Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Its been one year...

It has officially been one year since the death of my Dad and it has been the worse year of my life. I think I've been through emotions ranging from shock, denial, raging anger, devastating sadness, & unbelievable guilt. I've had these emotions but they were multiplied times 10. I can't believe I've lived one whole year without him. I think what hurts the most is the way that he died...he was just gone without a word. When my grandmother passed, I had 15 months to say "good-bye" to her, we all knew it was coming. But my dad died from a heart attack alone without anyone there to comfort him and hold his hand...he went so fast he probably never knew what happened to him. He always told me that if something ever happened to him, he would hug & kiss me on his way out and up and I get comfort from believing that he did. I think I have finally come to the terms that this is something that I will never get over, but I will have to learn to live with it. And I've let myself grieve for a year and so this year I'm going to try to get myself out of this "funk" and maybe some slight depression. I've learned a lot this year and I'm going to try to do the best that I can to move on and be happy the way that he wants me to be. I'm blessed with a great family and wonderful friends that have been there for me this whole year. I'm focusing on that.

And now after all we've been through, we've been faced with yet another family member in very poor health. My grandpa (my dad's dad) has been diagnosed with Leukemia. He's been in & out of hospitals and rehabilitation centers for the last 3 months, he hasn't been in his own home in 2 months. From what I understand he's had this for years and didn't know it, and is now in the final stage. Its horrible seeing what this cancer does to someone. My grandpa has worked hard his whole life, he's a very strong, determined, respectfully stubborn man. I have never seen him down in my whole life and to see him now a man thats 6' ft or more, down to 102lbs. and fighting just to be able to eat something...well its just devastating and I have a hard time with it, especially after just losing my dad. But it doesn't matter how it makes me feel, I will be there for him regardless and be as strong as I can for him. My aunt told me the other day that he has been trying to eat better and if he keeps it up, they will let him go home, which is what he wants to do. He told us last week he wanted to go home and sit on his porch and I pray that he gets to do that before the weather gets colder.
This past weekend Oct. 16-18 I think was the mile stone for me. The 18th was the 1 year anniversary of my dad's death and I was terrified of it, I got real bad anxiety. I would shake, I couldn't sleep, I was real nervous and I had a pain in my chest that I hadn't had since the minute (@7:26 pm on Oct. 18th 2008) I got the phone call of his passing...I just did not want this day to come. But what I realized is that I just didn't want to go through it alone (excluding my husband). My mom lives in Indiana and she had been saying she was going to come down that weekend, but I didn't want to get my hopes up until I knew for sure. And my brother lives in Ohio and he wasn't sure he could make it, due to work and finances after moving to a new house, he's gotten a little behind. But the weekend before our grandpa asked about David and asked me if he was going to get to come down. And so I told David that grandpa was "asking" for him and so David re-arranged things to be able to come down and see grandpa and to be with me & mom on the anniversary. And so they arrived at my house on Friday night the 16th around midnight and it was so good to see them, I instantly felt a peaceful relief. I knew they were what I needed. My brother has grown up to be a really great guy and has the funniest sense of humor, he had me laughing the minute he walked in the door and my mom has come a long way and when she hugs me now, it feels genuine (long history there...lol). Well I got them to bed because we all had to get up early and get ready for Saturday. And as I woke up on Saturday morning the pain that had been in my chest was gone and I was feeling so much better than I had in a couple weeks. My mom was in good spirits, and David was being his fun self...I think just us being together is what we needed more than I had realized to get through this weekend. We were going to meet my aunt Sharon (dads sister) and her son (my cousin) Steven for lunch at Chili's and then go to the hospital to spend the rest of the afternoon with grandpa, he's in ICU at this time. So as we go in the hospital room, my grandpa is sleeping but the nurse wakes him up, its time for his lunch and he realizes that we're all there...so he gets up to eat and he is looking really good to me, compared to the last time I was there...he had color in his face and was eating the most I had seen him eat in 2 months!! We had a very good visit and I'm so thankful that my brother got this time with him, they both got to tell each other that they loved each other and it was good for David to see the reality of how sick grandpa really is. I don't think he grasped that until seeing it for his self.
After that we went to the cemetary to put flowers on my dad's head stone. And this was the first time that my mom has seen the grave site since the funeral and I think it was really good for her, because all she remembered was the big gaping hole in the ground...so now she felt some closure and I asked her if she felt better and could feel a difference after you see it some time later and she said "yes, actually I felt better at your house last night, when we went to bed I could feel your dad's spirit/presence in your house." She could not have said anything better to me. We came back to my house after that and spent some good quality time together, going through pictures and playing with pictures on the computer...by that I mean editing them and decorating a few for halloween and it was a lot of fun. My mom went to bed early, she had a long drive the next morning and my husband went to bed a little while later and David and I stayed up until 1:00am talking and having a good time...I love my brother so much...he's a big piece of my heart...more than I thought he would ever be (we didn't get along growing up...lol)

Well they got up early on Sunday morning and drove back to their homes and I was alone on the anniversary date, and you know I was ok...it was the worse day of my life and I felt good, I was smiling and having a good day. I thought of my dad the whole day...but of good things not the things that have been haunting me for a year. My dad was so hilarious and compassionate and a very loving man...he had his problems and did some things that he shouldn't have but he learned from them, maybe a little to late, but he did and I realized that those things didn't take away from his "character" & "personality" which was bigger than life!! I'll never be closer to another person than I was to him and as I sit here crying and typing this out, I have realized that besides losing another family member or a close friend, that the worse thing that could ever happen to me, already has, and I'm still here, I'm ok & I'm going to be ok...I can get through "it" now.

I've talked to my mom a few times since she's been back home and she seems to be alot better...which makes me feel so much better for her and David...well he's just David...lol...back to work and worrying about his home, wife & kids as it should be. We'll always miss him but at least now as we start this next year without him, we can focus more on the positive things about him...so here's to my dad *toast*...may he rest in peace until we get there...lol

4 comments:

kreshy said...

Hey Julz
I have been there with you through all the pain and it tore at me that i couldn't do more the be an ear to listen. I know your Dad ment alot to you as all your family does. You have been a good friend and have see me through a bad spot in my own life this past year. I just wish i could have been a better friend to you like you are to me.
I would say things will get better but they don't just get easier so take it one day at a time that is all you can ask of yourself and i think you'll find it does get easier each day.
I am glad your mom and brother got to come down and you all found some peace being together.
Bless you always
Melissa

Julia said...

Thank you Melissa...and you are a good friend :)

Beverooni said...

My own dad passed away a year ago the end of July and reading your comments put into words those things that I couldn't find words for. I have missed my dad SO much. I miss his "I love you" on the phone and his hugs and kisses. I miss him inviting me to go fishing and still baiting my hook and cleaning my fish for me. I visit his grave when I go to Idaho to visit my mom but I don't find the comfort there I had hoped for -- I want him back and no matter what I do I'm not going to get my wish. I am so sorry you are going through this too. I'm sending cyber hubs your way.

Sonya said...

Julia,
What a beautiful and heartfelt post this is. I too lost my dad a little over a year ago, so this is actually my 2nd Thanksgiving without him. I'd like to say it's getting better, but unfortunately for me it's not. I think it gets easier for me to deal with things, but the pain is just as strong as the day he died. I just take it a day, and sometimes an hour at a time. But as you said, we will get thru "it", I think it just takes time, and how much time it takes is different for everyone. God bless you and your family this Thanksgiving and always, and hang in there.
Hugs,
~Sonya