Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Light of Winter - Light of the Gate of the Year

December 31

And, I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, " Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown." And, he replied, " Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than a light and safer than a known way." ~~Minnie Louise Haskins

...and unto us a child was born.....

What a wonderful quote. As I prepare to begin the new year I look back and see and feel so much sadness. It is only through my faith that I am able to look forward and begin again with what I hope will be a renewed optimistic perspective and spirit.

I pray that we are blessed with all that we need in the new year and no more than we can bear.

This is my wish for us all.


The Light of Winter-Light of Dreams

December 30 - Light of Dreams

During the past eleven years my own dreams have been put on hold. I have been so focused on caring for young children and an aging parents that I have had little time to think about myself. Please know that I am not complaining just stating a fact. Truth be told I would certainly do it all again. It has been so long since I have had time to myself I am not sure that I will know what to do with myself. Perhaps it will be a process of becoming reacquainted. There are so many things that I'd like to experience, learn and teach. I wonder where to begin. I think that 2010 will be the year of building dreams and finding myself again. The sky is the limit!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Light of Winter-Light of Change

December 29, 2009

Light of Change

This is an interesting prompt for me as I am not a big fan of change. (R would say that is the understatement of the century) I never have been. I like the comfort of the familiar. I enjoy routine. I am willing to try things that are different but I prefer old favorites. I'm sure this part of my temperament serves to complicate my life at times. When I face change I do so with trepidation and anxiety. I have been wondering why I have felt nauseated, tired, slow and twitchy since Dad's death. I've been assuming that it is due to the grief of losing a parent, but now that I am creating this post I'm sure that it also has to do with my innate dislike of change. I am no longer under the safe wing of my father. I am an orphan to this world and perhaps that is one of the biggest changes a person can survive. Wow an orphan! No wonder I feel as I do.

Now I ponder the best image that will represent the light of change in my life. I will be back to post an image once it reveals itself.


Well I decided one photo would not be enough to tell the story of the light of change One place where change is a constant is at the shore. Funny that a place that is in constant flux can be of such a comfort to me.

music: Never Been Gone by Carly Simon

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Light of Winter-Light of Home

December 25

The Light of Home

The Light of Winter-Light of Love

December 24

The Light of Love

Quote of the Day

Birth is the beginning of death
Thomas Fuller

If birth is the beginning of death as Thomas Fuller said; is the reverse true as well? Death is the beginning of being born again? I would like to think so.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Things I Know

So many have told me....

"He's in a better place."

"He isn't suffering."

"He is with your Mum."

"He is safe."

"He is better off."

"He is with God and all of his family."

"He went quickly, it could have been worse, you could have watched him linger."

"It's part of life."

I know that people have good intentions when they say these things. I believe all of these things to be true. I have said these words in the past. I won't say them in the future.

Even though I know these things in my mind. In my heart there is no acceptance. I ache for one more smile, one more story, one more laugh, one more twinkle of those bright blue eyes. My heart breaks and sometimes the tears come and I can't make them stop.

Why couldn't we have kept him with us just a little bit longer? Why do I have to miss him soooo? Why is it so hard? Why does it feel like I am the only one who feels this way about him?

Why does my heart not understand what my mind knows too well?

Why please tell me why?


Friday, December 25, 2009

The Sights, Sounds and Aromas of Christmas

Lights twinkling
Candles flickering
Children playing
Adults rejoicing

Pages turning
Music drifting
Legos clicking
Snow dripping

Coffee brewing
Nanny's bread toasting
Apple pie baking
Prime Rib roasting

Wishing you all the blessings of a peaceful Christmas.
May the sights, sounds and aromas of this day stay with you throughout the year.

Much Love


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Turning a New Page

So I think we began a new tradition today. A quiet, peaceful, simple Christmas eve for my immediate family as well as my Godmother. It felt good. This year it was exactly what I needed. In all honesty I could not have done more than I did and I accept that as my truth. We ate good food, spent quality time just being and then watched the movie Up together as a family. More on Up another time.

My wish for you is that you had all that you need tonight and always.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Light of Winter - Light of Anticipation

December 23


Quote of the Day

To be able to move on, one has to learn to forgive not only the person (or people) who have done one wrong but also oneself
Eugenia Tripputi

Upon reading this quote in my sidebar today I felt the need to capture it here in the body of my blog. I'd like to reflect on what these words mean to me in my life and then come back and record my thoughts. It will surely be a powerful exercise.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Light of Winter-Light of Compassion

December 22


When I read today's prompt for the light series I immediately thought of 'n' and her relationship with Dad.
Years ago when 'n' was born my Mum didn't allow Dad to even hold her for one minute. You see even then Dad suffered with depression, hygiene issues and alcoholism. After Mum died when 'n' was just 5 months Dad and 'n began their relationship in earnest. From that time on they had a very special connection. As 'n' grew into a young child she loved Dad unconditionally. There were times we would visit Dad and I would wonder if it was the right thing.... so many factors played into those thoughts. 'n' never questioned our visits. She was always ready to give her Papa a hug and a kiss, share a story or play with his best buddy Fluffy. In her reality it was love that she gave unconditionally. She didn't see alcoholism, dementia, cigarette smoke or dirt. She saw the "best grandfather anyone could ever have." In my reality it was the pure light of compassion.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Old Time Christmas Music

So I thought I'd share some old Christmas songs that remind me of Christmas when I was little.

This song also remind me of the time when my Uncle B was stationed in Hawaii. He would call on Christmas and this is what I remember him saying.

I am unsure if this is a song we listened to when I was little, but I have to say it is one of my all time favorite holiday songs. Dean Martin was a favorite in my house when we were young.

This would have been right up Dad's alley! For some reason Mum never particularly liked Old Blue Eyes. Dad loved him though.

Perry Como was one of Mum's favorites. This song has always been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. I prefer the next version to Perry Como's.

I remember singing this song in chorus when I was at Sacred Heart. I couldn't get through the song without crying. I don't know if it is the words, the tone or a combination and beauty of both that touch someplace deep in my heart.

This final song is from the movie Holiday Inn 1942. Another version with Danny Kay, Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney comes from my all time favorite Christmas movie; White Christmas.

Winter Wonderland

The Light of Winter-Your Inner Light

December 20

Your inner light.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Light of Winter-The Heart's Light

December 19

The Heart's Light.

My heart is tied to the beach. It has been since I was a little girl. Happy or sad, I go there to think, relax, reflect. When I need to ground myself or feel centered I long for the ocean. It is where I find respite from the world.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Light of Winter-Light of Friendship

December 17

The Light of Friendship

I hope they will always remain friends and that life's ups and downs will not get in the way of that friendship.

Difficult Day

Well today was hard. I spent most of the day working on Dad stuff. I had to call a variety of people. Cable, electric, health insurance, life insurance, attorney, telephone.... By the time I was on hold for the phone company I was at my wits end. I ended up crying into the ear of the phone representative. She then told me I was her second customer who had to cancel service due to a death. I just couldn't stop crying and then the women on the other end of the phone started crying saying she had to do the same thing five years ago for her parent. We were both able to stop crying and get on with business. At the end of that conversation I decided to move onto something more uplifting. Christmas decorating.

Last night the children and I completed decorating the Christmas tree. It looks lovely. We have so many ornaments! They all hold special memories, some going back decades. This year the process was bittersweet. Today I cleaned up the living room to some degree. I will finish this job tomorrow. I also cleaned the top of the tv armour and put out the white ceramic nativity as well as the white ceramic Christmas tree. It looks different than it has in the past, but I think different is good. Over the past few days I also told my SIL from Maine and my brother that I am not 'hosting' Christmas Eve. I just can't. I don't have it in my to be the hostess with the mostest this year. I just want a quiet day and evening with my family and my godmother. Everyone understood and I am relieved.

I am going to focus on my Winter Light project for the next few posts. I have to catch up. I have some great photos saved on my computer and a few prints that I think would work. I'm also going to watch the light and be mindful throughout the days and I hope to capture some beautiful photos. I think this would be a fun project even if I didn't blog.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

The LIght of Winter

I just came across a wonderful idea over at Pomegranate and Paper. Loretta is participating in a photographic prompt challenge of sorts over at The Poetic Eye that revolves around the light of winter. In addition to my regular posts I think I'll try my hand at posting pictures for each of these prompts. I'm a few days behind so I'll try to catch up over the next two days. It should be interesting.



Well it has been a very busy two days at school. The children have been so unsettled. They are all excited but I'm not sure that they know what they are excited about. I am exhausted after the business of it all. While the days were long and tiring they were certainly not without their rewards.

Yesterday one of the little boys in class was playing in housekeeping. A cell phone had been added to the props and it was a highly coveted item. As the little boy was talking on the phone, presumably to his Mom he looked at me and told me that the phone was for me. I asked him who it was. He looked into my eyes and said "It's your Dad" Well as you can imagine; you could have knocked me over with a feather. I looked over at my teaching partner 'S' and she looked at me with such compassion. So I took the phone and talked to Dad. I asked him how he was and went on to say that I would see him soon. I ended my imaginary conversation by telling him I loved him. Wow! I think that my student was taken aback by the fact that I played along. After I handed the phone back to him he again looked at me with huge eyes and said, "You're the best teacher in the whole world!"

Today there were children who probably should have remained at home. The day was just too much. We gave all we had. It felt like it wasn't enough. We could have had 5 teachers in the classroom and we would have needed more. The excitement is understandable. It's the emotional overload that spilled over that was heartbreaking. Some of the children just wanted to be hugged. The wanted to sit in my lap. It was as if the needed comforting. Such is the path of young children. Adults expect so much from the very young and when they are developmentally not ready to meet these expectations we all suffer the consequences.

I hope that all of these children will be allowed to just be kids over our break and then return to school fresh and ready to begin again. Just like me.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Light of Winter-Light of Ordinary and the Everyday

The Light of the Ordinary and the Everyday
There is such beauty to be found in the newness of the freshly fallen snow. The air is cold and clean and crisp. The sounds of nature are muffled under their frosty blanket. There is peace in the stillness of the air. This is the extraordinary that can be found in the everyday ordinary. See the light that emanates from the sky beyond.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Moving Forward?

Well I went back to work today. It had to be done. What else would I do? sit at home and be sad..... sleep.... tie up loose ends..... I guess I could have stayed home and worked on all of these things but I think it would have made it that much more difficult to start back again after the holiday break. So I did it and today was not as difficult as I thought it would have or could have been. The children exude unconditional love as do my colleagues and I was happy to be the recipient of that love today. Several of the families knew why I was out last week and expressed their concern and sympathy. I knew that I would encounter at least one family who would inquire as to my whereabouts last week. I was honest and shared that there was a death in my family, my father had died. It was hard. They felt badly.

I find it interesting that people assume that with the upcoming holiday season somehow it will magically make everything better, facilitate moving forward or moving on. Someone actually said as much to me today. I have been the caretaker of my father for the last 4 years and beyond, not to mention his daughter for 40 years. Honestly while the holiday season will be a distraction I can honestly say it will not facilitate forward motion in my grief. So many memories are wrapped up in the holidays. Memories of my childhood, my Mum, my Dad and all my other family members who have passed. The memories are mostly good but they bring with them this sense of longing and wistfulness for days gone by that can never be again. While I like these memories they don't make me happy. While I have always been a Christmas person I can honestly say that if I could, if I didn't have young children, I would cancel Christmas..... I feel like I just don't have it in me....

I know that things will get better. I know that Christmas will be good. I know that I will find a new normal. Things will be different. From now on I will need to come up with a new way. I know I can do it. I hope it doesn't take me too long. I hope I don't tumble down into the depths of undiagnosed depression like when Mum died. I hope that tomorrow and each tomorrow after that will be just a bit easier.


The Light of Winter-The Miracle of Light

The Miracle of Light

The fire brings us light and warmth on the coldest of winter days. Truly a miracle.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Light of Winter Day-The Light of Remembrance

So if things were different we would be decorating a tree for Papa this weekend and snapping pictures of his lovely Fluffy trying to climb the tree. Decorating the tree with simple red and white bows was such a pleasure.

December 14
Light of memory, the light of remembrance.


Here we sit. Strangers. Citizens. Called together in common duty.

We are quiet, hearing only our own thoughts as they echo through our minds, lulled by the droning of the forced hot air coming from the radiator at the end of the room.

Men and women, young and old; ready to serve, to listen, to participate in the process if just a bit begrudgingly.

Waiting, wondering when will it be me, my turn to judge?

No one speaks. All lost in thought or book or music. It is quiet as we sit and wait together.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Well I just had a nice visit with my dear friend 'J'. She came with homemade meatballs and sauce, salad, bread and a yummy beer. It was so good to sit in the living room next to the Christmas tree and just be with my friend. It has been a long time since we just visited. I will make a concerted effort not to let time go by without staying in touch with my friends and family.

Oh and just in case you thought things were smooth sailing now..... I have Jury Duty in Wareham tomorrow. I have to report at 8:30am. Let's hope they don't pick me to be on a panel.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009


So I have to share with you all that yesterday I went back to the cemetery. I guess I wanted to make sure that everything was done properly. Weird huh? Well anyway while I was there I decided to collect the rest of the roses from the various sprays that were left on the ground. Again, weird right? Well I took the roses home soaked them in cold water re cut the stems and have them throughout the house. I think in total I might have a dozen stems. I've been thinking about what I should do with these lovely blooms. After Mum died I dried every last rose that came into my home. That resulted in having a house full of dead flowers. This was charming for a while but not for long. So I've been thinking about a suggestion made by 'C' after the funeral. She heard of sending the flowers away and using them to create beaded jewelry. I've done some research and have found a recipe/process that I think will result in some beautiful beads. The next thought is what to do with these special beads. I want to have a plan before I start so that the finished beads don't just sit around collecting dust. Anyway creating earrings or a bracelet is an option as well as creating a strand of rosary beads. In my research I also came across something that I have never heard of.... a chaplet. It looks like a tiny strand of rosary beads. As I did further research I found the following:


Beads: The chaplet of Our Lady Star of the Sea has a medal of Our Lady of Carmel, three separate beads, and twelve additional beads.

History: Our Lady Star of the Sea is the patroness of those who sail the seas. According to Saint Bonaventure she is also the one who guides to a landfall in heaven those who navigate the sea of this world in the "ship of innocence or penance." Our Lady aids not only sailors, but also those who sail the stormy seas of life.


This Chaplet is said as follows:

The prayer begins with the medal. Holding the medal of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, you say this prayer:

Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel, Fruitful Vine, Splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart, to succor me in this necessity; there are none that can withstand your power.

The first three beads are for one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be. These three beads are for John Paul II, Bishop Warren Boudreaux and John Paul Finke (The Confraternity of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Morgan City, Louisiana, was established in 1979 by Bishop Boudreaux). I suppose it would not be sacrilegious to say these three prayers for those who minister in the church at all levels.

On each of the twelve beads representing the twelve stars on Our Lady's crown say one Hail Mary followed by the invocation:

Our Lady, Star of the Sea, help and protect us!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hand.

For further information write to: The Confraternity of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Central Headquarters, PO Box 609, Morgan City, LA 70381.

I strongly believe in the power of positive thinking and prayer. I actually like to say prayers even though I have my own issues with church so to speak. I also think that everything happens for a reason and I know that the reason isn't always apparent. It can't be coincidence that I stumbled upon this 'Chaplet Prayer'. I'll have to do some research, but I find it uncanny that the history mentions St. Bonaventure as well as sailing the stormy seas of life. I feel compelled to create this Chaplet out of the roses that adorned Dad's casket. I think it is meant to be....

What do you think?
The silence is deafening.

My head is swimming.

I am in a fog.


Looking to the horizon.

Waiting for this bank to lift

so that I may come ashore.

Anchored again.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chilhood Lament

Today the world changes

so quickly

that in growing up

we take leave

not just of our youth

but of the world

we were young in...

Fear and resentment

of what is new

is really a lament

for the memories of our childhood.

Sir Peter Medewar

Until last Saturday I could still return home to my childhood. I could pretend just for a moment that I was the one who would be cared for, who would be listened to and supported. In sharing my trials and tribulations or triumphs and accomplishments with Dad I was once again a little girl who was confiding in her teacher, mentor, advocate and friend. I was in my safe harbor. In my mind I knew that I could never be that little girl again, that I was now the supporter, protector and care giver, but what I wouldn't do to have another moment when I could pretend......

Today, I do not deny my feelings of loss. I allow myself to move through them to new growth.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

He is Home, He is Home

Well we did it. We laid him to rest. The wake was beautiful. Can a wake be beautiful? 'R' said it was the best wake he has ever experienced. Photos, music, video, flowers and so much love. So many family members who loved Dad so well. So many friends who knew what kind of man we have lost. So much sadness and joy in one set of events. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but there was a sense of joy in just being together through the process of remembering, reconnecting, crying, laughing, singing and praying. I am so grateful for the outpouring of tender care from my extended, yet not so extended family. One of these 'dear ones' sent me a beautiful poem that is so fitting when I think of the loss of Dad and his love of the sea.

"Gone from My Sight"

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, "There, she is gone!"

"Gone where?

"Gone from sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me, not her. And just at that moment when someone at my side says, "There, she is gone!" there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: "Here she comes!"

--Henry Van Dyke


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dear Ones

"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination full of hope. "

Well I have written my eulogy. It came to me in bits and pieces. I am pleased with my results. I know Dad would be proud. My brother and I just returned from the church. We have planned a beautiful service; readings, gospel, music. It will be a wonderful send off for a very special man.

I am going to say a prayer tomorrow to the holy spirit to give me the strength to read what I have honor my father. Dear ones I ask you for your prayers too. I also ask for your help. If you are able to print this and bring it with you to the church and see that I am faltering would you read with me? You don't need to come forward just from your spot in church.... I am strong and I believe I can do this but knowing that you will be there if I should fall will be such a huge comfort..... If it is too hard I understand....

Robert Joseph Dillon, Bob, Bobby, Roberto, Uncle Bobby, Dad, Papa

Son, Brother, Uncle, Devoted Husband and Father, loving and cherished Grandfather, friend.

He meant so much to so many.

Kind, warm, strong, selfless, humble, proud, good, solid, funny, faithful, accepting, a reader, a doer, a listener, a confidant, a helper, a people person, a trainman, a knight in shining armor, a storyteller.

He told many stories perhaps his favorite was of the night he walked into Bert’s restaurant on Plymouth Beach with his friend. He looked across the room and saw a beautiful young woman. He pointed to her and said to his buddy… see that girl over there? I’m going to marry her and he did.

Dad fell madly in love with Mum and her family and he was welcomed into the Mellett clan with open arms. It was a good fit. They made a beautiful life for themselves. Together they literally raised a house, created a home and family and built a life here in Plymouth. My childhood home was a destination and safe harbor for many family members. It was a place where Mum organized and directed and Dad made things happen. They weathered stormy times but they stayed the course and got through the rough waters. They had a good life together with much laughter, love and friendship.

When it was time and Dad was ready Mum was waiting with her arms open wide and just like in life when Mum called to Dad he went to her.

Now we must take solace in the fact that Dad believed in God and everlasting life. He is once again with the love of his life and all who love him who have gone before. Even though he is not with us here he will always be alive in our hearts.

So “lets not say good-bye, because good bye sounds too final, as if we were closing the door on all we’ve shared, as if we were closing the door on each other. So let’s not say good bye. Let’s leave a window open in our hearts and in our lives for the someday when the time may be right to say hello again.”

Dad, dream of the angels, good night, God bless and I love you with all my heart and soul.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I can't believe...

there will be no more visits

no more trips to the doctor's

no more calls to say hello

no more trips to BJ's where the girl knows his brand

no more seafood Saturdays

no more comfortable visits

no more thoughtful 'Dad' advise

no more stories... oh the stories...

no more going home to my childhood

no more 'What's new?'

no more "I'll be here."

no more care giving

no more protecting

no more

Saturday, December 5, 2009

He is Home

"Am I home?" he asked. "Yes, you're home and you don't have to go anywhere" I answered. "Look around do you recognize where you are?" I asked him. "I recognize the stone wall, the fireplace." he answered. "You're home." I repeated.

Wednesday night Dad started his own process of transition. He awoke at midnight and called me complaining of confusion and not feeling well. My brother and sil went upstairs and spent some time with him administered medicine and settled Dad back to sleep. On Thursday morning I called to check in on Dad as I drove to work. The last thing I said to my sil was "If you think he is going to die, call me. I will come home" At 10:30 as the children cleaned the classroom my cell phone buzzed in my pocket. I checked the number and immediately my stomach lurched and a lump came into my throat. It was the call I had been dreading. My father was dying.

Dad wasn't doing well and I had to go home. I went directly to Dad's. He was alert but his breathing was labored. The nurse was on her way. Now I'm unsure if we administered additional medicines or if we waited. It seems foggy and far away even though it was just two days ago. I held Dad's hand and sat with him on the couch. He had his oxygen on and his eyes closed. I spoke to him reassuringly. I told him we were going to have a new nurse. I told him she had a great name. You'll never guess what her name is.... He opened his eyes turned to me and asked "Is it Roberta?" He's a comedian even in the midst of crisis! I told him "No her name is Barbara!" When she arrived she busied herself assessing the situation, administering medicines, ordering refills, arranging for a hospital bed and setting up a regular med schedule that would be followed until a final nighttime dose would be given to get Dad through the night. As the afternoon went on Dad slept soundly. I cleaned. It is what I do when I am stressed..... I stayed until my sil came back to relieve me. My plan was to return Friday morning knowing that the nurse would be out.

Friday I called work to give them an update. In my mind I anticipated my care duties over the next weeks, or so I thought. I dropped 'n' at school, went to the store to pick up some essentials to have on hand at Dads as well as the makings for Friday's dinner and headed back to Dad's. I called first and there was no answer. Called my brother and he was too scared to go upstairs alone. We went in together and things were not good. We immediately went to work administering meds that in hindsight should have been constant through the night although we were not given that directive. We did our best to get Dad comfortable, We had him on his side with pillows propping him up just a bit. Finally our nurse arrived. She was shocked by what she saw. She immediately knew by Dad's breathing that he was 'actively dying'. She got to work to make Dad comfortable we bathed him, changed him, laid him flat to help with the secretions. We did our best. We now had a new scheduled of meds and the understanding that death was imminent. A priest was called, more meds were ordered from a local private drug store and calls were made. R came home to help. Soon the hospital be came. The four of us moved Dad so that he could be more easily cared for. We sat vigil all day. A visit scheduled for Saturday was moved up to Friday afternoon. Dad was opening his eyes from time to time and even responding a bit. When our local priest came to offer the prayers of the sick at 2:30pm Dad opened his eyes for him and even said thank you when he finished the prayers. It was moving. Dad was ready to go home.

On December 5, 2009 at 12:45 Robert Joseph Dillon went home to be with his beloved.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I feel like everything is spiraling downward ever so fast. Exhaustion is setting in and I think time could be short but I am not sure. While sleep escapes me; Dad seems to be in a perpetual state of unsettled sleep...twitching, scratching, moving, snoring, groaning, sighing, laboring, breathing, dreaming? reminiscing? reconciling? reliving? revisiting? hoping?

I know what it happening. The knowing does not ease the pain I feel. The knowing does not change the sadness in my children's eyes. The knowing does not take away the worry I see in my husband's face. The knowing does not fill the pit in my stomach. The knowing does not take away my fear. The knowing does not mend my broken heart. What good is the knowing if it does nothing? Maybe the knowing is overrated. Maybe the knowing is no good. Maybe the knowing makes the waiting that much worse. Maybe the knowing makes the ever quickening spiral so much more dizzying, overwhelming, frightening, devastating, confusing, maddening.... What if the knowing let's us be in this moment. What if the knowing let's us walk this path. What if the knowing gives us the gift of taking care of one who took such good care of us, What if the knowing enables us to say I love you, I'm sorry, you did your best, you are a good man, thank you, I will miss you, it is ok and good bye. Maybe the knowing isn't so bad after all?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Not The Best Day Ever

Well today was long. School was very difficult and frustrating. I was not at my best and did not handle all the situations that came up with as much grace and compassion as they called for and upon reflection I would do it all differently. Sigh. I am human.

On my way home I ordered pizza. My plan was finely synchronized. I called at a precise time that would enable me to stop at CVS and pick up more Boost for Dad and then pick up the pizza. Next I would go home, drop off the pizza, pick up the picture frame and head over to Dads. Well as the saying goes.... the best laid plans.... As I drove into the CVS parking lot someone backed into my passenger side. As I passed the car I saw it start to pull out from the corner of my eye I hit the horn but it was too late. I heard crunch, swore out loud and put my head in my hands! I got out of my car and the man who hit me was looking at his bumper. He was apologetic and immediately started saying please don't go through the insurance company. There was a witness, I should have called the police but the damage didn't look too bad. I called R to find out what info I should get from this man. I got the information and said we would be calling him. It was a little strange. The car was his brothers and had a virginia tag. His name was different than his wife's name. His address on his license was different from his home address. He claimed he owns some convenience stores. I don't know. After he left I asked the man who witnessed the entire thing and heard our entire conversation if he thought I had been scammed. He said he didn't think so, he seemed to know the guy who hit me and thought he was legit. He gave me his business card in case I needed to contact him for any reason. He was nice.

So after that incident I decided not to visit Dad. I called my sil and told her what happened and that I would be heading home and not to expect me tonight. She was fine. Well I got home had a slice of pizza and the phone rang. Dad was on the phone and asked if I'd stop by because he wasn't feeling well. When I asked him what he was feeling he said he thought he was going crazy. So after all that I ended up going over anyway. I brought him his boost and the photo frame. I called my sil so she didn't think I was going crazy and told her I'd be over after all. She said she'd meet me up there. I think she likes to do the meds. Whatever. Dad did seem a little out of it when I saw him, but not too bad. He got his medicines and I set up the photo frame. Everyone liked the pictures. It was a bit hectic in the house, brother, sil, niece, nephew and me. Too many people so late at night. After about 45 minutes Dad seemed better . Everyone left and I was about to leave too but Dad looked up at me and I could tell he didn't want me to go so I sat with him for a bit longer. Dad looked right at me with his beautiful blue eyes and said "Has anyone ever told you that you are a beautiful young lady?" I was speechless and teared up. I think I said "Well I think you have probably said that before. " Dad said "Well if I haven't then I am now." I started to cry and Dad said "I didn't tell you to make you cry." I pulled it together, told him I love him and rubbed his back. Then he wanted me to scratch his back. I did and he loved it. We talked about how when I was young and my godmother would come down to our house how she would scratch my back with her beautiful long nails. I loved that. We sat for another minute and Dad asked... Am I home? I told him yes and said look around do you recognize where you are? He knew the fireplace. I reassured him that he is home and does not have to go anywhere. He is home.
I had intended to post last night but by 8pm I was feeling the effects of a very poor nights sleep and my early rising (4:30am). Suffice it to say I went to bed when the children went to bed and happily I fell right to sleep. I am feeling tired this morning but I guess that is part of this experience that I will need to accept. I have taken to bringing to phone to bed with me so that is probably effecting the quality of my sleep to some degree. Anyway enough about me!

I did visit with Dad after work last night. He seemed pretty good. I read the care book that we created to keep track of things. My brother had been up that day and met the nursing aide who will be coming once a week. He also gave Dad 1/2 an anti anxiety pill as was suggested by the nurse yesterday. I think that the medicine is helping a bit. He didn't want the oxygen but he was willing to try it when I was with him. We weren't sure if the machine was actually working. Dad didn't feel any of the air going into his nose. I'm not sure that we should feel the air flow but we ended up doing an experiment to see if the machine was working. Dad suggested putting the tube in a cup of water. If we saw bubbles then we would know that the machine was doing it's job. Sure enough we saw bubbles. Even so Dad decided he didn't want to bother with the oxygen. I think he wanted a smoke instead. I think he might be feeling at loose ends now that all his appointments are over. For a time we were going to two appointments per week. So we scheduled our own appointment for a drive around town on Friday. He said 'We'll go out and see what kind of trouble we can get into." So even if we don't go out at least it is something on the calendar to look forward to. Today I'll be bringing over the digital picture frame we purchased for Dad. It has over 150 photos loaded onto it that span 6 decades. I had all the pictures in chronological order but for some reason the memory on the frame keeps mixing up the photos. I'll just have to let the order go for now. I might pick up a memory card and load the photos on that instead. I think he is going to love the frame! I can't wait to hear what he thinks. It also plays music so I'll be working on that over the next few days too. I have several Frank Sinatra CD's as well as other jazz compilations to go through and prepare for download onto the frame. Very cool.

Well I'm cutting it short this morning. I have to get ready to bring n to school and go to work.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Ups and Downs

Well I am starting to realize that things may be happening more quickly with Dad than I first thought. I hope we will be able to enjoy Christmas together.

I received a call from him around 10 til 1 saying he wasn't feeling well and asking if I would come over. I was planning on going over anyway and collected my things and the new 8x10 photo of Dad and Mum and went on my way. I am very thankful that I am only two minutes away from his home. Dad was confused and not feeling well when I arrived. I sat with him and tried to assess the situation. I called my brother to no avail. I was on my own. Dad seemed winded but not like he was when we called 911 a few weeks ago. I knew that the hospice nurse was due by 2pm. Dad took his breathing treatment...the first of the day I seemed he may have missed the first two but I am not completely sure. Anyway it quickly became clear that we were going to have to use some of the meds in the comfort box that has been in the fridge since we started this hospice journey. I was very nervous, afraid even to break out these meds. I tried my brother again and when I couldn't reach him I called hospice. After fifteen or so minutes I was able to speak with the nurse manager (?) and she talked me through the first dose of morphine. I was shaking and ended up spilling a little on my fingers. I guess in the back of my mind I was holding on to an irrational fear that if I gave him the morphine he would die. After giving him the meds he seemed a little bit better and I sat with him and once again read from the True Compass. Thank goodness for that book. It seems to have a calming, almost meditative effect on both Dad and me. At about 2pm D our nurse arrived. She asked some questions and praised me for knowing what to do. She watched as I administered the second 5mg of liquid morphine. She said I was perfect. By that time my brother and sil came upstairs to find out what was going on. We ended up giving dad some ativan on top of the morphine and by 2:45 he was much better. Oxygen was ordered and D assured us that she would have the nurse on call, L give us a ring tomorrow to see how Dad is doing. D said we should probably start thinking about a plan for when we need more coverage to keep Dad safe. So let the planning begin.

I ended up staying with Dad for quite a while. We read more of the Kennedy book and he seemed much better. The oxygen was delivered and we were instructed on how to operate the machine and keep everyone safe when the machine was operating. After that lesson my brother and sil left and I was about to go too when Dad made a comment about there being a mass exodus. So I sat for a bit longer. I asked him if he wanted me to read a little more of our book and he said "No, just sit there so I can look at you." And that is what I did.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


These words touched me 24 years ago when R gave them to me and they touch me now. I've been searching for them for the last few weeks as I have been contemplating the seasons of a persons life. Finally I found them written in an old poetry scrap book that I kept when I was 16. The entry is dated 11/16/85. Back then I didn't know that these were the lyrics to the Led Zeppelin love ballad The Rain Song. I listened to it for the first time tonight. It is a pretty song. Zeppelin fans tout it as one of the best Zeppelin songs. I prefer the words without the music. They speak to me.

The Rain Song

This is the springtime of my loving
The second season I am to know
you are the sunlight in my growing
So little warmth I felt before
It isn't hard to feel me glowing
I watched the fire that grew so low
It is the summer of my smiles
Flee from me the keepers of the gloom
Speak to me only with your eyes
It is to you I give this time
I isn't hard to recognize
These things are clear to all from time to time
I felt the coldness of my winter
I never thought it would ever go
I cursed the gloom that set upon us
But I know that I love you so
These are the seasons of emotion
And like the winds they rise and fall
This is the wonder of devotion
I see the torch we all must hold
This is the mystery of the quotient
Upon us all a little rain must fall

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dad and Me

The Quiet

Sometimes the quiet is deafening. I feel as if I have to speak or move or clean or cajole to fill the space. This has been the visits of the last couple of days with Dad. He is always happy to see me and welcomes the visit. Yesterday he told me that he had been hoping I would stop over. He asked if I had mental telepathy. I smiled at his question. So we exchange the regular chit chat and then it gets quiet. He looks off into space and I find myself asking what he is thinking about. He always says nothing. I wonder what that nothing really could be. What is going on in his mind? I wonder if he is scared or relieved or even maybe excited at the thought that he will soon be reunited with all those who have gone before. Then I think that maybe I shouldn't ask what he is thinking about because it must be so intensely personal. Thoughts only meant for the one who is so deeply entranced by them at that moment. Millions of miles away from the little living room that overlooks the sea. Then the quiet is interrupted by a sudden attack of coughing to which I find myself asking in a worried tone 'Are you ok?'. He always says I'm ok. Then again it is quiet and that is when I break out True Compass by Edward Kennedy ready to read aloud for an hour at a time. Dad is always an eager listener. I hope it is because he wants to hear the story and not just disguise the silence that is waiting to deafen us once again. In any case I will continue to bring my book and face the quiet as I know he would if our situation was reversed.


Friday, November 27, 2009


My hors d'oeuvres lady at work.

Hot artichoke dip before.

Nothing like a little horse play to build up an appetite.



Traditional olives and stuffed celery in Mum's beautiful serving dish.

Nanny's bread fresh from the oven.

My big plate of food. mmmmmm...

My little family.

Dad's little plate, still too much according to him!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

So this Thanksgiving I took the advise of a dear one, I stayed in the moment. I incorporated family traditions, I thought about past Thanksgiving but did my best not to let those memories cloud or sadden today. When feelings did come I sat with them for a bit before putting them away and returning to the moment. Today was a day about making new memories for my family, my children and myself while respecting the feelings and traditions of the past. It was a good day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Today was a good day. Both children went off to school. I worked on making homemade Irish bread. Once the bread was in the pot and on the rise I headed over to Dad's. I brought the Kennedy book we've been reading and my computer so I could show Dad some photos I'd been talking about. I made it over there about 10:30. He was lying on the couch but as soon as I came in he sat up ready to visit. He was bright eyed and seemed better than Monday. He enjoyed looking at the photos on my computer and even commented on the coolness of the computer. Then we read for quite some time. It was a great visit. I actually was so into reading to Dad that I lost track of time and had to run home to get N off the bus!

We also received a call from the health care aide. She'll start on Monday. After that we heard from my brother. The social worker had to reschedule. We'll see her on Monday too. The nurse came out yesterday and checked on Dad and I heard from Dr. O and both are in agreement that alcohol should not be reintroduced into Dad's life. I am relieved that my opinion and concerns are being validated and supported and that Dad will be safe.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009


So my one day workweek was exhausting! All the children were so excited today. You would think that we were getting ready for Christmas vacation not just a few days off for Thanksgiving. The children have been talking about Christmas trees since just after Halloween. Today children were singing holiday songs! The level of energy in our classroom was through the roof, especially with the 3/4 year olds in the afternoon. I think it will be a long few weeks between now and our holiday break.

Just a quick post today. The children are anticipating the holidays as I anticipate what the next weeks and months will bring for my family as we walk with Dad on his final journey. I suppose there is a level of emotional exhaustion that is playing a role in how I feel right now. I'm trying to remember to breathe and live. I'm also working on asking for help. Much has been offered and when the time is right I plan to reach out.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Still Reeling

Well as you can tell from the title of this post I am still reeling from the events of this past weekend over at Dad's.  I spoke with the social worker today to ask for her advise and just get  a neutral opinion.  She seemed to agree with me and I think was thankful to have the full picture.  I also asked her advise regarding informing my sisters from Dad's first marriage about the situation.  She is going to be visiting Dad on Wednesday so hopefully we can bring up the subject with the family and she can mediate the conversation.  

Anyway 'n' and I created a notebook for communication between hospice workers and family.  In time we'll track medication in this binder as well.  'n' made some lovely designs on the front cover as well as some of the pocket pages that I included in the binder.  We visited with Dad yesterday for a few hours.   It was a quiet visit.  He seems to be lost in thought much of the time and when I ask him what he is thinking about he says nothing.  I end up trying to share stories about my children and also memories of my childhood.  I read about 20 pages in the Kennedy book 'True Compass'.  He likes listening and only wants me to read it to him as I have offered to leave the book behind and he has said 'No I want you to read it'.  Sometimes it seems that I am just filling up the space with noise.  I'm not sure if I should just sit quietly and  be.... maybe that is the answer.  It is hard for me however to just be still.  Today's visit was quiet at first but after a while Dad sat up and chit chatted. We talked about how he and Mum met.  He's been thinking about this a lot.  He told me that they lived happily ever after.  He also told me that he was shy.  I just love him so much! He is such a kind soul.  He has had a difficult life.  He has not always made the best choices but then none of us do.  He has always been good to me and my children.  I will miss him so much when he is gone.  

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