Tag Archive | obrigado

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 20 ~ Back to the Light

Sometimes our hearts get tangled and our souls a little off-kilter

friends and family can set us right

and help guide us back to the light. Sera Christann

I write today’s post with such heartfelt gratitude for so many people, many that I didn’t know previously, who have prayed for us, helped us behind the scenes and have sent their loving messages to our family.  The outpouring of love is a bit overwhelming at times as is the entire situation.  I truly feel so blessed as does my family.

We are not out of the woods yet by any stretch with my Dad’s health situation.  The amazing doctors and nurses continue to try new and innovative ways to regain his health.  I have said it before, we are on a seesaw as he is now 14 days in the ICU ~ and at times, his situation improves and we go up ~ and then it declines and we go down.

Our souls and hearts have been mangled lately with the ups and downs ~ hoping against hope, believing and yet worried…holding on to that Beacon of Hope and trying to grasp the faith of a mustard seed…and all the while, we’ve been surrounded by angels who continue to pour their love around us, sheltering us and helping to guide us as we navigate these difficult waters.

And today, I am so grateful for you all ~ and I want you to know how much it means to us to get your emails, texts, phone calls, FB messages and even comments on my blog…your hearts infuse us with light, hope and strength so that we can continue to help Dad and Mom as we continue on this journey.

With loving gratitude always,

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

Gratitude Day 15 ~ Grateful for Life

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
 Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”
~Mother Teresa

I love this quote from Mother Teresa and chose it this morning because I’m so grateful for my life and for the lives of my loved ones.  This journey that we’re on with my Dad is not the first one we’ve endured with him as he’s been hospitalized before this and he’s fought his way back to health.  For as much as he can be persnickety (just love that word!), the fight within him continues and enables him to elongate his life.

But it brings home that realization as well that “Life is Short” ~ a quote we’ve heard repeatedly from older generations ~ one that I know, I’ve brushed off myself when I was younger and before I knew I had breast cancer.  “Tomorrow, tomorrow…you’re only a day away” rang in my ears because when you’re young, there’s always tomorrow!  I’m not saying that we don’t have a tomorrow in our futures, but what about TODAY ~ NOW?  We have such power in the Present of Presence ~ of being here and now and enjoying this moment for what is it ~ good, bad, sad, but never indifferent…to live a life that is full of precious moments so that on our deathbeds, we are not regretting all of the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s that we may have missed.

Mother Teresa had it right ~ life is all of the above ~ so live it! 

Enjoy it!  Revel in it because it’s YOUR GIFT!

With a grateful, loving heart, flow along with your day and enjoy this gift of life.

You’ve earned it!

Happy Wednesday to You!

xo

Gratitude Day 14 ~ Times like these…

It’s times like these that you find out who your true friends are

and how lucky you are to have them in your life!

Wow…I am overwhelmed by all of the many people who have reached out to my family while my Dad continues to be in ICU at the hospital.  I sent a mass email (following Dad’s orders) to his contact list on email so that everyone knew what was going on with him.  I have received so many heartfelt messages back that I am simply speechless.  What’s brought me so much joy has been reading how everyone knows him and the many stories that they are telling me including how long they have known him and how long their families have known him.

My email went out blindly as the addresses weren’t named and many that were named, were not names that I was familiar with so it’s been an interesting 24 hours.   What amazes me is that he didn’t participate in a gratitude challenge (at least I’m not aware of it) but he has simply touched so many lives simply by being himself.  Now I am not putting him up for Sainthood as he is not perfect and is rather persnickety ~ truly an understatement ~ but he has given of himself to others which has helped them.  What a great legacy for his daughters and wife to experience while he is still here…and for him as well!

Which brings me to why it’s so important as I continue to stress, to live in the moment, to enjoy THE PRESENTS OF PRESENCE ~ the GIFT of NOW!  Tell those that you love that you love them, hug them close, tell them how grateful you are and take a moment to send a heartfelt card.

We only have today my friends ~ I don’t want to wait until it’s too late to hear that I mattered to you ~ and you don’t want to not hear it as well ~ make today count ~ take a moment to tell a friend, a stranger, a family member how you feel about them!  You’ll be glad you did!

Happy Tuesday!

Grateful Day 14 ~ my life is changing for the better ~ come join me and change your life!

xo