Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ashes and Dust

I initially started this blog to help me work through my emotions surrounding the death of J, my dearest friend. Six years later, I am returning to its roots by writing about losing my father. It feels good to get thoughts and feelings down, even if it doesn't help me solve anything.

The following is my contribution for Velvet Verbosity's 100 Words this week. This round's word is FORGOTTEN. VV is choosing very helpful words for my process. :). Thank you, my sweet readers, for your patience and compassion while indulging me.

Appraising someone else's treasures is more difficult than you'd think. I struggle with evaluating and thinning Dad's beloved book collection, and glance at his sacred "ham shack" in the corner. The old amateur radios that used to whisper through the registers after my bedtime are now quiet until sold to other operators. The powdery ash that was once my Daddy will soon be one with the Rockies, assimilated and quickly forgotten by the elements. I've never been one to linger by caskets or gravestones ... but maybe that's what I'm doing now. Letting go so very reluctantly.

Thursday, May 05, 2011


After a short respite, I'm returning to Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge. This week's prompt is FAMILY - I didn't use the word within my piece, but felt I need not.

After spending the past week disbursing death certificates and helping Mom update their accounts, I had a squinchy feeling of remorse deep within. As if we were erasing him from the world.

His ashes have now reached Colorado, where my brother will scatter them in the mountains. We'll have no grave to visit. Not that I would anyway. Still, it somehow bothers me no one will ever be standing somewhere and know he was here - even strangers.

Such a ridiculous fret. We know. Dad reaches beyond monuments, beyond his own mortality. Blossoming through us.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


My final post for the A to Z Challenge, at which I pretty much sucked ;).

Well, much like the challenge, this trying month is over.

Dad's memorial service was today. It was fairly short and sweet - much as he'd prefer. Lots of old familiar faces and awkward but heartfelt words. I managed not to cry while I was there. I worry that Mom is crying right now. Or perhaps that she isn't. We are not very proficient processors of overpowering emotions, either one of us.

I spent time with my brother, nephew and neice this evening. We played Trivial Pursuit and had a fun time. It feels good to laugh and love with my blood. I don't see them nearly enough.

The difficult month that draws to a close tonight has changed me in ways that will never reverse. I have aged, and my heart has lost a few irretrievable shards. I've said goodbye to people I love - people I cannot imagine not being here.

But I have a husband, and a little boy, a dog, friends and family who are here. They love me and I love them. I continue to mourn. But I will do my best to return to the living.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weary (A/Z)

For the A to Z Challenge - Letter W.

My Dad passed away early Saturday morning.

I've been continuing with my previously mentioned running to Mom's, now to help her with arrangements. He wanted to be cremated, which simplified many aspects of the planning. If you can really do that. Very little is simple about laying a loved one to rest.

My brother will scatter Dad's ashes in the Colorado Rockies, which Dad did not propose himself but would no doubt approve of as his point of re-entry, becoming one again with the Earth.

I have drawn a lot of comfort in knowing Dad is no longer suffering. He was in incredible pain and discomfort with his cancer. He was so weary from his fight. While he didn't want to leave us, he seemed to know it was coming sooner than later. I truly think he was ready to be at rest - perhaps even willfully ushering himself there.

My Dad and I shared a delicately balanced, eggshell-filled, and often tumultuous relationship. Not often close, not even always speaking to each other. But he was my Dad, and I his daughter, and in these last few years we have mended or otherwise let go of the static between us. I have had nothing but love for him during these final years, and I know he felt the same.

I have begun mourning a little bit, but the bulk is still to come. This is a big one, and add this blow to the fact that we've lost yet another close family member only a week ago (I had not blogged about this out of respect for family privacy), I truly have not even been able to get into the grieving process very deeply yet. I have a way of holding it together for the sake of being strong for everyone else until it's all done and life can return to normal. But then many days later something will flip the switch. I will probably see an amateur radio license plate on the freeway, or hear Sultans of Swing (one of Dad's favorites) on the radio ... and it will hit me. And I will fully grieve then, because that's when the time will be. It just needs to come to me on its own.

Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the weary, for they shall find rest.

Rest in Peace, Dad.


Sunday, April 24, 2011


~ ~ Happy Easter ~ ~

A to Z Challenge Letter V - Victory over the Grave - He's Alive!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Quiet Reality Screams Terrible Unknowns (A/Z)

I'm cheating again, using 5 letters at once (Q,R,S,T,U) for the A to Z Challenge, but these little shortcuts are necessary for me right now. I've barely been online, let alone been able to blog - and my alternative is to fall behind with poor hope of catching up again ... and while I know this isn't exactly keeping up, I don't want to just abandon the challenge - because it's been fun :).

I don't speak about my personal life here much deeper than little anecdotes that reflect quaint little life lessons. But I feel like going deeper today.

My Dad is dying. He's all but lost his battle with cancer, which began in his colon and liver a few years back and then stealthily spread to his lungs and bones. He had many months of quality time left only last week. But then he suffered a fall and fractured his neck. This seems to have led to a dizzyingly rapid decline. He now lies in palliative care in a neck brace the rest of his life, which was quickly reduced to an estimated six months, then two months, and now only a few weeks. Only Monday he was quite himself, joking around with me, flirting with Mom and charming the nurses. He is now out of it with pain management medication way more than he is conscious. Still, I talk with him like he can hear me, hoping that he does despite the lack of outward cues. I hold his frail hand and tell him I love him each time I leave, hoping it rings through the fog for him. Hoping (selfishly, perhaps) it's not the last time I can do so.

Just as difficult to witness, my Mom is falling apart before my eyes. Always a pillar of strength and faith throughout our lives, she is crumbling in the face of reality - her valentine of 53 years, her husband for 51 of those, is failing. she is losing her partner, her right arm, her heart. She is devastated. I can be there for support, but I cannot stop her pain. She is not well either and I'm afraid she will lose her own will to live after Dad is gone. I don't know how to help her.

My Dad is being moved from the hospital to a nursing facility near their home later this afternoon. There he will receive hospice and round-the-clock care he will need to be as comfortable as possible for the remainder of his days.

Sunday is Easter. My Dad loves Easter eggs. This is the first time ever my Mom didn't make Easter eggs. She just didn't feel like it. I guess I don't blame her.

I don't know whether to wish for more time or for a quick release from his suffering now. Any alternative is almost too horrible to think about.

I love you, Dad.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Scattered to the Winds

For Velvet Verbosity's 100 Words Challenge. This week's prompt is IMP.

She made her way though the empty outbuilding with the stragglers brought in by the auction. It had been a lucrative day. Even the box of ancient snapshots and postcards had been bought by a vintage photo collector. She wasn't sure why something lacerated inside her as she let go of the box, when she didn't recognize a single person in them. She watched the last buyer pull away as her parents' cherished Imp squeaked arthritically behind him. A slideshow of summer memories flipped through her mind. She felt her heart fold in on itself like that leaky old boat.

LMNO Puppies (A/Z)

"ABCD puppies?"
"LMNO puppies."
"OSAR puppies, CMPN?"

-- childhood play-with-letters joke

Does anyone remember this? The rough translation is 'Hey, Bee, see da puppies?' 'Hell, them ain't no puppies.' 'Oh yes they are puppies, see 'em peein'?' It was so naughtily funny to tell a joke about pee (not to mention the implied bad word) in grade school.

The above joke is totally unrelated to anything at all, and I fully admit this is cheating by the rules of the A to Z Challenge, using 4 letters in one post ... but some emergencies have come up in my life and I need to consolidate just this once. I'll try to get back on track as soon as possible.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Klansman? Me? (A/Z)

For the A to Z Challenge - Letter K. Warning: Rant below! :)

I have just about had it with the race card.

I'm not saying racism doesn't exist, because it most certainly does. But just because I expect answers doesn't make me a racist. Neither does expecting a leader to make responsible decisions. Pass responsible laws. Handle the national budget with sense. Refrain from lavish vacations for himself and his family on the country's dime during times of fiscal crisis. Demanding that the will of the people be taken into consideration. Remember that whole not the color of my skin but the content of my character thing?

Many people question his citizenship. Supposedly born in Hawaii, the question has been raised he may have been born in Indonesia or somewhere else - rendering him disqualified from being President of the United States. To be honest I don't really have a strong feeling either way on which is right. But I will tell you I have a very low tolerance for bullsh*t.

Listen up: If you were born here, prove it. Not with relatives swearing by it, not with xeroxed newspaper announcements, not by chuckling dismissively and saying you're getting picked on by racists. You're wasting my time. You're wasting America's time. Ante up your proof with original, doctor signed docmuents and settle the matter if you very well can so we can get on with important business.

And by the way, sticking up for a sub-par, expect no accountability president just because he is black (*ahem*, half-black, but you never hear mention of that), IS in fact, also being a racist.

Jack (A/Z)

For the A to Z Challenge - Letter J.

Enough said.