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Posts tagged ‘friend’

Little Girl Lost, Part 2

It’s unbelievable that time has gone by in what seems so fast.   March 23rd, 2004 was the most heart wrenching moment I would have to ever face, so I thought.  That was the day my mom died.  There are moments in life when it seems like it was just a few days ago and at times it seems like a lifetime ago.  I miss her incredibly and at times I’m not even sure what that means.   But, today…..today really sucked.  For the past seven years on this day, I would go sit next to my dad and he would give me a hug.  He didn’t care if I cried.  So, today it’s really him that I am missing.

I get a little confused in my head sometimes when I remember the moment of my grandmother’s death and how my mom told me, as I watched her cry, that one day I would understand when she was gone how much harder it was to lose your mom.  I think maybe she wasn’t as lucky to have such an awesome dad like I did. I don’t know since he died the week before I turned one.  Then of course there are the family stories and if any of that is true, I definitely got the better parent!

It’s also hard because I’ve fought back and forth between the sadness and the peace.  I miss my dad so incredibly much that my heart breaks just like it did when she died.  I sometimes would feel guilty after he died with all of the “what-ifs.”

December 9th, 2016……I stood in the hallway as they rolled my dad back for surgery.  I couldn’t even look at him.  After sitting in the same waiting room as I had the day before, I recall being quite irritated with the priest from his church but let him say the prayer for my dad anyway.  I didn’t understand why he couldn’t stay and was not in a place to argue that he should stay and my dad would be out of surgery soon.  Didn’t he get what I had just been through?  Thank goodness Jen was there to help deal with him or I might have punched that priest.

After the surgery, we followed him back down the long hallway to the next building.  It was there that I couldn’t go to him, as they wheeled him into that room.  Finally, I stood there long enough for the doctor to say something.  I then went in and all I could say was “I’m sorry.”  I cried.  I cried because how could I do this to him? How could I cause him pain? This isn’t what we discussed.  This wasn’t what was written on the DNR paperwork.  This wasn’t how it was suppose to happen.  But then yet it was…….

There was no way I could go with losing another parent and not having them tell me they love me.  I understand my mom was in so much pain.  I knew dad was in pain.  I was so sorry they pounded on his chest and shocked him back to life.  And now, now he had a tube down his throat to breathe for him.  I looked in his eyes and asked if he knew how much I loved him.  He nodded yes.  He held my hand and squeezed it.  I looked at him with such sadness looking back at me.  I was so sorry.  I didn’t know what to say or what to do.  I worked really hard to keep coming to see him over the next two days as much as I could.

Monday, I got word that he had been extubated.  I didn’t know he was going to be on the full face mask but he was.  He tried to talk to me a little.  I still hadn’t heard what I needed to hear.  He encouraged me to go to work and to go home the last two days so I could be with Alice.  I stayed with him a while and held his hand.  After I left, it was only a couple of hours later, I got a call…… Med City said the caller ID.  My heart sank.

The doctor told me not to drive myself.  I ran through the house getting dressed and out the door to the neighbors to have them watch Alice.  I couldn’t yell any more than I did at Cary to drive faster.  Once there, I jumped from the car and ran, ran like dad couldn’t run, yelling “Oh my God” the whole way to the 4th floor and through the waiting room, past a blur of other families standing there……  For the next 15 hours I sat next to his bed.

When I first ran into his room, he looked at me with such intensity in his eyes and told me, “My time is short.”  Over the next couple of hours I sat watching him.  I would try to lie down in the waiting room for a little bit off and on but just got back up and went next to his bed.  At one point, he was swirling his finger around and said, “light.”  I asked him over and over during this time if my mom was there.  He would shake his head no.  He did the same when I asked if grandma or grandpa was there.  It was when I asked him if Jesus was there that he shook his head yes.  I felt such relief and peace with knowing this.  It wasn’t until later that I realized in talking with someone I trust with all my heart that yes my mom was there….. she was part of the light.

It was early morning and another wonderful soul who is like a mother to me showed up to be with me.  She stayed right by my side until his last breath.  I don’t know how she knew I needed her but I did and she was there.

In all of what seemed to be the chaos of those last moments, I would say have no regrets.  But I did for a moment.  I left him lying in that room when it was over with his mouth open and for whatever reason that bothered me.  Maybe because it was a reminder that he had lost a tooth and we had not taken the time nor spent the money to have his other teeth pulled.  But, he had been so stubborn and I wasn’t really sure knowing with his medical history he would have made it through the surgery.  Hadn’t I been taking care of the other doctor appointments?  I had tried.  Maybe I felt guilty that we didn’t go the cardiologist sooner than we had.  Maybe the shame of feeling like I didn’t do enough to take care of him after I had promised my mom I would.  I don’t know.  It was all so overwhelming at times.  But, I know that I could only stand there and hold his hand….this man who held me as a baby, carried me when I was little, taught me about life, took care of me, and loved me unconditionally……. was gone.  Just like that…..no more heartbeat no more breathing no more moments no more……..

It took many hours that morning, days later and even weeks later to realize that I did everything I was suppose to do.  I let him have his dignity.  I let him make the choice to stop the medicine pumping his heart and let him choose to stop the oxygen mask.  And that, as his daughter, was all I could do.  I’m still sorry for any pain I caused…..that will take some time to heal.

But, after his mask came off, I heard it.  I heard him say, “I love you too.”  And that was what I needed.  As selfish as it may have been, I needed that.

I miss him…… a lot.

……..”There I go turn the page”

The words of my cousin Adam.  He’s the one cousin out of about 75 that I talk to more than anyone.  He’s 26 and he’s autistic.  It was his soulful voice that made me smile.  It doesn’t matter how long time has gone between when I’ve seen him or talked to him, he remembers.  He remembers and immediately breaks into song.  A little Bob Seger for the soul. 

But after the smile fades, my sadness returns.  It seems there is way too much of that this year.  It’s more just than a loss of a family member.  Aunt Edith was my great aunt.  She outlived all of her nieces on my Grandma’s side, including my mom.  She was an amazing woman.  I did not get a chance to meet her until I was a legal adult.  It was like being greeted by a grandmother I no longer had and had longed for.   She brought me in and loved me as if she had known me my whole life.  I remember always thinking I hoped that I could be like her in so many ways:  her love of God,  her love of her husband my Uncle Don, being able to offer advice and wisdom to her grandchildren as I had the privilege of her sharing with me, her love for gardening, and being a good cook.  I will miss her maple candy.  I remember when mom asked me to write to her and ask for some.  I did…..I didn’t think I would get the box out of my mom’s hands when it came in the mail!  I can only hope that I live life with zest like she did and stay as spry as she was.   Aunt Edith was an amazing but more I am thankful that God gave me the time I had with her.   I’m sad Alice doesn’t remember her but am so thankful she got to meet her.   What a wonderful moment in time to meet your great, great aunt! RIP Aunt Edith.  I will miss you.

 

And by the way…… I’m get a little tired of turning pages in my life.  This is enough loss for one year.  Now time to go honor Carroll.

Cancer can kiss my ass

It was 12:09 am….the phone rang.  It’s never good when the phone rings that late.  I saw it was Carroll. I didn’t want to believe it.  I was hoping that she needed my help.  Come get Lilly, can you come over, I need _________.  No. It was her husband.  I didn’t want to hear what he had to say.  Damn it.  I didn’t get to _________________________ (insert one million things I wanted to say or do with her).   I wanted to turn back time so fast.  I just needed…………………………………..

 

I’m not ready to lose my friend.

 

 

I’m angry. I’m disappointed in our healthcare system.  It really disgusts me that a doctor would allow someone so young to walk through their door and not educate them. How could they just suggest and inject the next end-all-be-all medication without any regard for what it was doing to someone’s body.   Why aren’t they teaching people about nutrition? Educate them on GMOs.  How many more people need to get cancer before society wakes up.  Other countries don’t allow GMOs, why is America? It’s poison, free radicals, toxic trash people put in their bodies. How can these doctors live with themselves? It makes me more disgusted in Western medicine than ever.  Should have I felt bad I couldn’t support the brain cancer walk? I feel bad that I wasn’t there WITH Carroll but no I don’t feel bad that I wasn’t willing to support a cause that promoted death.

 

I wasn’t ready to not have my friend around. I want her back.

It was funny when I talked to her mom later that morning.  I felt such an emptiness.  I think I was upset that we didn’t have time to go through the pictures she wanted for the book for her daughter. However, her mom reminded me that I needed to help finish that book.  I told her I would and that I had been working on it the previous week. I told her I was sad Carroll didn’t get to see what I had done.  She said, “Don’t worry, she did.  She’s smiling down looking at it.”  That somehow gave me comfort. And, yes for that little girl, I want her to have those pictures in the album her mother bought for her.

I’ve cried a lot of tears the past couple of days for my friend.  I know she wouldn’t want me to be sad. So, even as I sit here now typing, I’m trying not to cry. But, I am remembering the good stuff….and the most important thing of all Carroll taught me….”I love you.” because you never know when you won’t have the chance to say it again.

Carroll….I watched the sunset on my drive home tonight. The sky was cloudy and the sun sank low just peering below the clouds. As the sun dropped the sky became this beautiful ray of blue and red with the lining of the clouds lit like fire.  I just hope you were back there watching me, as I thought of you.

My Life in a Blur

So, last week I read on Facebook that my childhood friend Carroll was still fighting the brain cancer. It seems the tumors continue to grow. I’ve had many reactions to this. One, I am not ready to lose my friend. Second, I wish that she would do more to get healthy. I gave her the healthy chocolate, which I still encourage her to take. I also wish that she would start eating more organic. However, the other side realizes how expensive that can be, as I am trying to feed a family of four on organic and grass fed meat. Then driving to work one day after visiting with her, I slipped into a fog. I thought of all the things we did together as kids. I was grateful for getting to know her. I remember her telling me that when the family I was staying with, the Langfords, moved to Sweden that I could stay with them and her mom would watch me after school. And, Bitsy did. This family was so amazing. They did more than provide a place for me to stay and have a snack after school or maybe get a little help with homework. They taught me how to hug. I know this sounds weird but they would hug me every morning and before I left. Bitsy and Carroll give the best hugs. This coming from a child who was seriously tactile defensive made me tense and afraid. My family wasn’t a group of huggers, except Fat Aunt Mary. I remember one morning in the living room with the avocado green carpet below my feet that was scratchy to the touch if you were stuck sitting on it because both couches were full. It was this morning that Bitsy gave me a hug until I hugged back and I remember the tightness of the squeeze. At first it was taking my breath away and then I started to relax as the endorphins from the proprioceptive input. I finally relaxed and learned to hug back. There are many other fond memories I have of Carroll. One of them is spending the night with her and sitting on the porch watching the rain. I also loved summer mornings when dad would drop me off. I ran from the car to the porch so fast, hoping that the evil cat, Pepper, wouldn’t attack my legs, which happened frequently. Also, enough to send my nervous system into fight or flight….usually flight prevailed. But, once past the point of doom of the bushes next to the house, I would go inside and then find Carroll still sleeping downstairs in the room she shared with a very little brother, Hank. He was usually up, and I would curl up on his bed and snooze with Carroll. As we got older, we still kept in touch. I made sure to see the family when I would come home for a visit from wherever I was living. Before I moved, Carroll and I had a good bonding moment or two….. One was right before I moved, she and I went on a trip to New Mexico. We blew a few tires on the way but she still helped me with the apartment hunting. She and I also had a wonderful trip to Tsankowi for hiking. We stayed with her aunt Carroll and got to spend time with Popasida, her dad’s dad. I really enjoyed this time with her. Then for my birthday before I moved, she took good care of me the night of and the next day when we had been out having a rather fun time! She was my alibi since I left work early and couldn’t go home to face my parents. She made me a grilled cheese and soup. Carroll is still an amazing friend. Even in her position, I know if I needed anything she would do it for me. I hope she feels the same.