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Archive for the ‘warmth’ Category

Losing Dad hits me at the oddest times. The latest was yesterday as I was itemizing the mileage log for my business taxes. In order to do that, I had to review my 2009 calendar. Once I got to November, all I could do was think about Dad, and I found myself tearing and progressively bawling as I went through this exercise. I paused and marked my calendar with all the important dates about Dad in hindsight, and found it was strangely comforting.

To start Nov 6 was my last flight to my parents while he was still alive.  He was in the hospital then, and I was praying we could get him home where he could die in more comfort without the noise of hospital life. My prayers were answered as I accompanied him home from the hospital on Nov 9. He didn’t even wake up in the ambulance.

On November 14, he declared he didn’t want to eat any more, and drank very little. We made calls to our family members and I sent out a emails to warn our loved ones that Dad would probably die within a week. My dear husband flew in on Nov 19. Dad was so happy to see him, and was lucid enough to express his warmth and love.

Our dear cousins decided they would love to see Dad before he died and made arrangements to visit. They flew in on Nov 20 and 21. My cousin who arrived on Nov 20 had a nice conversation with Dad who was closing in on death, yet expressed happiness and love with his nephew. My cousin who arrived on Nov 21 wasn’t as lucky. Dad was a few hours from death and no longer talking. He was hooked up to oxygen to calm him as he journeyed towards death. Fortunately she had spoken to him on the phone earlier in the week, and was comforted by that. I was grateful that he was still alive when she arrived.  We are a small, caring family and were blessed to surround Dad when he died at 16:45 on Nov 21.

Nov 28 was Dad’s Memorial Mass followed by a lunch he would have enjoyed. Dad’s body was flown to Manchester, NH on Nov 30. We kids and Mom flew to NH on Dec 1, and Dec 2 was his interment in Concord, NH, his childhood home. We stayed with our one of our cousins who had flown in before Dad died. It was greatly comforting to be with family, and I enjoyed an early morning walk in the full moon the day Dad was buried.

I flew back to Colorado on Dec 6, having spent an entire month at my parents and feeling very empty and tired. My brothers spent Christmas with my Mom, and I flew out on Dec 30 to ring in the New Year with her, and celebrate her birthday on Jan 4. This was the first time I had flown out and Dad wasn’t there: the house was so quiet with just Mom and me.

When you lose a loved one, you just never know what will trigger those memories. My taxes was the last place I thought this would happen. However, I am glad that I gave myself the time to reach into my feelings, and I hope this sharing helps you with ideas to grieve over your loved ones.

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A Glimpse of Spring

This weekend I took a walk down memory lane as I accompanied my husband to his family’s farm in Maryland.

As many of you know, we have had a record amount of snow in the Washington, DC area over the last couple of weeks. I had been feeling somewhat stir crazy along with most of the local population, since other than shoveling we were home for the duration. My family lives on one of the last roads to get decently plowed in Fairfax County. In fact, it’s still not great!

We had to walk down the driveway to the farm since we didn’t get it plowed. It’s a ¼ mile driveway, so not for the unsteady of balance or heart! It had been several years since I had visited the farm since I have spent all my time caring for my parents at their home during my trips to DC.

The farmhouse is full of counted cross-stitch projects that my Mother-in-Law has created over the years. One in particular is a handsome, large tapestry which hangs in the dining room. Numerous counted cross-stitch pillows are scattered all over the house which gives it such warmth. Family pictures are the other prominent theme, and most of them date back 20 – 30 years when we were all much younger! There is a lot of caring, love and laughter in that home.

The family had a new well installed since my last visit as well as a new roof. One of the large barns had blown down in a storm, and a smaller replacement barn had been erected.

But mostly it was the sameness of the place that stuck with me: the house, the farm buildings, the barns, the garden plots and the sense of peace that I feel whenever I’m there. We could hear geese flying off in the distance, presumably to the nearby Patuxent River.

Here is something really sweet which I almost stepped on as we were leaving. The daffodil bulbs are coming up, just as the snow is beginning to melt. I am so grateful for the small things in life. I guess Spring is coming after all!

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