Friday, June 17, 2016

Happy Fathers Day Poppy

5 years - 5 years have gone by.  Trey is five and you have another grandson - we named him after you, but we call him Wyatt.  That is his nickname really, but he is your little mini me - he was a surprise and he has your quirky sense of humor.  I have a funny story about Wyatt, but I have a funny feeling I am not telling you anything you don't already know.  Wyatt got pretty sick 2 years ago.  He ended up in the emergency room several times and no one could figure out what was going on other than his little immune system was attacking his little body and he would randomly go into anaphylactic shock. They actually thought he leukemia for a little while and I am not going to lie - I was terrified, I lost one son and I was very aware that sometimes things that only happen to "other people" actually can happen to my children.  So, the doctors were all trying to help and they were trying to suppress these attacks which involved a lot of different medications including steroids...  As you know, a baby on steroids is no fun.  He was cranky and not his normal sweet self.  So one evening, I took Wyatt and went to put him to bed early.  It was around 7:00 pm in June, so it was still light out.  He had just turned 2 years old and Wyatt still was not talking.  Wyatt was a preemie and we still have trouble understanding him sometimes but at 2 he wasn't talking yet at all.  He loved to snuggle though and he had/has a special blanket (that he still sleeps with) he refers to as dee dee.  So Wyatt and dee dee and I were quietly rocking in his bedroom.  After about 10 minutes Wyatt started pointing to the ceiling and he was laughing and waving.  I panicked - because, I was actually thinking he was hallucinating or maybe going into another episode but I was worried about the steroids and his little body so I yelled for Bill, which caused Trey to come running (because Trey is Bill's "mini me").  Trey had just turned 3 and Trey's language was very clear and he was (and still is) very communicative.  So Trey is standing in the door way to Wyatt's bedroom with Bill and I am across the room in the rocking chair with Wyatt.  Wyatt is still laughing and waving and then Trey starts laughing and waving in the same direction.  I asked Trey what he was laughing at and he said "Poppy - is making silly faces and waving" I looked at Bill with that look of disbelief and or maybe - they are all crazy look or perhaps we have some kind of carbon monoxide leak and we are all hallucinating look. Anyways, we are all silently looking at each other and the boys start waving again and I asked Trey,  do you see Poppy now? and he says "No, he had to go."  with that Trey turned and walked away. That's it! It never happened again - I looked at Bill as if he would have some words of wisdom. He said, "Jodi, they are too young to make that one up".  It's not science and perhaps someone can come up with some legitimate reason for that happening, but I knew you would love this story regardless, because it is a perfect Poppy story.  I don't know how or why they did that but I do know this - I miss you - I miss your daily calls, your daily jokes, I miss that when I called you, you would say "hello hello hello" three times, every time.  I miss that I can't call you to tattle on meme or tell you about the funny things that happen in my house, but I hope that you know all of this and I know that someday (not too soon) I will get to see you again and I am good with that, but I love you Poppy, I love you so much ~ and I miss you more than I knew I would.  Happy Fathers Day!

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. - Albert Einstein 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Half of a Moon

I am no stranger to grief.  In reality none of us are.  Yesterday was hard and today was harder and tomorrow will be better.  I can not capture Poppy's very essence no matter how much I try - but try I will.  I honestly can not even remember what I wrote yesterday.  It became somewhat of a blur.

Poppy died last night. There I said it.  I was going to say went home, passed away, went to be with the Lord, and he did all of those things, but he died.  I really hate that word - but is is part of life.  Poppy kept telling us all week not to worry, that everybody dies, but the process pretty much stinks and for me it personally brought back a lot of memories that perhaps I have not dealt with in awhile.   I went in and gave Poppy a kiss around 1:30 a.m. I told him I loved him, he struggled  and told me he loved me back and I knew he meant it.  I laid in bed and cried and then dozed off holding Trey.  My mother was laying in bed rubbing Poppy's back and my brother Jim was in the chair checking on him every few minutes.  Around 2:45 a.m. Jim got up to get a drink of water and sat down out in the living room.  He said Poppy was looking at him and then he was looking at my mother.  My mother had dozed off as well and around 3:00 a.m. she woke up and called Jim back into the room - he was gone. Jim came in and got me and told me he was gone - it seems just that simple, but it is never simple.  We all sat in there for quite awhile saying goodbye, digesting the reality that was now ours.  He looked peaceful but he was gone and he felt gone and dear God please take care of him, because he is my daddy and I miss him already.  We called Hospice and let them know and then called the funeral home.  It was still dark when the funeral home arrived and they put him on the gurney and we came back in and kissed him goodbye.  I remember handing over my son Michael just a year in a half ago over to the funeral home and it was all too familiar.  After I handed Michael over (it was also in the middle of the night),  I remember looking out at the moon - it was a full moon and it was blue.  Last night it was a half moon and it was very clear, I could see every star.  Somehow when the funeral home people leave with your baby or your Poppy - it is just so final.  I know we will see him again, I get that he is in a better place, but I'm not, I am right here and for today that is just so very hard.

I do have to mention that when the funeral home came - they sent out 2 very well dressed men and they were incredibly gentle and polite.  I of course after we all prayed and cried looked at Poppy and said, "Poppy - this is just a shit sandwich." I stole his saying, but it is and yet I do feel blessed or fortunate that I had time with him to tell him how much I love him, to let him enjoy his new grandson and to let him tell us how much he loved us.  I tried to soak in every word and every pearl of proverbial wisdom he had to offer.

I went into Poppy's room tonight and laid down on his bed, looked in his closet and I just turned off his radio that he was listening to with headphones yesterday about 15 minutes ago.  So tonight I close with a saying from an Irish headstone that is so appropriate

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

It's 1:30 a.m. And we are all up...sitting with Poppy. He has had a long day. I have been in his room with him several times today and he is not talking much. This morning he said, "hi lovey, how are you?" he told me around lunch that his mother was in the room with him and he pointed to her in the corner of the room - I never met my grandmother she died when I was a few weeks old. I asked him how he was around 8:00 p.m. and he said he was "ok" I said Poppy, I know your not ok but I want to make sure your not terribly uncomfortable. He said, this is hard and I leaned over and kissed him and I told him that I loved him, he mustered up all his energy and said, "I will always love you baby." It kind of gets a little rough after that but he is struggling tonight and we are all up waiting...waiting...waiting...

Since I am struggling with my words tonight - I think a favorite memory of Poppy will do. There are so many, but perhaps when I got my tonsils out when I was 5. Poppy, was devastated that I was going through this and he brought me this Amelia Earhart doll. I woke up from surgery and he had tears in his eyes. I also remember bringing home a kitten or two (or three) and praying that he would let me keep them and well, he did. He created a monster lol now it's turtles and guinea pigs, dogs and horses lol. I married a man an awful lot like my poppy. Ok, a bit of rambling tonight. If you are reading and you have a favorite memory please share and if not please pray for him as he makes this difficult transition. I will write tomorrow with an update. Sweet dreams Poppy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Doctor, Doctor give me the news...

So a little more about my brother - we have always been very close, and I may sound like I idolize him in some way and I probably do, but it is the very human part of him that reminds me of my father the most.  If I remember correctly my brother did his first year of his internship in internal medicine at the University of Nebraska in Omaha.  He was trying to decide if he wanted to do Internal medicine or oncology.  Towards the end of that year - he was taking care of a young man that had cancer and was dying.  I can not remember the kind, but that is really not relevant to this story - what is relevant is that this young man was the only child of this couple and he was around 18.  My brother had to go talk with his parents earlier in the day as this young man was slipping into a coma.  He talked with them about a Do Not Resuscitate Order and they were just devastated.  They reluctantly signed one for this child of theres and as a parent that stuck in my mind all of these years.  I don't know how they were able to make their hands work - God Bless them.  Anyways, later that day after Jim had gotten off work, this young mans condition was deteriorating quickly so he went up to see him and he was in there alone with him and he held his hand and prayed.  His breathing was shallow and Jim leaned over and whispered into his ear, "it is ok to die." This young man took one last breath and slipped away.  It was that moment that Jim knew his calling was oncology and that he was going to help people die sometimes.  This is the ultimate test right now, helping his father die.  You know, we always assume you will have another day, another Christmas, another birthday, another whatever and sometimes you are wrong...

Today was rough - I always write at night after I kiss  Poppy goodnight and put the baby to bed.  I kissed him goodnight tonight and he felt cold and it was an effort for him to say goodnight.  It is so hard to say goodnight, I am so afraid that it may be my last kiss goodnight.  Several times today he got confused.  He thought jets were flying overhead and he thought Jessica (my oldest daughter) was in the room with him.  His blood pressure was around 79/50 so it is a little worse today.  He did however manage to fixate on Trey for a little while today and in typical Trey fashion, he puked and Poppy still made a joke - he said, "oops, slip slop...bring the mop." Just something he has always said to us almost daily.  I just wish we had a little more time - things seem to be deteriorating so quickly...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pocket full of Prayers

Today I had assumed the position - which simply means I was sitting on the recliner/rocker in Poppy's bedroom rocking/nursing the baby and talking with Poppy and he said, "man I am so envious of you."  I said what do you mean Poppy and he said, "you get to watch him grow up" Wow, those are some serious words - he is so right, I am so lucky and so sad Poppy won't be there for his first steps, his first pretty much everything.

Today my girls all went back home (about 6  hours away) each one of them went in and gave him a big hug and kiss, but my oldest Jessica - that was pretty much torture.  Poppy was almost like a father to her in so many ways.  I was 18 when I had Jessica,  young and still a kid myself.  I worked and went to school full time and Poppy would  often watch her while I worked or was in class.  He would take her to breakfast in her little car seat every Saturday morning. Take her to the movies and make her milk shakes every chance he got.  They have a special relationship that is just beyond grandfather/granddaughter plus they are a  lot alike.  He told her he thought he was dying and she asked him if he thought he would die today and he said' "maybe" she was crying when she left and it just broke my heart to see her go, but it broke his heart to see her cry.  Such a sweet man.    

When Poppy first got his diagnosis he said, "Don't worry about  me honey, I have a pocket full pills in one hand and a pocket full of prayers in the other...I should be covered." Man I really hope it is that simple.

What about the continents?

We have made it through another day - I have to be honest I was somewhat worried about today.  This morning Poppy was drastically different from the previous days.  I was very worried everyone went home and that he was dying today.  He told me he thought he was dying and I could not get a blood pressure reading with one of those automatic cuffs all day.  He said goodbye to a bunch of his friends today.  He told me he was seeing the "Dream People" and I asked who that is and he said that he doesn't know them yet, but they are young and he will know them soon.  I would like to think they are his angels, but it is more likely hydrocodone angels I would imagine...  He was in a cold sweat all day, but the most concerning new thing going on is a substantial new amount of swelling and his lungs sound wheezy now.  As the day progressed, he seemed to almost rally tonight while hospice was here.  They were able to get a blood pressure of 90/60 so still awful, but it has been worse.  Jim came back - after just going home yesterday he turned back around and got here just in time to help him to the restroom.  The worst tonight, was he didn't quite make it back into his bed, his feet just gave out from under him while getting back into bed.  He is ok, relatively speaking and resting now.

I do have to tell you a little more about the hospice visit - very nice woman - her name is Edith and she looks to be in her late 50's early 60's, very well kept sweet lady with a very strong Jamaican accent.  When she walked in and introduced herself - she asked Poppy how he was feeling and he told her that he was pretty sure he was dying.  She gently smiled at him and told him that we were all dying, that it was ok, we are just all at different stages.  Well put.  So she took a lot of information to get all of his meds into her computer and it was really a long visit, I think about 2 hours. she asked if he wanted help showering and he said no - we collectively vetoed that one.  Then she asked if he would like a massage therapist to visit and he said no.  Again, I vetoed that one as well.  I said Poppy, come on, it will make you feel good.  He paused and looked at Edith and said, "ok, if I can have a little hoochy coochy too" She laughed and in her sweet Jamaican accent she said, "no hoochy coochy." then she asked him if he had pain and on a level of 1 - 10 what was it and he said sometimes a 10 so she explained to him, that he was not to wait for his pain to get that bad.  Then she asked if he had problems walking and he said no (I also objected to that answer as well). Then she asked, "what about incontinence?" Without skipping a beat he said, well, there's Australia, Africa, Asia...  very witty.  He's still got it...  : )

Monday, July 18, 2011

Playin the odds...

Ok, before I get too far, I need to explain why this is funny to me.  My Aunt is here with us right now.  She is my mothers little sister and she is also a nun.  She is in her mid 50's I think and my father always calls her nun and it makes us laugh.  He has been telling her lately that she is "a good nun".  Cracks her up too - I remember when she became a nun, he wore her habit around and made fun of her, but always in good fun.  Well yesterday (Sunday)Poppy was unable to get to church, so my mom and aunt brought church to him.  I will get into Poppy's beliefs at a later time, but suffice it to say, my mother is absolutely much more "Catholic" than my father, but he is always happy to accommodate my mother because he simply loves her.  So after church we are all in his room gathered around his bed and my aunt says a quick prayer or two before communion and everyone then gets communion and everyone leaves the room. Everyone except for myself and my oldest daughter.  My oldest daughter and Poppy are very close and she understands he very crass sense of humor.  So anyways, Poppy is laying in bed and I am across the room rocking the baby and Jessica (my oldest daughter) is laying in bed next to Poppy and we begin talking about religion and he tells Jessica that my mother of course "loves church" and that he is not all that "into organized religion".  Then he does his best W.C. Fields impersonation and referring to the communion he just ingested he smiles and says - "playin the odds, just playin the odds" I know, I know, it may be awful, but it is Poppy and it was pretty funny.