, my tube got caught in an eddy just strong enough to pull me around to the backside of the tangle. Dad was right behind. My tube upended and threw me into the water, where I was almost immediately caught in the branches of the submerged trees. I struggled and knew I was losing the battle, and then…suddenly, an arm grabbed me and pulled me up to the surface. It was my dad. I could see the fear on his face, but instead of it making me more frightened, I immediately felt safer. I felt safe because my dad was there. My dad had saved me. In that moment, I knew everything was going to be okay. And it was. Mostly. While we kids seemed to only get browner and more golden, poor Dad had turned lobster red from the hot Arizona sun. Fun fact: on family trips to Tijuana, we’d always get stopped at the border. His farmer’s tan was even enough, just slightly olive enough to convince Border Patrol that Señor P was Mexican and therefore all the fair-haired kids in the car were cause for suspicion. All it took to dispel their misconceptions was for his shirt sleeve to ride up on his arm and his uber pasty white complexion to shine, nay GLARE, and prove he was most definitely not some weird guy smuggling obviously white girls INTO the United States. Fun fact lesson: either keep your tan line visible or learn to speak Spanish well enough to seem legit.

Around the same time as the near-drowning, I decided I wanted to play softball. I was the first in the family to try organized sports, and surprisingly, Dad was all for it. That first year, American Airlines was our team sponsor (actual coincidence as it was a neighbor’s father who also worked at AA and got us the sponsorship) and we became the Green Gremlins. Dad was proud. And despite his work schedule, he made it to as many games as he could, cheering loudly, and encouraging me the entire time. Eventually, J joined in the softball shenanigans and he and mom split their time so we’d, hopefully, have at least one of them at every game. It didn’t always work out that way, but they certainly tried their best. I was proud to be playing, even more proud when we’d win, because I knew Dad was proud. When you’re a kid, you really want to make your folks proud. I could do that with softball.

Somewhere in this time frame, I ended up getting pretty sick. Nobody was exactly sure what was going on (Epstein-Barr, thank you very much) and there were endless trips to the doctor and the hospital. At one point, Dad was the one left at my bedside for a change. Someone came in to take blood for more tests. This was not a man who dealt with blood well at all. I watched him go from pale to green in all of three seconds. I was actually afraid he was going to faint. But he hung in there. Remember that one lesson about Dad is there to protect you? Yep, sometimes he’ll even risk puking or fainting in front of you to get that job done. Later, when it was his turn to be in the hospital bed and my turn to sit bedside — this was during his first or second heart attack — I had to talk him through the removal of the angiocatheter they’d placed. I had to hold his dressing in place and talk him through the green/ready-to-puke phase. I almost couldn’t handle the five to ten minutes of the pressure dressing hold. (This was before I became a nurse.) Seeing Dad so weak and vulnerable in the hospital was too much. But because he’d always go the extra mile for me, it was my turn to do that for him. So, we did our best to keep him from passing out and it helped us both.

Other lessons were so subtle. The kind you don’t know you’re learning until later in life.

Growing up, we always had pets. While I missed out on the horses Mom and Dad had, I did benefit from the seemingly constant parade of dogs, cats, fish, guinea pigs, and for a very brief time — our cousins’ gerbils. Let’s just say the gerbil sitting experience was the reason none of us asked for our own once they went back to their rightful home. Dad was brave to go in and try to rescue the babies from their cannabilistic parents. But, more than the standard pet fare, Dad had a soft spot for animals in need of help. One of my favorite memories was of him tending to Irving, the injured crow. Who rescues crows? My dad! I don’t know what motivated him to want to save this wild bird, but he did. He showed us kids that we could help, that we could make a difference in an animal’s life. The day we released Irving, I cried. But Dad held my hand and gave me a hug, reassuring me that it was a good thing to let Irving return to a natural life. Just as he had done with a bat he’d rescued and rehabilitated. (That was just a story he and Mom would occasionally tell me because I think I would have remembered a bat living in a trashcan!) Anyway, it was a powerful lesson. One I’m sure he regretted teaching me as the years went on. He most certainly did NOT appreciate the snakes I brought home, or the stray cats, or the tarantula (especially since I was TERROR with that thing!). Despite me taking his lesson a little too much to heart and a little too far, this was a side of Dad that only we — for the longest time — got to see. Oh, he’d grumble plenty about the cats and the dogs and eventually the birds, but deep down, Dad loved animals. As soon as he’d sit down, there’d be a dog or a cat right by him. I once came home to find him sprawled across the good sofa, deep in his nap, lying on his back with his arm up and under his head. In the crook of his arm was my newly adopted kitten, Theron. in the same exact pose. Grumble grumble, that was Dad’s take on pets. Until he’d sit with them for a few minutes. THAT’S when you’d see the real Dad come out: a pet lover! When our dog Rändi was hit by a car, he was devastated. He scooped up her body, placed her in the back of the car, and quietly drove her home. He took her to be cremated, after which he buried her under a tree in the backyard…a place where he knew he’d always be able to find her. After my cat, Teddy, went missing just before we moved, Dad drove back to the old neighborhood every day for weeks looking for him. When our dog, Maggie, began to have seizures, Dad was heartbroken. Even more so when she got so bad she had to be put to sleep.

After the divorce, my dad said no more pets. And yet, he ended up with Tweety, the weird, but wonderful cockatiel. He doted on that bird. I mean, he let him have full run of the house! Every time you turned around, there seemed to be another perch or toy or something he got for the bird. They had their moments, to be sure. Tweety would get cranky and start biting more. Dad would get cranky and say he was ready to fry him up like chicken. Eventually they’d make up and Dad would be back to spoiling him. Whenever he’d dog sit Rexx or Max for Ron and Kathy, he’d watch to see how the dogs would react to the bird. Once he was certain everyone was cool, he’d relax and then laugh as the dogs would give Tweety a wide berth. No way they were taking a chance getting bitten!

The day J got her first horse was probably the happiest I ever saw Dad when it came to us and our animals. I think he really enjoyed seeing her and Smokey Joe together, reminding him of his days with a horse. He took great pride in watching J learn to ride and jump, hauling her and the horse…and us…to shows, pointing to them in the arena and saying, “look how well they’re doing!”

Yes, our animals were an added expense he’d grumble about from time to time, but he enjoyed having them around as much as we did. And they didn’t talk back to him like we would.

Growing up with a dad who yelled a lot, who worked odd hours, and who had absolutely no trouble putting us on restriction (oh my God, I think I was the MOST GROUNDED KID IN HISTORY!), it wasn’t really that awful. Deep down, we knew he yelled and got upset because he just wanted us to be safe and he wanted to provide as a father should. We didn’t always make things easy for him, but that’s what kids do. No matter how bad things got, he was always there for us. Maybe not in the form we would have chosen, but he was there. Plenty of people in this world never had that. We did.

He taught us to be curious and creative, encouraged us when times got rough, and bailed us out of trouble when he probably should have let us fail. So what if it all came wrapped in a crabby, thorny package? Dad was there.

Dad also taught us how to make lemonade from lemons. When he was laid off (with three growing daughters needing oh so much!), he could have been bitter and angry. He probably was. But he not only went out and found work, he started a business! In a way, that reminds me of a photo of him as a baby. Learning to walk, he always held someone’s hand and that became his preferred method of getting around. Of course, at some point, his parents knew they had to let him walk alone. He didn’t like that at all! What they did, however, was kind of genius: they stuck a bar of soap in his hand. The photo, which we can’t seem to find, shows a teeny tiny Richard with his arm raised up, soap in hand, ambulating. He didn’t get what he wanted, but he got what he needed to get the job done. It wasn’t that he settled for less than he wanted, he figured out what he wanted and made it happen with what he had on hand. Whether it was a bar of soap or starting his own business, he made good things happen when others might have thrown in the towel. He didn’t like giving up on anything or anyone. Thank God for that! We girls certainly gave him enough reason.

He could also surprise us. Once I got caught with an open beer in hand. The cops brought me home. Mom was livid, Dad was uncharateristically calm. The cops told my folks the beer was warm and probably had only been sipped once (really accurate, by the way. I didn’t much care for beer). While Mom wanted me grounded for weeks, for once, Dad was the one who advocated for a much more lenient punishment. One week grounded. Plus, I had to go along with whatever the cops recommended, which turned out to be either me washing their cars for a full day or me writing an essay as to the dangers of underage drinking. I chose the essay. He insisted on reading it before I dropped it off at the police station. Apparently he thought it was good because he told me he was proud that I’d learned my lesson (yeah, my lesson to never get caught with a beer I didn’t even want in the first place), and then he surprised me by saying he wasn’t worried about the beer. “If you’re occasionally going to take a sip of beer, it’s not the worst thing in the world. I just don’t want you out there drinking and driving and getting yourself or someone else killed, okay?” Honestly, that was the chillest moment ever for a teenager, especially this one!

Whatever and however hellish our teen years were for us and for our parents, we got through them and came to appreciate what Dad was all about. He was our protector and champion. He was our worst critic and best friend. He let us make our mistakes and try to comfort us as best he could when things went sour. And when it was time to give us away at our weddings, he was there, beaming with pride! I know he was proud that C had found D, and with D he ended up with not just a son-in-law, but a son, a friend, and someone who would be there for C no matter what. He also got a gearhead, car enthusiast, and a photographer! All things Dad loved! With J, he saw her husband, JL, as someone who was a good balance for her. He really appreciated how hard JL worked, how capable he was with his hands and with tools. He could relate! With me, he was glad I’d found someone who loved my daughter as much as he loved me. And soon it wasn’t just the DG, P, and Mojo show, because then there was LD! He had a
granddaughter AND a grandson! Watching him with the kids was really something. When they were small, I swear, I had to beg him to stop spoiling them. But he couldn’t help himself. He loved them both so much! He loved all of us, much more than he could or would put into words.

That was kind of the thing with Dad. Words weren’t really his milieu, his jam. His way of letting you know you mattered to him was in what he did.

Sometimes it was something as little as grabbing a burger together or sometimes it was as grand as buying you a decent used car because he was concerned about your safety. It could be seen in how frustrated he’d get when you told him you were sad (he only wanted to see you happy again) or after spending a couple hours together you’d come to find a twenty in your jacket pocket. Dad was a doer, not a sayer. Though he could surprise you there, too.

When he and Mom were divorcing, he was taking it pretty hard. If C was around, they might talk about the financial aspect of the whole thing. C was the analytical one, the one you go to when you want someone capable of taking charge of the minutiae. If I was around, he’d occasionally open up and tell me how much it hurt and how lonely it felt (mind you, he’d never said anything like that to me before, so I just shut up and let him talk). He knew I was the one who’d hold his hand and just let him feel what he was feeling. If J was there, he’d find a way to get her to do something…move things around the yard, do something with the horses. As long as they were doing something that required physical strength, they could work together and he’d feel better for it. With the three of us, he had different ways of communicating without necessarily spilling his guts. As I mentioned before, he opened up to me so briefly, and to this day, I’m honored that he did and even though he never really did again — not to that extent — he knew he was safe with me if he revealed his vulnerable side. Rarely did it manifest itself verbally, or rather, directly, because he’d talk about feelings, just in an indirect manner. He was of a generation and class of workingmen who believed in hard work and that’s how he expressed his love. For my dad it was about getting up, working hard, and making a better life for his kids. And that’s what this he did. Again, it was the same, but also different for all of us.

Mostly, he knew where each of our strengths were. He found a way to get across whatever he needed to say in a way we could best deal with. It takes someone who really pays attention to his kids to know how to do that. While we weren’t looking, he’d gotten to know us as people…as adults…and he acted accordingly. It was such a gradual occurence that we never noticed. Chalk it up as another lesson from Dad.

When I was recovering from back surgery at the skilled nursing facility, he came almost every day. Even though I appreciated his presence, I actually had to beg him to go do other things besides visit with me. When he was there, though, it was truly lovely. It was during those three weeks that I learned more about him than I had my entire life! I learned much more about his time in the Navy (and yet, after his death, we discovered even more!), about his lifelong love of photography and how he came by his first cameras. He told me stories about his friends, people we grew up knowing as if they were part of our family. While not always directly about himself, his stories revealed so much of who he really was. The person inside the Dad wrapping, you know? The sort of thing that takes forty years of knowing someone to surface. It floored me. It still does. Amidst the In n Out burgers and shakes, the simple conversations painted a more complete portrait of a man I thought I knew so well.

As I think of all the lessons Dad taught us through the years, the most valuable one came at the very end. When we were hurting the most, when we’d lost the one man who’d meant so much to us, he taught us that we can get through this together, that we are stronger together than we are apart. Knowing that, knowing that my sisters and I are all capable and strong in various ways, when we come together and work together, we become even stronger and more capable. From the moment Dad died, I knew we’d be okay because we still have one another. We don’t have to be anything other than who we are. We’re Dick P’s girls. And if that wasn’t enough, as C and J and I sat in together in C’s yard, discussing how to proceed, several crows flew overhead. Silently, at first. When are crows ever silent in flight? I said something referring to Irving, Dad’s rehabilitated crow. The crows flew overhead again, this time one of them let out the strangest sound. It wasn’t a typical caw caw…it was mournful, lamenting, it was muted and definitely not a caw. It felt like a sign. It felt like everything happening between us girls was good and right and what Dad always wanted for us, from us…and part of that final lesson.

I’m going to miss my dad for the rest of my life. There will always be a place in my heart just for him. But instead of being sad, I’m really grateful to have known him and I’m proud to have been his daughter. I’m proud to be one of Dick P’s girls.

__________________

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! Kids, appreciate what you have while you still have it. It goes by so quickly.

2018/06/15

On My Way

Da Goddess @ 12:03

On my way to San Diego for Dad’s memorial on Monday. Lots to do before then.

I’m so grateful to have my sisters, their husbands, Mom, and the kids. Wish Dad were still alive, but there’s nothing we can do about that. All we can do is celebrate the man he was and what he meant to us.

2018/06/07

One Month

Da Goddess @ 12:18

One month ago today I still had a dad. At least for a few hours.

There are days when his absence is felt immensely. It’s a rawness that no salve can soothe.

Deep down, I know he’s without pain, without limitations, and isn’t suffering any longer now. But on the surface I just want my Dad.

*Deep breath*

It’s taking a while to adjust. Still.

2018/06/06

Uh Oh

Da Goddess @ 00:38

Just realized Dad’s memorial is the day after Father’s Day.

That’ll be a heavy weekend.

2018/05/29

Mom. Mom. Mommy. Mom.

Da Goddess @ 16:30

Updates from C today are consistent with the way things seem to go with our family. One minute Mom is improving, the next minute she’s feeling a bit worse. Thankfully, the doctor has no problem keeping her hospitalized until she’s showing a solid pattern of improvement.

I hate being here while she’s there, but crowding into a hospital room while someone is trying to get well wears on them after a while. They can’t escape to go make dinner or cookies, nor can they excuse themselves to go take a nap or read while leaving you to watch TV.

As nice as it is to say you visited someone in hospital, the practice is actually less pleasant for most patients. True story.

Yes, there are times when patients are grateful for visitors, but staying longer than a few minutes can cause them discomfort, especially when they are actively fighting an exhausting disease process.

If you are invited to stay longer than a few minutes, be ready to:

1. Play cards or some other game.
2. Respect the need for privacy when medical personnel come to see the patient.
3. Leave if the patient shows any signs of fatigue.
4. Leave if asked by patient or staff.

If you can’t visit, call only if the patient can talk. Conditions like COPD can make speaking difficult. Instead, send a brief text to let them know you’re thinking of them.

Yeah, so I’m having to send short texts to Mom to let her know she’s on my mind. But, you better believe I’m heading down as soon as I can so I can give her a hug and kiss, tell her to get to gettin’ better, and to see for myself how she’s doing. There are a couple complications on this front, but nothing that can’t be worked around or through.

Until I can get there, I’m grateful for C, D, and J…and Mojo doing everything they can to keep Mom’s spirits up and to keep her focused on getting better.

2018/05/27

Memorial Day Weekend 2018

Da Goddess @ 11:59

I still very much miss the days when Little Dude and I walked Ft. Rosecrans, placing flags before the graves of those who served our country, be they military or military dependents. I miss the sight of all the scouts who were swarming the cemetery doing the same thing. I miss the time LD and I had after everyone else had left, time we used to explore, learn, remember, and revere those who not only answered the call to serve but gave all.

There is nothing as sobering as the sight of waves of headstones upon the sea of grass too vivid for the somber reflection taking place. But, perhaps, the grass really should be that green so there’s no mistaking the pale, bleached bone-white gravemarkers. Azure skies, searing green hills, white-as-bone gardens of stone. It’s haunting and humbling.

One could easily forget Memorial Day is more than a long weekend of BBQ, friends, and relaxation. Many do. I don’t. I know you, dear reader, don’t. Even so, I still need to post a reminder — as much for myself as for others. I need to remember. I WANT to remember. Those who gave themselves for this notion of freedom, of democracy, deserve our attention. It’s the simplest manner of honoring what they did and what we have.

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Another reminder of that for which our military fought, two stories of the realities of war. We were fortunate here in the US that our parents and grandparents weren’t evacuated, didn’t have to endure bombings as happened in England and Europe. They did, however, fear it could happen. So, read the two links above and join me in a moment of silence as I thank our military for fighting so hard to keep the war from our shores during WWII.

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Memorial Day Ft. Rosecrans, San Diego


ON ROSECRANS HILL
by Jeffrey T. Naas

On Rosecrans hill the grasses grow
Between the headstones row on row
That mark our place as in the sky
The gulls, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard against the surf below

We are the dead. Not long ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunsets glow
We chose for freedom’s cause to die
And now upon this hill we lie
As grasses green above us grow

We knew the price we had to pay
To keep the enemy at bay
We gave our all, we fought the fight
To keep aglow sweet freedom’s light
Remember this, we ask today

One thing we ask of those not slain
Will you fight on for freedom’s reign?
If war returns, as it well might
Will you take up the gallant fight?
Yes, answer us! You who remain

And so we lie here, asking still
If you, our sons, will have the will
To sacrifice as we did then
That your sons, too, may live free men
As we wait still, on Rosecrans hill

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