Hi, Lainy, Marion and Pam -

Well, 2012 will be an adventure - I have a re-occurrence of a lung infection and just started back on medication the week before Christmas - I was treated for this in 2001 and was considered in remission until a chest x-ray a couple of months ago indicated that the infection was again active - so will be on medication for at least one year - then my dog had to go on steroids and antibiotics as well as a hypoallergenic dog food because he has all the symptoms of an, as yet, undetermined allergy - so he'll have to have allergy testing as well!

Seems I'll be seeing a lot of doctors this coming year!

Take care of yourselves -

Christmas Eve marked the sixth month since my Dad left us - I put red and green anthuriums at my Mom and Dad's niche at the cemetery - they looked so pretty and Christmasy -

I had my brother and sister-in-law, my son and his wife and my daughter and her husband over for lunch on Christmas Day - it was a lot easier having the gathering at my house than at my brother's - it would have been too hard not seeing my Dad at his usual place at the table -

How time has flown - so many things have happened in the past six months - yet, at times, it seems like he just left

Hi, Lainy -

I didn't realize how hard the first holiday without my dad would be -

I think I'll be OK for Christmas and New Year's - what I'm dreading is my dad's birthday in January - my brother and son are also born in January so we always celebrated the three birthdays with one big party - that's going to be hard!

Thanksgiving this year was also the fifth month anniversary of my Dad's passing - for the past few years, our holiday celebrations have pretty much revolved around my father - we made sure his favorite foods were on the table and it was satisfying to see my dad enjoy his meal - I miss that

My brother and sister-in-law decided to go to Las Vegas and spend Thanksgiving there this year - I don't blame them - I don't think the strain of caring for dad was realized until he passed away - and then, I had to call my brother right after they got to Las Vegas to let him know that our uncle had passed away!

Had Thanksgiving lunch at my house for my children and their spouses - it was quiet but made a hard day bearable 

Now need to prepare for Christmas (Christmas Eve will be my Dad's sixth month anniversary!)

I guess the first holiday makes you realize how everything has changed.

5

(24 replies, posted in Grief Management)

Lainy - I read your post about getting in your car and driving -

For a year after my mother passed away, every time I got into the car to drive to work or when I drove home from work, the tears would just flow! - as soon as I arrived at work or home, I wiped my face and went on with my day (or night) - my car was a private sanctuary where I could let go and then re-group -

So I hope you can find a time/place where you can get some relief - even a warm soak in the tub helps!

6

(70 replies, posted in Introductions!)

To nancy -

I think every situation is different - thankfully, although my dad's bile duct cancer was considered terminal by the time he was diagnosed, he surprisingly had little pain - however, it was a relief to have the "comfort kit" of medication at home that was prescribed by the hospice doctor     

And mn - I am so happy that you now have palliative care for your mother - I was reading your previous posts and wondering what you had decided to do -

My thoughts and prayers are with you - I know how hard it is

Kim - You raised a good point - I hope that the experience makes us more conscious of doing what is necessary to protect/enchance our health and encourage loved ones to do the same - like many of you, I want to be a healthy presence in my children's (and hopefully grandchildren's) lives

Some of you have mentioned taking action to deal with your own medical/health concerns - I found that it took the same amount of energy to deal with it as I did worrying and wondering whether I had a problem - it was such a relief when my doctor reviewed everything and assured me that he didn't see any problem!

8

(9 replies, posted in In Remembrance)

Hi Lainy -

Yup - my dad was small and quiet but he's left such big holes in our lives

And lo and behold - yesterday I went to the mailbox and there's a jury questionnaire for my dad!  It's so strange

9

(18 replies, posted in In Remembrance)

Hi Jen -

Just stopped by to check in - your dad and mine passed at about the same time and I didn't expect it but also found it more difficult after dad's one month anniversary -

Finally gathered myself up and went to the columbarium last week to see my mom and dad - had kept thinking I should go but just couldn't bear to do it - but when I finally went, it wasn't that bad - I know they're happy to be back together again - it's just hard on us that are left behind

10

(9 replies, posted in In Remembrance)

Hi all!

Got through the 24th OK but I kind of fell apart the following week -

Uncanny though - the house has started falling apart - the drain stopped up last week and the plumber had a hard time clearing it - then this past weekend, water started leaking down the wall so the plumber came in today to start a major overhaul of the plumbing in the house - seems like the house knows my dad is no longer around!

11

(9 replies, posted in In Remembrance)

Thanks - both of you have been super!

Tomorrow will be a month since Dad passed - it's been such a loooong month

Have been trying to get back to some semblance of "normal" although I'm not quite sure what that is anymore - I guess you just have to keep yourself open to whatever each day brings!

12

(9 replies, posted in In Remembrance)

It's been a month since I found this site - three weeks since dad passed away - so short a time!

You have all helped me so much to get through this -

Even though my mom passed away so long ago, I never thought (or wanted to think) about my dad leaving us - he was always there to take care of us and even as he aged, I just never thought that he would not be around anymore.  Leaves such a big void -

But it's time for me to move on - there are serious health problems of close family members that need to be attended to - 

I wish you all the best - take care

13

(5 replies, posted in Members' Cafe)

Lainy -

My children bought me a dog when I retired in 2009.  My Shiba Inu is my baby and I can't tell you how it would lift my spirits to see him when I came home after spending time with my dad.

I don't know if you have a pet or want one but there are many dogs and cats awaiting adoption at your local ASPCA (I watch Animal Cops on cable TV and there are many segments which feature the Phoenix ASPCA).

It's been weird - I saw the funeral notice in the Sunday paper for a friend who has been undergoing cancer treatment since last spring - so, I'll be going to another funeral tomorrow -

As hard as it was for my Dad to let go, I can't imagine what it was like for her - her #1 priority had always been to take care of her handicapped son - so terribly sad

Hi, Jen -

Actually I've been sleeping better since we had Dad's service - I didn't realize how stressed I was with all the preparations and the anxiety about everything going well

I've been working on the family photo albums and it brings up a lot of good memories of my Dad - I also pulled out my collection of CDs and the music is calming

Kealii Reichel is a chanter, singer and kumu hula (teacher of hula).  A couple of years ago, he put out a CD which he dedicated to his grandmother who had passed away.  When I took the CD out, this is on the inside of the case.

Look inside my heart
And you will find a secret place reserved for you and you alone

Look inside my soul
And you will feel my love washing in waves over every moment of our sharing

Look inside my thoughts
And you will see silver stars dancing our names across the heavens

Look inside my life
And you will know that love has etched your name on my very soul

16

(14 replies, posted in Members' Cafe)

Hello -

My dad passed the day before Jen's father -

We had his service yesterday and placed dad's urn in the niche with my mom --they've been apart for so long and I know they are both happy to be together again.

I believe the same is true for your mom and dad -

There is a country western song by Collin Raye called "If You Get There Before I Do" that I used to hear on the radio a lot - it used to make sad when I heard it because it reminded me of my dad and mom - here's part of the lyrics -

If you get there before I do,
don't give up on me.
I'll meet you when my chores are through;
I don't know how long I'll be.
But I'm not gonna let you down,
darling, wait and see.
And between now and then,
till I see you again,
I'll be loving you,
Love, Me.

So maybe your mom's work was done, having raised you and your brother and sister and it was time to be with your dad.  And the same for you - when you are done with your chores here, you'll see them again.

Take care of yourself

Hi, Jen -

We had Dad's funeral service today - it was good to see relatives we haven't seen for a while - one of my cousins told me that she still remembers the time she helped my dad make ice cream - it was wonderful to hear that!

It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon when we took Dad's urn to Punchbowl and placed him in the niche with Mom -- they'll never be apart again --

I hope you're feeling better -- take care

18

(18 replies, posted in In Remembrance)

Dear Jen -

Thank you for sharing -- like you, we've been absorbed in preparing for Dad's funeral this Friday --

Yesterday we sat down with our aunt, uncle and cousin to go over the eulogy our cousin will be giving at the funeral -- although this uncle is actually my dad's brother-in-law, he always respected my father and as he talked, my brother and I learned some things about my dad - it helped us to hear him reminisce and I know it helped my uncle too

As each day passes, it gets closer to dad's service and I am dreading the finality of it -- I know it's supposed to give one closure but I don't think so --it's just one more step in the process

Hi, Lainy and Susan -

When we brought Dad home, the hospice nurse case manager said that we might notice what she called a "1000 yard stare" and often, I would see that as Dad would gaze out at the garden or through the sliding glass door of his room to the street outside.  It was almost as if he was storing it all away.

At first, it hurt that he seemed to be distancing himself from us but I think during those weeks, it was a natural process of slowly separating from life.  Yet, there were times that he recognized and was happy to see relatives and surprisingly, the nurse's aide who came several times a week.  So we enjoyed the moments when he was "present" and just sat with him when he was "distant" and both were good.

This has just made me realize how precious every day is and to enjoy the good times and not to sweat the small stuff --

Hello -

Thank you all -

We will be holding a Buddhist funeral service for Dad this Friday and the Bishop asked us to meet with him today to go over the ceremony -- neither my brother or I are Buddhists but it was very comforting to talk to him.

He explained that for 49 days, the spirit remains, essentially to make amends for any regretted actions, thoughts, etc.  A service is done shortly before or by the 49th day after someone passes so the spirit can then depart.

My sister-in-law then asked if Dad was still in the house.  Although she makes sure to close Dad's bedroom door, several times at night, the door has opened although there is no breeze blowing. 

So while we had originally not thought of holding the 49-day service, now that we understand the reason for it, we have a new perspective.  If it will help, I'm all for it.

Every day is a little journey and I learn something.  There's a long way to go but at least I can look back and see how many steps I've taken.

21

(3 replies, posted in General Discussion)

I would like you all to know that I really appreciated all of your responses to my posts.  Although I only joined this site a week before my dad passed away, it helped so much to know that there was a big family all over who understood what we were going through and took the time to send hugs and aloha our way.

Today is a week since dad left -- there were some sleepless nights that never seemed to end and days that seemed to pass in a flash as we attend to all the big and little details for his up-coming service -- I know that that will be only  step in the whole process of grieving and there is still a long way to go -- so I  will be back to visit in the days to come.

The word "aloha" can mean hello and welcome.  It can be used to say "farewell" and lastly, "love" -- so with much aloha, Karen

I am new to this forum and my experience with this disease is very limited since when my dad was diagnosed, our only option was to arrange in-home hospice care and so that is what I can speak about.  Since that was originally recommended for your mom, would her doctor do so now?

In our case (I live in Hawaii), with the particular hospice we chose (there are four different hospices here), a nurse case manager comes once a week and a social worker comes once a month.  Equipment for the home is also delivered if needed (a bedside commode might be helpful for your mom).  Trained volunteers can also come once a week (run errands, etc.) and there is spiritual guidance if desired.  Nurse's aides will also come to the home several times a week to help with care if the nurse case manager authorizes it and respite care (five days per month) at a stand-alone hospice home is also an option.

The hospice people were terrific and they were there for my brother and sister-in-law when things got overwhelming (there's 24-hour availability by telephone and a hospice nurse will come out to your home in the wee hours of the morning if need be!)  So, if that is an option for your mom, please ask her to consider it. 

I knew my brother would not be happy about strangers coming in to his home to help with dad's care but they were all professional and tactful and I am sure that he has no regrets about the experience.

I do want to add that when my father-in-law was diagnosed with jaw cancer, it was not a surprise.  He was in his mid-50's, had smoked since he was 12 years old and was also a pretty heavy drinker.  Even after going through a disfiguring operation to try to remove the cancerous tissue, he began smoking again.  The only reason he finally stopped smoking was my mother-in-law's brother talked to him and told him that this was really upsetting his sister.  So perhaps if your mom has brothers or sisters or a close friend her age who can talk to her about this?

I hope this helps - take care of yourself and your family - encourage your mom to reach out for some help -

Hi Lainy -

I had been reading your posts about your visits from Teddy and was thinking about sharing what happened after my mom passed away.

I was extremely tired when I got home the night after mom died and I feel into a deep sleep.  At 4 a.m., I heard her call my name but it was how she did it when she was upset with me.  So, I crawled out of bed and at 4:30 a.m., I was trundling down the deserted aisles of the nearby 24-hour Safeway (the first and only time in my life).  I guess she did it to make sure I had food in the house although certainly she also knew that I was not the cook she was!

Well, after that, there was absolutely nothing and I felt a little hurt that the one time I heard from her, she had sounded so sharp. 

About six years afer mom passed, my long-term relationship with a boyfriend ended and it was a very tough time for me.  I took to going to Punchbowl to see mom every weekend and after I left her flowers, I would go up to the look-out.  From that look-out, on one side, you can see the whole city below and the other side, you can see the whole of the cemetary.  I would look at the columbarium where mom rests and I would so wish that she were here so I could talk to her.

One sunny summer day, I was walking down the broad bricked pathway from the look-out to my car when I saw a bright twinkling (immediately fairy light came to mind although this was in bright sunshine) which danced in the air.  I kept watching it as I walked down the path and this light kept twirling in the air and drifting slowly down the path.  I finally neared, reached out and caught it in my hand.  It was a square of textured, clear plastic wrap (like what might be placed on the top layer in a box of candy.)  I looked at it and said "hi, mom."
I folded it carefully and it has ridden with me since in my car console.     

I got some strange looks when I describing hearing mom call me so I didn't tell anybody about what happened at Punchbowl.  After reading about your visits with Teddy, I know mom came to see me because she knew I needed her.

I take my dog walking every morning and as I mentioned, it's been cold and rainy.  On Saturday, when I looked up, there was a big, triangle-shaped patch of clear sky with the gray rain clouds streaming past and this morning, there was a big square of clear sky with the gray clouds surrounding it.  I think mom and dad are looking down to check that we're OK.

So, Lainy -- I'm with you 100%

We've been having quite a bit of rainy weather these past few weeks and every morning, I would watch from the sliding door in dad's bedroom as the clouds gathered in the valley and then it would shower several times.  On Friday, it was a little cloudy in the early morning but when I arrived to see dad, the sun was out and shining brightly.  After the nurse's aide came and we were talking in dad's bedroom, the aide was startled to see a wild pig in the garden  (they often wander down from the mountain but my brother said they usually don't
come out until the afternoons).  My brother ran outside to shoo the pig away but a minute later, the aide saw the same pig and two more running through the garden.  My brother went out and chased them away.  But I think they came to say "good-bye" to dad. 

That afternoon, the clouds briefly gathered and there was a very light shower and a beautiful rainbow appeared.  Hawaiians believe showers are blessings and I think that was for dad.  Then the sun came out again.

It was still sunny and bright when dad left.  The two days since have been cold and rainy again.

Pam and Lainy -

Thanks - it was a sleepless night - finally, at 4 a.m., I looked up at the ceiling of my bedroom and realized that I am surrounded by his love -- he built this house and he's still all around me