family

Missing You

The last few days I have been missing my dad or the spirit of my dad.

Grief is a funny thing. It creeps up on you at unexpected times. It can be just a flutter in your heart or a vivid memory jerking the tears.

For me I have a night time shirt. An XXXL-type shirt bearing his photo. Not one I would wear out but one that’s comforting for those sleepy days. Maybe the visual on the shirt sparks the memories. Maybe it was the card in the mail from hospice on grief. Maybe it’s just the dust settling. I’m really not sure the nature of its source but it can take your breath away.

No matter the source I miss my dad in all forms. His younger vibrant days as my dad when I was a kid. The middle of the road days where he helped me navigate adulthood. To the end days when he needed help eating his dessert. I just miss him. There is really no replacement.

As life lessons need to be passed to my kids I find myself thinking what would he do. For now I cherish the memories and honor his spirit as I push forward.

I may never say goodbye to grief but I can push through the sadness. He would expect me to. Writing is a great form of therapy for me. If you lost somebody close to you, journaling your thoughts is always a great opportunity to push through the sadness.

I also have a great bestie named Teddie to hang with me as I write and today it was a nice cold glass of almond milk to wash away the woes.

Until next timeā€¦

friendship

My Independence WOD or Nod

My Independence WOD is really a nod to all those survivors living independently after a tough loss this year.

Each year on the fourth of July I normally run the Peachtree Road Race. This year was postponed. I’m getting used to the word postponed. Heard it way too many times in the last 90 days. Instead of focusing on the negative postponement I made it into a positive day.

I completed the 1776 WOD with a group of good friends and two of my kids. It wasn’t the hardest workout I’ve ever done but it was a grinder. One you had to push through. Lifting heavy weights, high repetitions of a daunting task, and so on.

While I was completing this WOD I wanted to honor of all the strong women in my life who are living independently without their loved one due to recent losses. Just a nod or tribute to celebrate their strength. Nothing said over the PA system, just a silent nod in a WOD.

Who knows what next year will bring on Independence Day but for today I am celebrating.

 

challenges

The Dark Cloud

I have written about death and loss a few times in the past few months and here we are again. Another visit to the darkness.

Another awesome soul is in the window of death. Just 61 years old. This time it’s cancer that is causing the suffering. Only hours remain. He will he missed.

I have so many strong women in my life taking their next step, their next breath, their next journey without their lifelong companion by their side. Scary for most of them but triumphant in other ways.

As I watch I try to support. Maybe a text message today or a visit next week. Maybe even a nod of some sort to honor the memory of their loved one. I’m glad it’s not me sitting in the hot seat but it definitely gives me perspective.

It allows me to value today and not wait for tomorrow on anything. Tomorrow is not guaranteed and that we all know. Today is here and many won’t seek out change or opportunities because they worry about failing or falling or whatever one calls it.

I choose daily. I choose to live life on the edge. I don’t want to wonder what I didn’t do when the day comes for my call to hospice. Until then you will find me making memories anywhere and everywhere. I will also remind as many as I can that they should do the same.

Life is precious. Cherish the moments that will last a lifetime. This is your reminder to make today amazing.

I will leave you with this photo of my mom. A milkshake date for her recent birthday. Her first alone without my dad. She is one of the special ladies I am watching take their next step.

She even tried a jalapeno on this day which is definitely out of her comfort zone. Maybe it was a test to say I’m here. I am still fighting even if I’m alone. One new experience at a time.

family

Loss

Today was a hard day. I had to bury my dad.

His passing during the pandemic did not make saying goodbye easy. In actuality it was far more complicated than I could have imagined.

The delays started with scheduling. Only one funeral a day impacted how many days after death the funeral would actually take place. This was the first oddity.

I am choosing to write about this only because many will never know or experience how the pandemic impacted saying good-bye for me and my mom. Life offers perspective from many viewpoints. For me I thought this was an interesting perspective to share.

There was no wake. No time for folks to come and pay final respects. There was only a small window of time the day of burial for a selected handful of people to pay respects. This alone makes mourning the loss hard. So many didn’t get to see him off as we might have envisioned.

Some couldn’t come because of fear of germs. Some chose not to attend because of riots. Some were not able to attend because of their sheer age and restrictions in the area. This made my mom very sad.

No hugs for loved ones. No special memories shared. And how could I forget those who could come had to wear masks and keep their distance when all everyone really wants to do is give a hug to show your love and support for the loss suffered.

One vivid memory I have of the day was when my cousin stood about 15 feet away, fully masked saying “I’m going stay over here just in case you have corona.” Who wants to feel like they have a disease when burying their spouse. So bizarre but this is how today is.

Despite all of the above, the send off was as beautiful as it could be with current environmental conditions. As we forge ahead in our grieving process we will hold on to the memories made over time. There were many. Choosing to focus on what we had vs. what we lost is how we choose to move ahead.

I will immerse myself in a project to honor my dad. I will find a way to carry his spirit in all I do. I will find a way to let my children know of the values he gave to me.

I hope this funeral perspective let’s you think of how others may have been impacted by loss during corona above and beyond the loss of privilege of toilet paper.

family, perspective

Bad Things Happen In Sets of Three

I have been told over the years that things happen in sets of three. Mainly it’s been around death that I was told groups in threes. I haven’t really dwelled too much about it over the years because it hasn’t been so close to home.

This week life shook me a bit. First the death of a colleague from a not so distant past. He lost his battle with cancer. In his prime he was healthy, fit and the life of the party, many gatherings which I attended with him. As I watch the tributes to him online I have both happy and sad emotions. Why did the world lose such a bright spirit? Why did he exit in what seemed like a long and painful way?

Only a few days after, one of my bright-spirited friends lost her dog. This passing may seem trivial to some but this was her child. The trusty companion had been through schooling, marriage, death and even a pandemic over some 15 years of dog life. I’m sure age was the factor here but it doesn’t make it easier. Saying goodbye to a life companion is hard. So very hard.

Hours later as I write this entry my dad is clinging to life in his own aging battle with dementia. The word is that his time could come in hours or days. Just not sure. Is this the third in the set of three this week? Does knowing make it easier? Are we ready for the passing of such an important family member? So many questions.

Death is unfortunately part of life. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone. As I deal with the loss of the week and the pain of life I also thrust forward to see new light. What’s around the corner? What can I be thankful for? How can I keep pressing on?

I don’t shift focus to diminish the loss, rather I use the experiences to strengthen my stride in life. To live as much as possible in the time I have ahead of me. It’s these defining moments in time that I have to find a way to make an impact to honor the life lost. There isn’t really a roadmap to doing so. I just follow my heart.

The clip below spoke to me as I wrote this post and thus I am sharing it with you.

IMG_0111

 

As I think of funerals today and how they are so different I opted to write this short story to honor not only my connections who have suffered losses but all those who endured a loss and pushed through the new normal of saying goodbye in these pandemic times. Whether it was a zoom wake/funeral or immediate family only gathering, grief and goodbyes are never easy.

In closing, I hope my dad musters the strength to push forward for selfish reasons, but in reality I want him to spread his wings with the angels to take away the pain and suffering of his final days. If he becomes three it was meant to be.