Tag Archive | funny

Gratitude Day 28 ~ My Hometown

Life,  Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

I feel so grateful that my hometown and coincidentally, my Dad’s hometown, is acknowledging him this Saturday by flying the flags at half-mast.  My Dad loved our hometown and never left the town which he grew up in ~ he always said he would leave his childhood home in which he raised his own family, ‘feet first’ and my Dad was a man of his word.

Dad knew his hometown’s history, having lived there 75 years.  He would drive by various parts of town, telling us the history and how some of the buildings were the originals.  There’s the bend in the road by a pond where as a child, he watched the Queen of England pass by on her way through our town.  Funny that sometimes when I drive on that part of the road, I can hear him telling me the story.  He knew the families who resided in the area and enjoyed learning the history of each of them.  Like one of those old town family doctors (he wasn’t a doctor), he was privy to much information and always kept family secrets.

I have been so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers from many of the residents.   One particular message I received was, “I will tell you that his involvement with the installation of the new monument was something that I know made him very proud.  I also would consider him to be the “unofficial” chairman/ringleader of our town’s Veterans.  He was the one pushing all of them to come out each year and march in the Parade or attend the Vets Day Ceremony.”

My Dad was patriotic having served in the military for many years.  He loved history and could regale his audience with big and little known facts about many subjects.  He was proud of the fountain of knowledge in his head.  Unfortunately, he never had the time to write it all down, so there are only the scraps of memories which we hold dear to live on in his memory.

There’s much to be said about your hometown and never leaving it…

Bruce Springsteen writes about it and as a Jersey Girl

I am grateful to Our Hometown…

My Hometown video by Bruce

Gratitude Day 27 ~ Relish Life…

Journey. Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey,

and share our love with friends and family.

One day each of us will run out of tomorrows. Thomas S. Monson

We are all on this journey called life…together or apart, our journey doesn’t end as I believe we carry our dreams and memories with us so that even if we are far apart in death, we are close together in heart.  I am sad that my Dad has passed and as I awoke this morning, I had to think of what day it is…and then it hit me, it’s the first Monday without Dad and it brought tears to my eyes ~ because that is how he would have thought…and I am so much like him at times.

He counted the days, the times, the special moments ~ so many people have told me how he remembered their birthdays, anniversaries and special days and always called them ~ spreading good cheer.  He never wrote down any of these dates, he had them all in his head.  Somehow cataloged ~ and he could tell you all about their families, the relationships and how they intertwined.  He was a secret keeper I know, he knew others’ family secrets, but never broke that bond of silence.  I never appreciated this with enthusiasm until now and surely from the other side, he’s laughing now that I have realized and am appreciating who he was.

He didn’t know he was running out of his tomorrows ~ a lesson for us all.  The sadness comes in waves as do the tears and giggles of some of the memories I have of him.  I don’t want to be sad all the time because I’m a ‘glass is half full’ type of gal.

So I’m ending on a high note ~ this song is for you Dad…

You Can Call Me Al ~ uq-gYOrU8bA

I am grateful for Al.

xo

Gratitude Day 26 ~ Strength

Strength. Turn your face to the sun and shadows fall behind you.

We need strength now as we transition to getting used to not rushing to the hospital everyday, not worrying that every text or phone call could be ‘the one’ and learning to live without Dad.  There has been the utmost outpouring of support, stories and loving thoughts/prayers given to us which helps us continue to take the baby steps required in planning all that is needed for his memorial service etc.  But it’s hard…and unless you’ve experienced this part of growing up, you simply have no idea what you are missing…and quite frankly, stay that way please.

I liked this card because of Strength ~ but also because of turning towards the Sun ~ as I think we have a choice in how to remember those whom we loved.  You can turn towards the Sun and remember the Good in them or you can turn away and remember the sad, bad memories in the shadows.

Nobody is perfect (although secretly I think Dad thought he was!) ~ and so it is in truth that I say that I am choosing to remember the good times, the good memories and allow the bad ones to fall by the wayside, to exit the way many memories have gone via my chemo brain.  I figure I will keep my strength from faltering by basking in the beautiful memories of those around me, allowing their stories to bathe me in the love I had for my Dad.

Looking to the sun, allowing the shadows to fall behind…I think it’s the best way to be everyday.

Don’t you?

Thank you all for sharing your stories with me!

xo

Gratitude Day 25 ~ Soldiering On

We understand death for the first time

when he puts his hand upon one whom we love. Madame de Stael

I can’t sleep.  It’s 4am and I can’t stop listing in my head all that I need to do so I’m up.  All is quiet in my home, the coffee machine whispers, breaking the silence as I reach down to pet each of our cats who bring me so much joy and comfort.  I need to get so much done this morning…bills to pay for my family, bills for my parents, emails to write, a funeral to coordinate, my own business to run, my Dad’s business to run ~ funeral outfits for everyone ~ my head spins with all that I need to do.

So I do what I was ‘trained’ to do…I soldier on.  Being the daughter of a Navy man, I was trained (his vocabulary ~ certainly not the word I would choose for myself) from age 11 to work in my Dad’s office and to take care of things.  It is where I am most comfortable and I guess it’s how I am dealing with the grief that at times simply overwhelms me.   My friend KAngel remarked that we all grieve in different ways and I can see that clearly now.  My Mom and AAngel are grieving differently as well.  We are all incubated in our grieving and yet connected.  I hope we don’t lose that connection even though I see that it is tenuous as times.

I am grateful for my Dad’s insistence that I learn how to do what needs to be done without fanfare…I feel like it’s my contribution to my family to make things easier at this time.  It’s my way of grieving because I need to get done what needs to be done now.  It’s like a race for me and I know me…I am like my Dad, the Energizer Bunny…I’ll keep going and going until I fall apart and pass the torch of work onto whomever picks it up.  I need to do this now before I’m not able to help.

Thinking back, it’s how I deal with many aspects of my life ~ I just keep going ~ baby steps forward.  With the cancer and surgeries that I’ve endured, I just keep going ~ stopping occasionally to stomp my foot in sadness and a flood of “why me?” before picking myself back up to keep going for myself, my family and with the inner need to soldier on.

Before this, I don’t think I really ‘got’ what the death of a loved one means ~ and I’m still not quite sure that I do as I think this is going to be a process ~ yet again, Dad is training me from beyond.  I’m on autopilot nowadays, but in the quiet of the mornings, all alone, I allow myself the indulgence of communicating with him.  Right now, I can trick my mind into thinking he’s on vacation as I play worker bee in his office.  It’s easy because I’ve done it before ~ but this morning, I can feel his love around me.  I can remember how he looked when he passed and I know that the outer shell of that man is gone forever, but his spirit is still alive and kicking all around me.

And for that, this lil’ soldier is so grateful.

xo

Gratitude Day 24 ~ Au revoir mon pere

Our loved ones, no longer with us, leave footprints in our hearts.

Impressions of kind acts, loving words & happy memories.

These prints build a path for us to follow which always lead to warmer places and brighter days.

My Dad passed away yesterday afternoon.  The sun was shining, his room was filled with friends and his heart simply stopped beating…in a matter of moments, his heart rate dropped and ceased beating.  He was surrounded by love, held tight by his girls ~ my Mom, AAngel and me…and I believe he knew it.  It was an amazing mix of people who shared his last moments with us and knowing Dad, it wasn’t just on a whim that he ‘orchestrated’ it.

The night before, we had seen him as his condition had worsened.  AAngel and Mom had stood vigil all day with him during my son’s graduation.  Mom stayed by his side all night in the hospital, AAngel took the morning shift to let Mom go home to shower and sleep and I took the afternoon shift.  Due to his condition, he had a nurse in the room at all times watching the monitors of the many machines that were working hard to keep his body alive.  We were very blessed to have Anita as his nurse for the last two days as she was so caring to him and to us.  It was like we had known her forever and she was a part of our family.

Dad’s stepsisters came to visit during the changing of the guard ~ AAngel and me ~ and stayed with us for a bit.  It was good to see them as we hadn’t seen them in a long time.  It was nice for him to have some company and this morning I am grateful that they were there to see him on his last day.

Around 3:30, due to the extreme heat wave that we are having, suddenly all of the lights and machines went out in the hospital.  Anita and I had been chatting when everything stopped and it took me a moment to realize that the ventilator which was helping him to breathe had stopped as well.  But Anita was already up, ready to manually keep him breathing when the generator kicked in and all of his machines sprung to life again.   It probably was only a matter of 10 – 15 seconds, but it seemed like a few minutes and I remember feeling so scared because in that instant I realized just how much those machines meant to him.

Two friends of Dad’s, GAngel and JAngel came in to visit him as did his childhood next door neighbor with whom he is still friends BAngel and his wife JAngel who met Dad at age 7.  Friends of 36 years (to the day ~ GAngel met Dad on the Summer Solstice 36 years ago) and friends of 70+ years together in the same room ~ connected by the friendship of the same man.  Mom and AAngel came in after awhile.  It was crowded in Dad’s room, but I don’t think anyone minded.  I was recounting the story of the electrical outage and explaining how none of them could really fathom how scary it was except Anita and me.  We were all talking and reminiscing about Dad.

Anita, ever careful in her quiet but efficient way of nursing, was up by Dad’s bedside checking machines and when I looked at her, she slightly nodded.  Suddenly we realized that Dad’s heartbeat was diminishing…up in a flash, we were all by his bedside so that when it stopped beating, he was surrounded by love.  And then it happened again, all of the power in the hospital stopped for a few seconds and then restarted by the generator.  Dad’s heartbeat resumed for a few moments again, only to quiet again and cease.

He did it his way.  He always did it his way ~ and he made sure that he did it with the panache of the electricity going out ~ not once but twice.  Dad was a man who loved life with a bit of flair ~ how else could he have everyone remembering the day he passed and how he passed?  The summer solstice is so fitting for him since summer was his favorite season…he adored going to the beach and we grew up at the beach because of it.

He never left his hometown and he still lived in his childhood home which he always said he would leave feet first.  And he did.

I loved this card because I want to celebrate his life, celebrate his good, celebrate the way he changed others’ lives.  I am mourning the loss of my Dad, but I am happy that he is painfree, hopefully playing fetch with our Labrador Chienne, our cat Zoe and his beloved Kelsey Anne (my sister’s special dog).  I am sure he’s looking down upon us all and will help in the coming weeks as we transition to learning to live without him here on Earth.

I know his voice, his advice and his acts of kindness will follow me all the days of my life.  Surely I will feel his spirit and help when I need it most.

Gratitude Day 23 ~ Crystal Ball

Please indulge me today with a longer post because it’s the beginning of the end of a chapter in our family as well ~ in our 3rd week in ICU with not much change, we are unsure of the future.  I have unashamedly wished often over the last few days for a glimpse at a crystal ball.  I am a planner and I like to KNOW ~ I can usually go with the flow, but now I find I am anxious for the future for my family.

I awoke this morning remembering how as a girl in school, we would happily make those paper chain links of green and red and put them around the classroom.  Everyday we would cut off a link to symbolize one day closer to Christmas vacation.  It occurred to me that I am doing the opposite now with my Dad ~ I beg to add one of those green or red slips of paper so that we can have MORE TIME with him.

Of all the material goods in the world, all that many strive for ~ the one thing that we truly long for is more time…when it comes down to it, we want more time here.  But this thought process isn’t serving me now and I’ve stopped begging for God/Universe to give us more time with my Dad.  I’m reminded of my favorite quote from Dr. Wayne Dyer, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” and I am shifting my thought process.

I believe in Heaven and I once dreamt that I died and went to Heaven.  I can still recall the dream as it was so vivid.  I was in my 20’s at the time and the dream has served me well as I’ve never been afraid to die ~ sad to leave my family and friends here on Earth, but never afraid to experience the wonders of the beautiful Heaven that I experienced in my dream.

So when I change the way I look at what’s happening, I can be happy that my Dad will experience Heaven soon ~ where there’s no pain, only love and where he’ll wait for us until it’s our turn.   When I think of him being released from his Earthly body that’s breaking down, I can smile, knowing that his spirit lives on and can be free of the bonds of his physical body.

But it’s hard because I don’t want to grow up now.  I want to be a Daddy’s girl forever and if my Daddy isn’t here, then I’m not a girl anymore.  Selfish I know, but it’s how I feel this morning.  I wrestle with how I feel about his imminent passing ~ I want him to be peaceful and I want him here and I can’t have both.

So I will tell you that I am Grateful for Time I’ve already had with him…Grateful that this transition has been slow moving so that we 3, AAngel, Mom and me could bond and move together through it.  I am Grateful For Mother’s Day when we sat and talked for a few hours as it’s the last great memory I had of him.  I am Grateful that he came to visit me when I was just out of the hospital…and that we both showed patience and love that day.

I don’t know what today will bring and I’ve given up the crystal ball.  Plans out the window, I’m not asking for knowledge that’s not mine to know now ~ I’m going with the flow today.  So when you don’t think you can give up the way you are thinking, believe me ~ You Can… because if you let it…

Shift Happens.

xo

Gratitude Day 22 ~ A New Chapter

Video of Song

I Hope You Dance

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance   ~   I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances but they’re worth taking
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth making

Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance   ~  (Time is a wheel in constant motion always)
I hope you dance   ~ (Rolling us along)
I hope you dance   ~ (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance   ~ (Where those years have gone)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

Dance   ~ I hope you dance
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always)
I hope you dance   ~ (Rolling us along)
I hope you dance   ~ (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance   ~ (Where those years have gone)

Songwriters: Sanders, Mark D.; Sillers, Tia

Today is my elder son’s graduation which is a happy day for us all ~ it’s so exciting to close one chapter and start a new one for him.  I love the song above which was sung by LeAnne Rimes ~ I love the lyrics which is why I posted them.  I thought that it was a great reminder to LIVE!  I am so grateful we are here today to celebrate his accomplishments!

But for me, it’s a bittersweet moment as well as neither of my parents will be in attendance.  My Dad now lays quietly with a ventilator breathing for him and Mom will continue to hold vigil at his side ~ telling him that she’s taking him home this weekend ~for, in case he can hear, he will believe that there is hope that he is getting better (her words).

I am reminded yet again, we only have this life, this day, these Presents of Presence in which to Live…Please don’t look back on your life and wonder where the years have gone ~ use everyday ~ use the PRESENT that is TODAY!  It’s Your Life ~ Create it and Make it Memorable to You and Others!

Everyday is a new day ~ a new opportunity to start a new chapter!

I’m so thankful for my family!

xo

Gratitude Day 19 ~ Don’t Stop Believing…

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. -Bethold Auerbach

I am so grateful for music in my life.  I love to hear all types of music.  For me, hearing a certain song can place me right back to a moment in time which reminds me of that song.  I also find that sometimes, certain songs which are not popular come on the radio and I feel like they are messages from Spirit/God/Universe.  Did I just make you think I’m losing it?  Please don’t be frightened, but it’s true…

As I pulled into the hospital parking lot the other day, one of my favorites came on the radio ~ Don’t Stop Believing By Journey ~ and of course, I knew what it meant.  I had raced from my home 45 minutes away to get there quickly as I’d been told that my Dad only had hours to live.  The radio was on for noise as my brain was intent on simply getting there in one piece and in time to see him before he passed.  I was in a tizzy, but as I pulled into the lot, I heard my song and was struck by the synchronicity of the moment…I had finally begun to relax while driving around the parking lot because I’d made it in record time and still hadn’t gotten a phone call from my sister which was a great sign that meant he was still alive.  And that’s when I heard Don’t Stop Believing…

For the man who only had hours to live, he is still here days later…

and for that, I’m so very grateful. 

Happy Father’s Day Dad…so glad you’ve made it through another day!

Don’t Stop Believing!

xo

Gratitude Day 18 ~ The Royall Treatment

“Progress, of the best kind, is comparatively slow.

Great results cannot be achieved at once;

and we must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step.” -Samuel Smiles

We are living on a seesaw at the moment…one minute my Dad is stable-ish and the next minute, we have problems.  It is very hard to live like this for so many days.  I always talk about taking baby steps and it is what we are doing…or better said, what he’s doing.  So many times, we have been told that this may be it and then he rallies.  I’ve been calling him the energizer bunny because he just keeps going and going.

But things aren’t great and all of the stress on his body, the difficulties in breathing, the strain on his organs, is taking their toll on him.  He’s on a ventilator and his body is sedated.  It is sad to watch the machines breathing for him, knowing that he has no idea that we are there for him.  Somewhere in my mind and spirit though I feel like he may know that we are there for him ~ for love surpasses all.

As my Mom has repeated ~ all you need is the faith of a mustard seed ~ and she has that faith…the faith that’s bigger than the mustard seed.

So today I am grateful for the staff and especially my Dad’s specialist who are giving his the Royall treatment while he is in the ICU.  The caring, going above and beyond job description and infinite patience, love and continuing to hold that glimmer of hope all the while finding other ways to heal him have made our step by step healing easier for Dad and for us.

Thank you for the Royall Treatment!

xo

Gratitude Day 17 ~ A Beacon of Hope

Appreciation is the highest form of prayer,

for it acknowledges the presence of good

wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.
-Alan Cohen

My Mom shared yesterday that she was begging God to let my Dad live.  She said she was didn’t mean to beg Him, but she simply couldn’t just pray as she cannot begin to imagine her life without my Dad.  She has been through so much in the last 2 weeks ~ standing like a Beacon of Hope next to his bed all night Thursday night, comforting him when he awakened calling for her.  In her stoic way, she never lets on to him that there is anything but hope there and that he will get better.  Even when he thinks he is dying and verbalizes it, she keeps her Beacon of Hope shining brightly.  It’s all we have at this point.

Our thankful thoughts are our Beacon of Hope and we have many good reasons to be thankful.  It’s hard to think about the possibility of my Dad passing without feeling bereft even though I’ve been blessed to have him in my life for so many years.   I know from experience that there are many others who have not been blessed with parents as long as AAngel and I have and I continue to be thankful in prayer for all that has been given to us.

Truthfully, I don’t want my Dad to pass, but I don’t want him to live uncomfortably either.  But then, it’s not my choice is it?  All I can do is continue to be thankful and appreciative for every little and big thing and for every person who is in our lives.  I am consciously trusting in God/Universe that what is supposed to happen, happens and that my family and I endure with love.

Family crises’ can bring people closer or tear them apart ~ and as I gratefully write that we three women have bonded together in order to be strong Beacons of Hope and Love to a man who has been Husband, Father and PITA to us all (he’s not a Saint you know ~ and I am a bit irreverent) I know that the above quote fits perfectly today.

Because we were called to the hospital early yesterday morning, I wasn’t able to write my post for the day.  In fact, when I awoke early this morning, I wasn’t sure of what I was going to write ~ and then, there it was ~ a quote in my email from a fellow blogger ~ LadyRomp ~ and the above quote and posting took shape.  So a heartfelt thanks to Kim @ a-message-from-the-creator-3-2 for her inspiring messages and quotes.

Use your thoughts wisely, be grateful, show your appreciation to your family, friends, loved ones.

Use the Gift of Today ~ The Presents of Presence that is yours.

Be the Beacon of Hope and Gratefulness

Shine your Love Brightly Today.

xo