Sunday, May 11, 2014

This is dad now

There are bright colorful flowers on his headstone. MK is still taking care of him. She did such a good job with him for over 25 years of their marriage.

I have been coming to Emerald Isle every year since grandma moved here, which was in the early 90’s. After Ed and I were married (15 years this year), we continued to come down every year, most years it was twice a year. He fell in love with Emerald Isle.

This is the first trip here where I won’t be seeing dad. I am surprised at how emotional this has been for me. We stopped for lunch, after seeing his grave, and just thinking about the fact that I won’t see him this time just kept bringing tears to my eyes. Some dear sweet stranger came to me and spoke words of comfort to me. I thought that was a very brave gesture. I wonder if I would have the nerve to do that to someone I had never seen before.

It is a strange feeling knowing that I will not see dad on this trip. It is a hard to describe feeling. I didn’t know there was such a big hole here now. The ocean is beautiful and we love just being away, especially in a place where that we are very familiar with. I was not aware of how much I looked forward to seeing dad when I came here. It is funny how you just take these things for granted.

One thing I have learned through this whole experience is that hospice knows what they are talking about. I know there are a few exceptions to the rule, but if they ever give me a time frame on a loved one again...I am going to believe them and take advantage of any time I can. Since this is the first real close blood relative death I have experienced, I was believing the positive talk I was hearing, and not the reality talk. Lesson learned there.

This will be a rather strange week for me, but I know that it is all part of God’s plan, and part of my healing.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I’m so angry with you, dad!

This was not the way you supposed to do this dying thing. We were going to talk about it, we were going to make a plan, we were going to go through this together. You ruined it all, who else will understand it with me? Your mom was over 100 years old when she died, and you were only 85, I thought we had more time together.

I thought once it was over, it would be over. There would be nothing else and I would just have my memories. But that is not the case, I still think about it.

It has been said that everyone does the “I wish we had…” when someone dies. It appears that I am no different. I gave you a chance…came right out with the subject…but you said you were ok to keep on fighting the fight.

Maybe I am angry with me because I didn’t pursue the subject, maybe I am angry with me because I didn’t spend more time with you after your stroke, maybe I should have taken a leave from work to be with you more, maybe more time together would have made the conversation happen. Maybe by writing all of this I can finally let go of you, or maybe not.

You are gone, you have been for almost a year…so why do I still cry? You have lived a good life, a long life, a full life, why am I so selfish…because we had more to talk about, that’s why!!

I know this is all heart talking, my mind knows a whole different story. My mind knows that God is good and I will see you again, I actually have seen you a few times since your physical body left this earth. I wonder if that will continue, or if it will fade away.

Either way, you are my one and only earthly dad, I couldn’t have had a better one. You are still in my heart, I love you and always will.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goodbye 2013

This has been one of the busiest years I can recall. Every month brought a new adventure, some good ones, and some very bad ones. Here is a very quick recap so I never forget this year.


The year started with my mom falling and hitting her head on her dining room table legs, and getting a concussion. The hospital let her go, and three days later she blacked out while driving and hit a tree (or a pole, I never did figure out exactly what happened). She was smart enough to willingly give up her keys, but she no longer had a car to drive anyway.


Dad had a stroke. Angie and I drove the 12 hour one-way drive to NC to find out he was worse than we had expected. His entire right side was affected.


Mom moved into a retirement community where there is a flurry of activities going on. God blessed us with a little known grant that is helping pay for her apartment. She is a social person, and felt this was a good move for her.

Meanwhile, I worked hard on cleaning and getting this house on the market.

Bob and I drove to NC again to see dad.


We moved into our ‘forever’ home, while trying to get things ready in our Southview home for sale. God truly blessed us with this new house, and thanks to some wonderful people we work with, this home that we thought was out of our reach came into our reach. Yet another God story.

I drove once again to NC to see dad with Bob and Angie.


Ed and I went to NC to see dad, and rented a house near the beach. It was kind of a good/bad vacation. It appeared dad was not getting better.


On Father’s Day, we are all making the long drive to attend dad’s funeral. The funeral was on my 14th wedding anniversary, but that was another blog or two.


We had a housewarming party in our new home and had many people come and bless our house with us.


The house in Southview finally sold. We had been pouring money into it every month. However the house on Walter is not moving, and we are sinking money into it in the hope of generating some interest.


Mark and Amanda and the kids were able to come and visit us in our new home, and we all had a fun time together.


We spent two days on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and ended our trip in Charleston, SC. It was fun to see Mark and his family’s new home, and connect with my nephews and their familes.

On the 30th (exactly two months from closing), the house on Southview had a horrible house fire. Again, God was faithful in so many ways.


Angie, mom and I took a trip to Michigan. Not only did we visit with mom’s brother and his three girls, but we reconnected with another cousin we had not been in contact with for 45-50 years. It was an awesome trip.

Our small group got together and we bought all the things needed for a Thanksgiving dinner and took to the people who were burned out of our house on Southview.

This is the first time in the 14 years we have been married that we stayed home for Thanksgiving. Ed and I were able to spend two whole days together (no work), something that is very rare for us.


We actually put up a tree this year, the first time in about 13 years for us. Of course we had to do it three times before we tied it up to the curtain rod! There are even Christmas lights in our bushes outside! A first for us for sure.

Then mom has to go and have a mild heart attack to end the year.


All in all, God has shown himself to us in so many ways. He is forever good and faithful.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

So sad...

Our house in August, when we closed on it.
Exactly two months later (almost to the day).

The good side: the whole family that lived here did make it out alive. They are a Christian family and had many kids, both adopted and natural. It was a big family. I could not believe that many people could live in that house! Sadly though, their two dogs did not survive, but died of smoke inhalation.

On my selfish side: I spent 18 years of my life here. I was longer in this house than any house I have ever lived in. That is saying a lot, because I am old! Continuing on my selfish side, a lot (I mean a lot) of money was spent making it the best house. It was almost perfect for us, everything was the way we wanted it.

But God redeems, and the family will eventually have a whole new home. It will serve them for many years (probably more than 18 years!) They will also have new cars, clothes, appliances, furnace, wiring, and maybe actual bedrooms for the kids and dry walls instead of plaster! Life will be good, because God is good.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Is a body in a casket really "creepy"?

I have to confess, it is a bit strange. I have always been a bit behind the times, but have never had the nerve to touch a body in a casket. I'd like to think it is because I have not had many opportunities. Either I was not close enough to the person or family, or there was no body. It seems like cremation is the way a lot of people are doing things these days. There is nothing wrong with cremation; in fact that is what I want.

I see this body/death thing as two parts. Part one is the viewing, part two is the internment.

Starting with part one - while the word “creepy” is used when viewing a body, it does give closure. I think it would have been more strange to not see my dad, then to see him. Did I have to be sure he was gone? Did I want to critique his looks? I don’t really know why, but I am glad I did.

I was fortunate enough to be able to see his body without anyone around (except for my very patient and supportive husband), and I am convinced it was a good thing for me. However, I think I just stared for the longest time at him. It was like I was in a trance. I stared so long; I could have sworn that I saw his chest move. The logical side of my brain tells me I didn’t, and dad taught me to listen to that side, so I did. Since there was no one around, I even got up my nerve and touched him. I was struck by how cold and hard he felt. I am not sure why…what the heck did I expect? (See there is the logical side again! Thanks, dad.) His hair was still soft, and he still had his bushy eyebrows.

On to part two - I totally get the cremation part. When I think all the land that is used for cemeteries. These are places that in a few years no one visits again, it seems sad and wasteful. You can walk in woods and run across a cemetery that no one visits possibly because no one knows it is there. That is until you try to do something with that land.

A lot of today’s cemeteries’ are beautiful places to visit. They go as far as to call themselves arboretums. And it can be very pleasant to be there, but really, do you go for the beauty or for the body? The person isn’t there. And I surely do not get (feel free to explain it to me) why a sealed, cement box, buried six feet underground. Are we trying to save the body for something? Are we protecing the earth? I just don’t get it why we do this.

Facts are facts, he is gone, I saw him gone, and whatever happens to his body now is irrelevant. That is how I feel about my passing too. I will be with my maker, and my physical body is totally useless. To me, that is a pleasant thought.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Today is the day of interment

Dad always had his emotions under control. Yesterday's funeral was a test of that lesson he gave me. Sad to say, I didn't pass the test.

It is very hard to say good bye to a man who has had more influence on my life than I even realize. I know others have gone through this, and mine is really no different in the grand scheme of things. In some ways, my loss is easier than some. My dad had 84 years on this earth. A lot of people can't say that.

One another note. Two years ago we had a five generation straight blood line. Within two years, two of those generations are gone. Not sure where that thought came from.

Funerals are strange. The thought of looking at a body just seems so odd. But it certainly does give closure. Three days of this seemed excessive at first. On the other hand, I can be here for the whole process, and somehow that brings comfort to me. I know what happened to his body, I know where it will be now.

I do believe that Jesus met him last Friday morning, and dad said 'yes' and went with Him. I believe that he has been re-united with his mom, and dad. I believe that he is at a place of peace. I believe that he is happy now.

Peace is the one word that I think happens when you die. At least I hope it is.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Today is my dad’s funeral

This is a strange day; it is my 14th wedding anniversary, and my dad’s funeral. Of course that makes me think about when he walked my down the aisle to the most wonderful man who waiting for me. Waiting for me!! It is still unbelievable, but that is another story. Dad was always my rock, and now this wonderful man would take over that role for me.

When I think about my dad, I don’t know where to begin. What do you say about someone who has given you life, been in your life for over 61 years and taught me the wisdom of life. There are really no words, but I try anyway. I guess it is just my way. I saw a quote that says “A dad is a boy’s first hero, and a girl’s first love.” I don’t know about the boy’s part, but it is true for this girl.

Today I am scared, sad, and relieved. He was always a healthy guy, and said he would live to be 500 years old. He said if they could back in the bible days, then with the technology progressing as fast as it does, it should be able to happen today. Sadly, he missed the mark on that one. I am relieved because he was not healthy. His biggest fear was losing control, and lately he no control over anything. That had to be a nightmare for him.

It is strange to think that my siblings and I are about to be the oldest generation in our family. To be without parents just seems strange, and unnatural. I know it isn’t, it is part of life. My wonderful husband has been without parents for nine years now. He was the youngest of four, and I am the oldest of four. I wonder if that makes a difference.

Today I prepare for the final good bye to the man who literally shaped my entire life, maybe tomorrow I write more.