A Little Birdy Told Me

A Bit of Daily Joy

Love this video of a little bird flirting with a country boy.  If you don’t like bluegrass, fast forward to minute 1.25.  Me, I believe I’ll listen to the  whole thing.  🙂

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Exhaustion

I am exhausted in depths and directions I never knew existed.  Every day my dad wakes up is a miracle.  Nobody, and I do mean nobody, thought he would make it this long. He’s had signs on his body for 3 weeks that most physician consider signs of the final hours or days.  This is a waiting that I don’t think I could have ever appreciated had I not been through it.  My dad is simply not going to get better; I know that.  He’s quality of life is horrible; I know that.  But the thought of him not being here breaks me.  I am on edge every morning when I wake up to go check on him.

He’s also sick enough now that one missed sign will mean the end.  The other day I was alone with my dad and noticed the smallest white around his mouth while he was laying back sleeping.  Even though vomiting doesn’t normally come with this, he had started to throw up.  This is extremely dangerous when a person is too weak to turn or lift their head.  I went into overdrive trying to get him sitting upright, clear his mouth and keep him as clean as possible.  It scared me to death because had I not noticed, he likely could have aspirated, which would mean the end.  I would have always felt like I missed something that could have given him more time.  Being on edge like that, ALL THE TIME, is exhausting.  (Although, afterwards I couldn’t help but laugh because my dad and I both kept asking each other, “are you alright?” throughout the ordeal.  Imagine him checking on me in the middle of that mess.  I also laughed because all I had for him to throw up in was a bowl of ice cream I had been nursing.  He deserves better than the Three Stooges care he often gets from me.)

I can’t help but try to find things to look forward too now.  I know several of my friends my think it is weird that I have said that I want to get together, perhaps late August or September for dinner, or that I want to come see their new home, or that we should go out to the beach for the weekend.  I seems weird to be making plans after my life changes so much.  I know this type of exhaustion is not sustainable.  I know that it can’t go on forever.  I am staying with my dad as long as my dad stays with me.  But, I have to have something good to look forward to too.

So even though I am past going, I am going to get myself up from this computer and go start making food for my dad’s next meal.  I’m going to change his sheets and clothes.  I’m going to find music he wants to listen to.  I’m going to feed him.  I’m going to love him.  I will rest some other time.  But, man, I really am tired.

A Hardee’s Anniversary

My parent’s celebrated their 37th anniversary on June 26th.  It was an anniversary we never expected to see.  Not a single doctor (nor family member) thought my dad would live to see it.  In fact, in the draft of his obituary that my mother and I would encouraged to write ahead of time, we wrote that they had been married 36 years.  Guess he showed us.

Aside from the fact that we are all exhausted,  Thursday was a pretty happy day.  Darin sent Mom and Dad a beautiful peace lily with two red roses on display.  My dad’s office staff sent cake and ice cream, and insisted that he get the rose so he could get the most icing.  (He loves the icing.)  Mom gave him some jazz and bluegrass CDs.  Dad and I got mom a new tree for her yard, which she LOVED, and a handmade mandolin set in a sea shell because they had their honeymoon at the beach and my father was an avid mandolin player.  To top off the evening, we got food brought in from Hardee’s.  My dad has always loved to eat.  After their wedding, they made it 30 minutes down the road before my dad was hungry again, so they stopped at the nearest restaurant they could find for their first meal as husband and wife; that restaurant was Hardee’s.

Sometimes, I hope I can take joy in such small things as my parents have.  Their honeymoon was so small, at a beach just a few hours from here. The highlight was a frozen yogurt place that my mom fell in love with, so my dad took her there every day.  I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want to have my honeymoon somewhere exotic like Thailand.  I also would have laughed hysterically at my husband for being so hungry that he needed to eat 30 minutes after a reception filled with food.  I would have gladly eaten at Hardee’s with him, but it would have been amusing.

On the other hand though, the take out brought home from Hardee’s to share with my parents on their 37th anniversary was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten.  I may have more lavish hopes for somethings, but that simple burger shared on an anniversary that nobody thought would come was one of the sweetest meals of my life.

Love you Mom and Dad.

How to Protest- Lessons from Baby Matthew

The last few days have been a whirlwind.  My brother, his wife and my precious nephew came to visit.  Matthew was thoroughly disenchanted with traveling over 1000 miles in two days to come visit.  In fact, he voiced his protest in the only way a 9 month knows how to…  He pooped in his car seat 30 minutes down the road and proceeded to smear it all over the car, himself, and yes, the child ate some too.  This debacle all happened while my brother was towing a ton, literally, of household supplies to their new house in Tennessee.  My brother screamed, “SHIT!” and his wife Leighia asked “What?”  He repeated, “No really!  Shit!  Shit everywhere!  Get the baby!!!”  So, being a good wife and mother, Leighia did acrobatics to propel herself into the backseat to restrain the irate baby as he tried to further cover her in his excrement.  Apparently, it takes time to pull off the interstate when you’re hauling a trailer with a ton behind you truck, but they eventually found respite on the side of the highway.  Then they realized they were nearly out of baby wipes and the diaper changing station was no where to be found.  So, they began cleaning precious, little Matthew up on the side of the highway where he proceeded to crawl into a pile of fire ants.  After cleaning him up and getting rid of the ants, they looked at their pile of shit and shit covered clothing.  Leighia asked Rob, “How opposed are you to littering?”  My brother replied, “In this case, just get it into the woods.”  Ahhhh, the joys of parenthood.

So, that is the kind of excitement I’ve been living with for the last week.  I’m going to miss his mischievousness.  He loves climbing and is curious about EVERYTHING.  I love him so much.  And, while enjoying watching my brother handling baby debacles is sure to earn me some bad-future-baby-karma points, I think I’m just  going to have to laugh at them anyhow.

The Joneses Get Their Wings

This week my brother, Rob, got his wings.  Despite a couple PT debacles that culminated in his officer oversleeping for his final PT test, Rob’s commander pushed him through graduation in hopes that he could come home soon to be with our family.

So today, he graduated from flight school with the US Army.  He’ll be flying Mike model blackhawks for Uncle Sam. We were initially heartbroken to not be able to go to his graduation to celebrate his work and achievements.  But, sometimes there are plans greater than any individual could contrive.

My brother’s wife texted my mom and me today right when my brother was about to graduate.  I kid you not…  The very next moment, an Army helicopter (a chinook to be exact) flew over our house.  My cell phone started ringing off the hook from friends asking if we saw it, and the visitors at our house stood in shock.  The chopper was so close you could feel the house tremble.  It was the only way possible, given the distance between us, that my dad, mother, and I could celebrate my brother getting his wings, and in that moment, we all knew it.  It was an immeasurable gift that could only have come from those who fly without aid of equipment.

Congratulations Rob!  We are so proud of you, and I am so happy we could celebrate with you today in our own unique way.

Things That Make Me Grateful

I’ve spent the last week bitchin’ and moanin’ and cryin’.  I think it’s high time I put on my big girl panties and take note of a few things for which I am grateful.

I am grateful for:

  1. Having a job that lets me work from my parent’s home.  Even though I’m not working much now, I’ve spent the last several weeks at home thanks to a good employer.  I have no doubt that if I hadn’t been able to work from home, my dad would have been moved to a hospice facility, which was against his and my wishes.  I’ve worked for the devil before; a good employer goes a long ways.
  2. Being an integral role in my dad’s care.  This gave me the opportunity for him to grab my hand every once and awhile, look at me and smile.  It gave me the opportunity to tell him I love him, everyday, many times.  It also gave me the opportunity to hear him tell me he loves me too.
  3. Having great friends.
  4. Partaking in good, long, ugly-face cries.  (Deepest apologies to Darin Aldridge who will likely never know this blog exists, but thanks anyhow.)
  5. Finding this post on pinterest that shows a women walking down the aisle carrying bouquet with a small photo frame of her father.  I can’t tell you what a comfort it is to find some tangible way that my daddy can walk down the aisle with me.
  6. My mother finally crying over Dad, and telling me she was sorry.  I’m pretty sure that the sorry was not only for her frustration the last few days, but that this entire situation happened.
  7. Having the best family I could ask for.
  8. Being able to help my dad find my mother’s anniversary gift.
  9. Having a little glimmer of hope that one day I will feel a little better.

Learning to Pause

I rationally know that there should be pauses in life. All of my hobbies hing on timing: music, dance, martial arts, even weight lifting and running. To have good timing, you have to not only know when to do something, but when to not.

Today, I told work that I’m going to stop working (sans two important phone calls over the next week, I know, I know). I’ve been trying to telecommute for over a month now, and they have been more than generous to let me. But, I need a pause. Daddy had pneumonia, is struggling to breathe and is not making any sense anymore. It’s heartbreaking to hear such as rational man not make sense. It’s heartbreaking to look into his eyes and not see my bubbly, warm Daddy looking back at me anymore.

My brother is struggling with when to pause too. He has never once failed a PT test, but his very last PT test before graduation, he didn’t pass. If he had been evaluated on his performance the day before, he would have passed. He did PT twice the day after, and would have passed both of those too. Based on how he counted, he should have passed, but somehow his count was not the same as what his reported numbers showed. 4 stinking situps. He is crushed. Not passing means he cannot get home again until next Tuesday, but then is not needed back on base until July 25th. If he had passed, he would have been able to come home this weekend, but would be needed on base all of next week. I have to believe that he is just supposed to get here next Tuesday, and be with us for a few weeks. He’s not ready to hear that, but it’s the only way I know to make sense of it.

The other person that needs to pause is my mother. She’s running around like a banshee. She is now refusing to let anyone help get her groceries or help in any way. She finally told me yesterday that she just wanted to yell at someone because she was so sad. That was nice to hear. It gives me more patience with her. I hate when she runs off. I’m not terrified to have to call the funeral home, or the doctor to pronounce him. But I am afraid to be here alone when it happens. I don’t know why I’m so afraid of that, but I am. I guess I’m not really afraid for him, but I am afraid to experience that much sorrow alone. I don’t get why she can’t see that I don’t want to be left alone here so much.

Ah, family dynamics. Aren’t they great? My dad and I were always a great team. My brother, my mom and I all make a great team too, but it’s different than the ease with which my dad and I worked through things. I am going to miss my dad so much.