Monday, May 30, 2011

N is for Numb

These past several weeks, numb is the best way to describe how I feel. I feel like I have to be stoic to take care of the family. I keep getting complimented on how strong I am. The only way to stay strong is to put one foot in front of the other and to be numb. If I don't enter numb mode, I cannot function at all.

The problem with being numb is that eventually you are going to break. My problem starts after 8 p.m. I am a nighttime crier. Tonight, I jumped in the shower around 8, before I went to get my sister at the airport. I cried in the shower. I pulled it back together to go pick her up. The tears started again really late as I was watching Mamma Mia! My evening glass of wine probably didn't help much, but I always cry at the wedding scene. I always cry at weddings. That scene in particular gets to me because my mother will never walk me down the aisle, nor will we ever engage in that mother-daughter bonding time again. It also makes me miss my father more because he likes musicals and Meryl Streep.

And then, as quickly as the crying comes on, the numbness reappears. I don't like to not feel. I relish in feeling the intensity of my emotions. Perhaps the numbness is my self saying that these feelings are too intense, and I am protecting myself so that I can still function in life.

Please do not think that I am constantly sad. I am not. I have many happy moments and experiences as well. I think it just hits me harder when I come to town to be with my parents. But there is nowhere else that I should be, nor would I want to be anywhere else right now. They need me. This is where my life is at the moment. This too shall pass.......

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Secret of My Success

As soon as I saw this week's blogging prompt I had to laugh, especially as I was about to leave to pick up my sister from the airport. "Success." I had to think of the cheesy 80s movie Secret of My Success, starring Michael J. Fox.

This movie remains my sister's all-time favorite movies, and I still love it, too. I can't tell you how many times the two of us have watched it. We have it practically memorized. My father loved watching it, too.

Michael J. Fox plays Brantley Foster. He lands a job working in the mail room of his uncle's company, but he really craves executive experience. He takes over the persona of Carlton Whitfield as well as an empty office and starts to rock the boat in the company. He falls in love with the token female executive, Christy, who is having an affair with his uncle. His aunt (by marriage) has developed a big crush on him and literally chases him around the office. Brantley has to balance both of his personalities, which includes many memorable scenes of him changing clothes in the elevator.

The movie is full of all kinds of 1980s cheese and stupid chase scenes, but you can't help but laugh hysterically. It is ridiculous, yet slightly smart at the same time. I cannot help but turn to it every time it is on TV. I highly recommend it for a cheesy laugh and great 80s nostalgia.

M is for Meetings and Memories

The first of three major meetings about my father's prognosis has been scheduled for Memorial Day. What a day to have to think about your father's life. It makes me almost feel like the decisions have been made before they've even been discussed.

A large chunk of the family is coming home to specifically discuss these issues and to help my sister and I make some tough decisions. As I think about the prospects and as I go sit with him to visit with him, I am overwhelmed with memories.

I type as I sit in the home to where my parents retired a few years ago. It is hard for me to believe that just a couple of months ago, they were both sitting right here with me. Even my dog is confused. Every time we walk in the door, he takes off running to check every nook and cranny, trying to find them both. I am surrounded by pictures and my father's paintings.

The facility in which my father is being treated is in the city that he and my sister and I grew up. My mother grew up just a couple of miles away on a farm. The family legacy goes way back and glimpses are still visible despite years of "development."

Sitting with my father last night, I read him a chapter of Jane Eyre and then played part of the BBC version on YouTube. The first time it aired I was in town and my dad kept me up half the night watching it. It was one of our favorite things to do.

I long to make another trek to the Toledo Art Museum. I have spent my whole life going there with my father. I know all of his favorite paintings. We even took oil painting classes together.

I am watching Golden Girls as I type. We grew up watching this as a family. When reruns became prevalent on numerous stations, my father always had it on. I can hear him laughing a certain punchlines. He never got tired of the jokes.

I still want to make memories with my father. And I am hoping that these meetings will tell me that is still possible.

Friday, May 27, 2011


It is amazing how your expectations of life can easily change in a single moment. Over these past six weeks as my father has been struggling with his health issues, I have found myself looking at life completely differently. I force myself to sit and do little to nothing. I have started driving in absolute silence, instead of listening to my favorite music or talk radio. I have been praying more and almost meditating more. I have less patience for shallow people and thoughts. I look more to nature for signs and for comfort.

It has been six weeks since I talked to my father. That is unbearable to someone who is used to talking to him almost every other day. When I first started to visit him in the hospital, I was expecting him to wake up and converse with me through blinking eyes and nodding his head yes or shaking it no until he got off of the ventilator. I thought that when he had his surgery he would wake up within a couple of days and all would be okay. But that isn't the case.

My last trip home, my expectations were that Dad would open his eyes when I talked to him and would respond to my commands to squeeze my fingers. This trip home, I had even more expectations, because I had heard he was starting to breathe on his own during the day. I also saw FIVE rainbows on my trip home.

I got nothing out of him today. It hurt, but then again, I have been aware that my expectations have to adjust. Now I just expect him to be calm and comfortable. I expect him to allow me to talk to him and love him. I expect friends and family to help take care of me and support me through the process, but to also allow me some quiet time. I expect people to forgive me as I get prickly, because I don't mean it. I expect to still cry in exhaustion and frustration. I expect the medical professionals to make the right decisions and to help us as we have to make ours. I expect them to care for my father to their utmost ability and to understand that we are people and not just files that cross their desks. And I expect God and the Universe to help provide for all of our needs.

The road is long and has lots of bumps along the way. But I expect to continue to be able to face this challenge head on, and to come out relatively unscathed on the other side.

GBE 2 Challenge

Ha, here it is the end of May. I haven't even finished up the April challenge, let alone started the May challenge. And I am going to start up a new challenge. This one is a little different. It's the GBE challenge. Group Blogging Experience. This is version 2, started on Facebook. Apparently the original was on MySpace.

Every Sunday, a general topic is posted in our Facebook group. If you can, you write a blog post about that topic and share it by Saturday night. You're not obligated to write on every post, nor write on all your blogs. But I think I will be able to get plenty of them on this blog. Happy reading!