Friday, September 18, 2009

Thanks Dad

There are so many things to thank you for and so little time left to do it.
Thank you for working so hard for so many years to make sure that we had a place to live, food to eat and clothes to wear. Thank you for raking piles of leaves in the backyard, just so I could jump into them and make a mess. Thanks for hiding Easter eggs every year so that the holiday was that much more exciting. Thank you for tucking me in and singing commercial jingles and TV themes to me as my lullaby. Thank you for digging out coins from the back seat of the car when the change in my pockets slipped out. Thank you for taking me trick or treating every year, even when it was freezing outside. Thanks for putting the star on the top of the tree every year and making a big deal about turning on the lights for the first time. Thank you for my college education. Thank you for giving me away at my wedding and realizing that Mike was indeed good enough for your little girl. Thank you for loving my husband like a son. Thank you for sharing a dance with me that night. Thank you for always being proud of me. Thank you for loving your granddaughter. Thank you for not giving me everything I wanted, but making sure I had everything I needed. Thank you for having a heart big enough and a mind open enough to realize that you could love an adopted child as if she was your biological child.
Thank you for being my dad. I love you. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Saying Goodbye

When I started this blog, I knew there would come a time when I would have to post about some sad experiences. I just didn't think it would be this soon.

As I sit and type this, my father is in his last dialysis session. After this, he will be transferred out of the rehab facility he has been in for the last few weeks and back to the apartment with my mom for hospice care. Since he can't live without dialysis, the medical staff tells us that it will only take a few days, maybe a week for him to pass away.

I'm really having trouble wrapping my mind around this. It's not like we didn't expect this. There were so many times over the last few years that we thought the end was near. This time, we even knew that this was probably it. So why is it so hard to believe? All I can picture is this clock, ticking away the hours he has left to live. I've even tried to put myself in his place and wonder how I would feel if I knew the end was this close. I can't even begin to imagine it. I know my mother-in-law is facing the same reality, although hers is farther off.

Last Sunday, Mike and I brought Marissa up to see my mom and dad. I knew that this might be the last time that any of us saw him alive. He was able to watch the baby play and laugh on the floor with Mike. He didn't say anything, but I could see him watching her and move his hand slightly, like he was waving at her. Maybe he was waving goodbye?

How do I say goodbye? How do I come to grips with something I thought I had accepted as a reality a long time ago?

This morning, I sorted pictures to use for the funeral display. He's not even gone and I'm already acting like he is. Maybe it's all a part of coping with the inevitable.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Life Begins at 39

I know. It sounds so cliche. Just fill in the blank, "life begins at ___". The more I think about where my life is right now and where it's headed, there isn't a phrase more fitting or all encompassing. I am in a period of huge transition in my life, many positive changes and some not so fun. That's what life is, a series of ups and downs. I can look back and say that my life has always been changing, going in and coming out of different phases, but the reason I make the statement that my life is beginning is because I'm at a point of fufillment, comfort and excitement, the likes of which I have never known before. This emotional state makes me even more ready for the adventures that lie ahead.
First, there is the center of my universe, Marissa. She was born on March 17th of this year, a little less than a month before my 39th birthday. My husband and I had been trying to conceive for about three years before it finally happened. While I wanted to be a mom so badly, I never realized the enormous and profound impact this little, beautiful creature would have on my life. I am filled with so much love that I could just burst at times. I see the world as brand new all over again. People always told me I would never understand until I had a child and now I see why. There just aren't enough words to describe being a parent. Of course, it's not all fun. Marissa takes after me in many ways which makes her impatient, demanding and really short-fused at times. Even with the trying times, I can't wait for each new milestone to happen and each first.
The second big change is not working outside the house. I am lucky enough to be able to stay at home with my daughter and not work. After being home with her, I have come to a realization that I never wanted to admit to anyone other than maybe my husband. I have always been too worried about my career, the future possibilities and what others might think of me to say it before, but I'll say it now. Having a career is not important to me. Climbing a corporate ladder is not important to me. I just don't get fufillment from working. The relationships with the people I have worked with, of course, are very important to me, but the work itself, not so much. There. I said it. No turning back now.
The next transition in my life is not fun or positive. I am coping with parents who are not in good health. My father has kidney failure and has been on dialysis for 4 years now. He is 80, so he is not a candidate for a transplant. The dialysis is very hard on his frail body and I see him getting worse and worse every time I visit. In fact, just recently, he was moved from the assisted living area where he was living with my mom to the nursing home section because he is getting so bad. My mom is also 80 and her issue is even harder to deal with. My mom has issues with dimentia. It's so difficult to see my loving, kind, intelligent and well-educated mother lose her memory and reasoning capabilities. I have the same conversations with her over and over. I know in my mind that she can't help it, but my heart breaks every time. She can't seem to understand or remember what's happening with my father, so it's causing a lot of chaos on a daily basis for my husband and I as well as my brother and his wife. To top things off in the parent department, my mother-in-law is dying from terminal lung cancer that has spread to the bone. It's stage 4 and not curable, so she has chosen to not take treatment and live out whatever time she has left. Every time I look at my little girl, I cry a little knowing that she will never remember these wonderful people who are her grandparents. She does have one grandfather in good health so I do hope it stays that way. As I said before, life has it's ups and downs. Right now, I have some pretty big downs, but I know it won't always be like this. Life keeps changing.
Lastly, I am becoming very comfortable just being myself. It's not that I don't care what others think. I'd be lying if I said I didn't. It's just that what I think is more important to me now. Some people would call it living without regrets or apologies. I don't. I know I will still need to apologize plenty in my life. You can't be true to your mind and heart without stepping on a few toes along the way, so apologies will still be necessary. I'm trying to minimize regrets, but I know there will still be some. It's impossible to have none.
So this is my life at 39. I'm embarking on some uncharted territory for me and I'm keeping record of it and sharing it here with the world. I hope this blog will be interesting, maybe even controversial at times. It could also be boring in certain parts. I don't have an agenda because life doesn't go according to any plan. Except for God's and He usually doesn't share ahead of time.