Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘listen’ Category

“How true Daddy’s words were when he said: all children must look after their own upbringing. Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”

~Anne Frank~

This week I am visiting my mom and brother. The house still feels vacant without dad. It’s even worse this time as I am sleeping in mom and dad’s king size bed. Mom is too weak to sleep in their bed due to sciatica and we have company. Mom wants them to sleep in bedrooms next to each other. One of those is mine. I never thought I would be sleeping in my parents’ bed, especially this soon after losing dad.

Mom sleeps downstairs since she is too weak to climb upstairs often, especially when she is tired, like one is when climbing up to bed. She sleeps in dad’s hospital bed, and has adjusted to it and appreciates that it affords her the opportunity to sleep downstairs and still live in her home. It was an awful reality that must have hit her when I had that bed brought back up to our living room for her. The last time she was with her husband he was alive in that bed. The first time she saw him in death, he was in that bed where she now sleeps. I also have such a vivid memory of him in that bed up until the end, and then how gently they took him away for the last time.

Their bedroom still feels of dad. There is a pile of his clothes on the floor waiting to be given to someone. These are his favorite sweaters which he wore often. They are baby blue and bright red in color. I can still see him in the last pictures I took on “Duffy Christmas” in his pretty blue sweater, just barely hanging in there, but smiling and enjoying the attention and love especially from my brother. Somehow I can’t sleep on his side of the bed, not only since it’s further away from the bathroom. It’s almost to honor his presence that I just can’t go there. I struggle to breathe much of the time while I’m in my parent’s bed.

On their walls hang mostly religious pictures except for the counted cross stitch I gave them for their 50th wedding anniversary. It brings back memories of love, passion and a happy family gathering. I don’t remember their 60th as well since dad was so weak already by then. June 7 would have been their 63rd anniversary.

I am gradually getting through the milestones of mom and dad’s lives where we celebrated life together. This year as we grieve, they’ll be a little tougher to face, but I am hopeful that the joy they have represented to me will return.

Anne Frank was such a wise child. My father did put me on a number of right paths, and I had his guidance for so many years of my life, yet with his passion and caring temperament, I felt like I could be my own person. Other than telling me to pick up my room or clean up some mess or the other, he let me mold my own life. I did learn a lot by his great example of warmth, love and one who would always listen and give good council.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

A number of friends have told me that grieving comes and goes for about a year after you lose a loved one like your Dad, Mom, a spouse or sibling. In a cooperative vein I would like to share a recent experience.

Rodgers and I just returned from Washington, DC, a 1,750 mile drive. During those couple of days we caught up on our lives as we often work so furiously just before these long road trips. We were away 3½ weeks. Our excuse was Rodgers’ art show at Susan Calloway’s in Georgetown, but we spent most of our time with our Moms and our siblings which was great, especially as we had lots of beautiful snow fall, and to clean up after!

We were so grateful that not one snowflake fell the whole way home. As we drove, we spoke about how great it was to be with our families, and we enjoyed the views of the states we passed through: Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and home sweet home, Colorado. I particularly enjoyed the dreamy scenes in Indiana. It was a gray day and there was snow everywhere, veiny tree branches, and that kind of fog that keeps you from seeing much more than a quarter of a mile. There was so little color that I felt like I was seeing in black and white, like an Andrew Wyeth painting.

The phone rang periodically and we spoke with our families. Rodgers was so excited as he got a call from Evergreen Fine Art to do an art demo on April 30th. We both knew that day wouldn’t work since that would be the Friday before the Cottonwood Art Festival in Richard, TX, so we would be setting up that evening. So Rodgers spoke with the gallery’s management and changed the date to the last Friday in June.

As I listened to Rodgers negotiate a new date, all I could think of was, “April 30th is Dad’s birthday, and this is the first one where he won’t be here.” It felt strange and lonely to think about April 30th without celebration. I suddenly felt so sad, and I deeply missed his presence, and the opportunity to express my love and care for him which the dear man so appreciated.

I comforted myself with a drive down memory lane in Boonville, MO where my Mom spent most of her youth. I took a bunch of pictures to share with her. She is 92 and too weak to return there again. I will surprise her in a couple of weeks when I return to DC and show her the pictures. The party is over for our Moms, so we seek small ways to make them happy.

Boonville MO Thespian Hall

Read Full Post »

This is my second trip home since Dad died. It’s easier than the first trip since I was so overwhelmed by his absence and the first trip was only 4 weeks after his funeral. I still dreamt about him every night. I couldn’t think beyond the last couple of weeks of his life, and how he had steadily declined until he died. The dreams were vivid and I awoke in a heavy sweat. 

My Notre Dame sisters from my class, friends and family have been so supportive through prayers, notes, phone calls, and many shared their experiences about losing their parents. My husband listened to me talk about Dad over many dinners like a broken record: I just couldn’t stop. One classmate had a particularly hard time with Sunday church after she lost her Dad, which she attributed to the healing process. It helped to hear her perspective as I was having a hard time getting through Sunday church too. I was numb and felt sad and disconnected at the same time. I feel less sad now.

On this trip, I knew I had to deal with my Mom, her loneliness and her pain. Her physical pain is bad so we don’t think about Dad as much since we’re preoccupied with keeping her comfortable. God knows we love her, and hate to see her wincing. We help her with daily living and it feels good to give back.

A number of friends have said, “Make sure you grieve fully for your Dad.” “Take time for yourself.” “Be kind to yourself.” It sounds good, but who really has time for this when you still have your Mom to care for who grieves after 62 years of marriage with this man?

I have a business to run, and yet I want to take care of my Mom as best I can and I live 1,750 miles away. When do I have time to grieve? When do I have time for myself? When do I have time to run my business? I don’t even have children…how do my friends with children listen and cope with all these emotions and the realities of life?

After I put my night owl Mom to bed, I come upstairs where it is quiet and peaceful as there is no TV noise. I need quiet to do my work as most of it is cerebral. I need to be creative to execute what I do and yet I am so tired!

I want to write e-books, and know that I write best at the wee hours. But while I visit Mom, I postpone this since I have to catch up on business during this time.

It’s cold here in Virginia and we just dug out from two feet of snow and it is snowing again. Like the weather, I know my feelings are temporary and fleeting. I am an optimist and things always work out. Eventually I will take time for myself and continue the process of grieving for my Dad. This blog helps. In the meantime I am grateful for the love and passion Dad instilled in me.

Read Full Post »

I am blogging from Virginia where we just had a major snowstorm. It was so beautiful and peaceful to have such a quiet weekend where scarcely anyone could drive past my Mom’s home. It is in this spirit of peace and gratefulness that I share this poem I wrote.

The Art of Life

The most precious Art I know of
Is the art of life.
It can be expressed without
Hammer, brush, banjo, pen or clay.
Yet whoever shares this art of life,
Brings a sparkle to other’s lives.
He sees and doesn’t draw;
She listens and hears, yet doesn’t sing or strum.
Theirs is the art of listening and caring,
Choosing to be present for friends and strangers alike.

I shared this poem in my cooperative intelligence blog as a new year’s wish. This epitomizes the way my Father was. He was present for friends, family and strangers alike. He was not an artist in the way Rodgers, my husband a fine oil painter is. Life was just simply art due to his attitude towards other people as well as his actions. He had time and love for us no matter how busy he was.

My intention during 2010 is to get better at listening generously to the people who cross my path regardlesss of my relationship to them. I hope this poem engages you to be all you can be this year!

Read Full Post »