Saturday, March 31, 2007

It's just after 6:00 am and I can't sleep. The sky is lightening but it's still dark out. My head is filled with pressure and I'm miserable. I can't lie down because when I do half my head fills up and it's uncomfortable. I hate having a cold.

On the other hand, I have to share the sweetest thing I've seen in a long time. It's the video where a small child gets surprised at school by his father who has just come home from Iraq. The look on the child's face as he runs into his daddy's arms is priceless. You can see how happy he is and how relieved he is. For now it's on the front page of the today show webpage. It's just how I felt on the Thursday when my dad was up and around after being on the ventilator for two days. The joy was indescribable.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I officially have the creeping crud. I feel lousy. The maids came this morning, so the house is somewhat presentable. I'm trying to keep up and slowly clean off horizontal surfaces. It's hard to be disorganized when you'd like to be organized. Add lazy into the picture and you see what I mean.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I think I'm getting sick. Robert has the ickies in his chest and I think I'm getting it too. It's hard to tell if it's my imagination or a genuinely scratchy throat. I remember the last time I was sick. It was back in January and I had some mysterious virus that gave me a fever and not really much more. I felt like crap because of the fever. Of course my sister the oncologist wanted me to be tested for leukemia right away. A bit of an overreaction, I think. I eventually took a bunch of tests but before the results came back I felt better. Anyway, my whole point of reminiscing about my last disease was that my father was very concerned about me. He'd call a couple of times a day to see how I was. He really wanted me to go to the doctor, which was kind of ironic. Especially because during his last illness he refused to go to the doctor and/or the hospital. He was incredibly stubborn. Eventually, my sister and mother was able to talk to his doctor who ordered a chest X-ray and that day he was admitted. That was the night he had his first respiratory arrest. I'm just glad it happened in the hospital and not while he was at home.

Monday, March 26, 2007

My mother has a nasty cold now. At least she's close by now and not 1500 miles away in Florida. Sarah and Stevie* live very near her so they are doting on her. I worry about her health. I can't afford to lose her, too. So where before I would worry about my parents when they got sick, now I worry extra about my mother. She sounds terrible. It's all in her chest.

I still have this awful ache about missing my father pretty much all the time. I haven't been as teary as I had been before, which is good, I guess. I just miss my father so incredibly much, it's overwhelming.

On a lighter note, we picked out our bath and kitchen fixtures. Weee! I cannot wait to take a bath. It's a bubble tub and it's huge. I hope our well doesn't run dry. LOL.

*I've decided to start calling Steven Stevie until Sarah stops calling Robert Bobby.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The consensus is that everyone loves my haircut. Except for Robert, who I think isn't too crazy about the shortness of it. But I really like it.

We just spent the day cleaning, purging and rearranging the bedroom. With our bathroom remodel, they're taking 4 feet of the bedroom so we had to move the furniture to make sure we could live in the smaller space. Luckily we had a huge master bedroom, so taking away that much space leaves us with a normal sized room. Everything fits fine. We have a few adjustments to make but that can wait until everything is over and done with.

We ordered our appliances yesterday and tomorrow we're going to Splash! to choose fixtures, sinks and tubs. I'm very excited about redoing the kitchen and bathroom. It keeps my mind off of being sad.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday! Hooray! Last night I went out for a girls' night out with my mom, Sarah and her friend Becky. We had a lot of fun. We had dinner at a fish restaurant, which was OK. We even split a dessert. I slept over at my mom's house which was fun, too. I think she really liked having me there. Then we struggled with the crossword puzzle until she had to leave for an appointment. I still haven't finished it. Then I got my hair cut. Pretty short.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Today I was missing my father so much, I called the house in Florida. I used to call him in the afternoon to chat about the kitchen renovation, or his latest order from Amazon or whatever. It was 2:00 and I wanted to talk to him, so I dialed. I knew he wouldn't answer, so I don't really know why I did it. I wanted to hear his voice. I can hear it in my head, but I wonder how long it'll last. I'm afraid one day I will try to recall his voice and I won't be able to.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I am having a great time in the Larry Scott class. He's an excellent teacher. Plus he knows great talent when he sees it. Did I actually say that? LOL. He did tell me that I was very good and that he would now have to kill me. I was very happy. Not at the killing part, but at the being good part. It feels so good to be back behind the torch. It had been so long. I hope the nice weather of last week comes back quickly so I can get started with making beads for my show.

The last two days has also been a very nice distraction. It's nice to forget for a few hours how sad you are. I know my father would want me to have fun and to not think about him with sadness, but it's easier said than done. It's so bizarre to me how someone can be here one day and then gone the next. Life is so fragile. I think back and I'm so happy that I called him a lot these last few months. Every time I spoke to him on the phone, I told him I loved him. Every time I left him, I gave him a kiss. All because I was so afraid that he would leave me suddenly and so I wanted my last memories of him to be good ones. I was always thinking like that. When we'd make plans for the future -- going to see "The Producers" or going on a transatlantic crossing on the QM2 -- I'd always wonder in the back of my mind if he would still be around when the time came to do those things. Maybe it's not normal to have those kinds of thoughts, but I couldn't help it. I was so dreading this time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Today was a pretty good day. I had lunch with Amy, and we went over to Blake Brothers. Then I went to the Larry Scott lecture. He was very funny and thought-provoking. I've said before that his sense of humor is much like my Dad's. This evening he did another Dad-like thing. I was the first person to arrive for the lecture because I wanted to arrive in daylight as it was a new-to-me area. Since I was about 45 minutes early, I brought a book to read. I was sitting in the room reading and the light was somewhat dim. When Larry walked in, he said to me "do you have enough light there?" Just like my father would have. Other than those two things, he's quite different from my father.

Amy told me today of a woman with 8 children who just lost her husband. All the kids are under the age of 11 and are home-schooled; the woman has no marketable skills. I almost feel guilty for being so sad about losing my father when I hear stories like this. How awful for those poor children and the mother with no money and no other way of earning a living. I'm so lucky I had my father as long as I did. My mother doesn't have to worry about where her next meal is coming from and for that matter neither do I. I really have it good and it helps somewhat to keep things in perspective.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I have been missing my father more and more lately. It's kind of like the shock has worn off and the reality is setting in. He is never coming back. I will never see him again. And it makes me incredibly sad. Sadder than I've ever been in my life. It's paralyzing sometimes.

On a lighter note, we ordered our kitchen cabinets today and picked out our granite for the countertops. Since we moved in to this house in 2001, we have been talking about redoing the kitchen. We are finally going to do it. The kitchen will be gorgeous when it's finished. I only wish my Dad could have seen it. He was very happy that we were going to remodel. On the last day I saw him we talked about it. He asked if I had heard from the contractor with a price yet. I hadn't, I told him, but I did bring the plans for him to see. He said he was looking forward to seeing them.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Today I had a little fun. I went to BJ's because I was out of TP, papertowels, bottled water and the like. BJ's is a warehouse store and frequently they have fun things that you never knew you couldn't live without. I bought these awesome folding chairs for us to bring to the lake this summer and also a pair of boogieboards. The lake is much more fun when you have something to float on. The other day Angie bought 3 floats for the lake, which is what spurred me on to my purchases. It's so bizarre that you have to buy summer fun things in March. I remember looking for floats or noodles last year at the end of July and only found fall decorations. The retail world sure is bizarre.

It's so sad to me that my dad won't be with us this summer at the lake. I'm glad we had such a good time there last year. I have fond memories of him on the porch feeding Elizabeth. Today and yesterday haven't really been good days emotionally. Lots of tears are flowing.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I am not having a good day today, so I am thinking of going to the movies for a couple hours of distraction. I don't know. I'm kind of nudgie today, not knowing what to do.

Yesterday was a nice day. My sister picked me up and we went up to my mom's and organized the bills and old files of my dad's. One of the many problems with my dad dying is that my mom never ever even had to think of a bill. Ever. Now she has the weight of the bills of three houses on her shoulders and she tends to get all worked up about it. It's intimidating to her. So we got that mess all straightened out. Now she has an organized space to file the bills in once she has paid them.

Then the rest of the family came over for dinner, which was made for us by my dad's friend Peter. We had a very nice time. The food was excellent. The only thing missing was my dad. He would have enjoyed himself. It helps me to think of his spirit and how he might be watching over us.

Friday, March 09, 2007

My mother stopped by today for a visit. She was out and about and found her way to my house via the back roads so she decided to stop in. I quickly took my shower while Robert entertained her and she and I went out shopping. The store we wanted to go to was closed so we went out to lunch. We decided on Bertucci's, one of my favorite comfort food restaurants. We had a nice chat and she dropped me off and then went home.

If my father could know that my mother dropped by without calling first, he would have had something to say to me. Years ago, Robert and I foolishly decided to adopt a dog. He was completely wrong for us, but we went ahead and did it anyway. That night of all nights my parents dropped in unexpectedly. I was not happy because I hadn't wanted to tell them that we had adopted the dog. In the course of their visit, the dog got loose and we spent the rest of the time chasing him around the neighborhood. Finally we caught him. We all were exhausted and I said to my parents, "Next time, call before you come over".

I have heard about that ever since. Even though it happened back in 1989, my father was sure to bring up this particular phrase at any opportune moment. Although he was not one to hold grudges, he would latch onto a particular phrase and throw it back at you if he could. It was his way of teasing. And he'd only tease the people he loved and whom he knew could withstand the teasing.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Many of the people who have sent my mother condolence* cards said how my father was like a father to them. I have to think of how lucky I am that he was our actual father. I didn't always think so. As great of a man that he was, he wasn't without his faults and foibles. He certainly had his temper and it wasn't pretty when he lost it. On the other hand, he was way more generous of spirit than I am. He was much faster to forgive than I was when we'd fight. He'd give people whom I'd condemned the benefit of the doubt. I am trying to incorporate more generosity of spirit within me as a way of honoring my father's memory. It's not easy, but I keep thinking how he would react to certain situations and what he would say and trying to emulate him.

*spelled with an 'e', Martha. ;)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I went up to visit my mom this morning. It was quiet, but fun. We did the crossword puzzle together. Her doing the crossword again is pretty big because she and my dad used to do it together every day. Actually, mom would do the puzzle and ask dad a question only if she were stuck. So she'd end up doing it all by herself at least three days a week, much to his chagrin. She wasn't really feeling up to doing the crossword immediately following my dad's death -- she felt too scattered. Now she's starting to do them again. I think it's a good sign.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

In case you're waiting for a crossword puzzle update, we have finished every one since I started doing them. Saturday's was a bear - we used the internet a lot. I think of it as a modern-day crossword dictionary rather than as cheating. Sunday's puzzle was fun. We did it all ourselves with no help. I was pretty happy when we finished that. Of course, yesterday's and today's were easy-peasy.

I haven't sobbed in a few days. Of course I still tear up and leak some, but it's mostly under control. We had a meeting with the broker yesterday and things are all straightened out. Mom is secure and hopefully she feels better with that weight off her mind. I know I do. There still is that underlying sadness that won't go away. I guess time takes care of that.

My father was a very practical, literal-minded person. He used to think his friend who was a widower was crazy because he'd go to his wife's grave and hold conversations with her. It's strange because I find myself talking to my father all the time. I hear his "voice" in my head -- not literally his voice, but what I think he'd say -- and I talk back to it. I find it comforting. And I wonder if he can hear me.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Yesterday we picked up my mother, sister, her husband and my niece from the airport. It was really strange to see my mother walking into the airport from the jetway all by herself. Usually my father is right by her side, holding up his pants with one hand and a newspaper in the other. But that sadness was soon overshadowed by a joyous reunion. It was so nice to all be together again. I find such comfort in that. There were a lot of laughs and a few tears but it was so good. The last three weeks have been my personal nightmare and I'm so happy my mother is here. I cannot tell you how awful it is to have your loved ones be sick and 1500 miles from you. You feel so powerless. The worst time was when my mother was in the hospital, and my father so sick at home with his pneumonia and no one to take care of him. I cannot describe the feelings I felt. We knew my mother was being cared for; it was my father we worried about. I take a little comfort in knowing that I no longer have to worry about him. He is in a better place.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Today was a much better day so far. It started out snowing but it turned to rain so we just hunkered down. Robert worked and I did the crossword puzzle. Another day completed.

Everywhere I look in my house I see my father. Not so much in pictures, but in things he gave me. He was an extraordinarily generous person and provided well for us. He loved having the best of things and wanted to give us that, too. So when I take a pot down to cook spaghetti sauce I think of him. When I use a towel to dry off after my shower, I think of him. When I turn on the TV to watch "Survivor" I think of him. He's all over this house. And the things are so much more than things, they're a tangible expression of his love for us. I was so lucky to have him.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Update! I finished the puzzle! Weeee! I only looked up two or three clues on the internet, which isn't bad. If you're into crossword puzzles, there's a free website that helps you with clues. It's I only used it when I was very badly stuck. I promise.
I used to think I was smart, especially because for the last two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) I was able to finish the NYTimes crossword puzzle. Now if you know that puzzle it starts out easy on Monday and gets progressively harder as the week goes on. I was feeling extra brainy because I finished Wednesday's all by myself. I was ready to tackle today's and OMG. It's just "mean"! Every third or fourth clue is "mean" or "means". Robert and I started it but I doubt it will get finished. Maybe I should do them one day behind, so I'll have the answers handy. LOL.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how lucky I am. Up until now, nothing ever really horrible has happened to me. And even now, yes my Dad died too early, but it is the natural order of things. I have to cling to the bright side. We could have lost him back in 1992 when he had his heart attack or in 1983 when he slipped down the cliff at Land's End. So we're lucky he was with us for so long. It's so hard to get used to the fact that he'll never be with us again. I'm not looking forward to the holidays. At least we'll have plenty of time to heal before then.