Dear Daddy – 3 years later


Dear Daddy,

Three years can seem like just yesterday and also like a lifetime.

Today I plan to take your oldest grandson to school (I can’t believe he’s in kindergarten!), then off to work along with random errands tossed in. A somewhat normal sounding day, although I know, life changes in an instant.

You would be so proud of your grandson! Both of them! The Boy and Little H. Although he didn’t have the joy of meeting you, Little H knows about you. Through The Boy of course and our family, you were our rock.

Little H was born less than 2 months after you passed. A bundle of light in our sea of grief. You knew of him. I remember when they told you his name, Little bro and Sweet Sis were so excited. We were all so over the moon and the tears of love and happiness were only overshadowed knowing our time with you was short.

I over hear The Boy telling Little H stories about you. You have made it to super hero status in the eyes of your grandsons. You were always a superhero to me. The boy includes you in his nightly prayers, “God Bless GiGi and Pops”. Every time.

Sunday, February 9, 2014 was a crisp cool day. I knew we would have company, you were loved and admired by so many.

I got up and came downstairs with mama. Seeing you, I knew. I knew that I couldn’t know the time but I knew your journey here was nearly over. It was surreal. As I helped you get ready, I whispered words of encouragement and love. One of the many ways you always gave to me I was able to give back to you. You didn’t talk as much as your strength was waning, your body tired and sore from a long, hard fought battle. But you were at peace with this world and with God. You held onto my arm, your grip was firm. I remember because earlier you had apologized for not having as much strength… you looked into my eyes and told me You Love Me. Oh, Daddy, I love you too! I wish I had more time with you!

I went to the store three times that day. I went early to get some medicines and supplies we needed. I didn’t get the rest done until much later that day. The second time I went I had just gotten out of the car when Sweet Sis called me and said, “Come home now.” The lady next to me in the parking lot was declaring what a beautiful day it was. My expression had changed from smiling to panic, I guess. I just said, “I have to go. My daddy” and jumped in the car. I did hear her say, “Be safe and my prayer are with you child.”

It is only about 5 miles but I was home before I realized it. I’m pretty sure I may have broken a traffic law or two. Sweet Sis met me in the garage, opened the door and said, “Go”, with her eyes filled with tears of love and sorrow. I raced through the house, passing The Boy and Auntie, I knew she knew and said “I love you both!” A few steps later, I joined mama, Little Bro, Uncle and the rest of the family came in as we surrounded you at your bedside. A couple of friends who had come by to say their goodbyes to a great man who I called Daddy were also in the room.

We were all right there with you as you took your last earthly breath.

Time stopped.

As the tears ran down my face, I looked at mama and little bro…I could hear Uncle praying. I felt your arm beneath my hands and you were still warm.

There but yet not there.

As I raised my face up, the tears blurring my vision and cries choking my words, I saw and felt this beautiful, warm sunshine hazy mist. It was all around us, enveloping us almost.

I realized it was you. Comforting us. Helping us to find a peace within our grief as it was so overwhelming.

You were no longer feeling the pain and suffering of the disease that had held you for too long. You were free! Free in ways we can only imagine. As I felt my deepest, most painful loss, I saw and felt your love around us.

I sometimes find it so hard to remember that. Selfishly, I want you here. I Need you, Daddy. I need your advice, your guidance, but mostly, I just need to feel your arms around me because no matter what I know that you love me. I was always safe in your arms from the time I started my journey. I always knew my Daddy would protect me.

As you say, life does go on. It is definitely not always easy. Lately, it has been pretty challenging and I find myself talking to you more.

I am beginning to understand that maybe I know some of the steps I need to take – actions not always words! I also know I miss you more than I knew it was possible to miss someone. Someone who was ALWAYS there for me and truly loved me unconditionally when I know I was tough to even like at times. You always told me I was harder on myself than everyone else was. Sometimes you said I needed to be. Other times, I need to lay off myself. The second part isn’t always so easy for me as you know.

I know that I will get through this day. If I am blessed, I will live to see tomorrow and another day with my miracle boy. I have a loving family, a boyfriend and his son who I know love me, as well as an amazing group of friends who are like family…you know how we somewhat adopt folks and keep them for life! Most you’ve met, some I wish you could meet. I still always Keep Hope Alive!

I just couldn’t let today go by without writing you a letter. It’s probably better than sitting at the gravesite rambling away, laughing and crying! I will probably do that too, at least not too many will hopefully not see that part!

I am so thankful that I had you as my father. I know I was truly blessed.

I love you, Daddy.

Always.

 

I woke up alive and realized I needed to live the moments


I rolled out of bed groaning and stumbled to the bathroom to start the getting ready process. Shortly after, I cheerily woke up the boy from his angelic looking sleep and watched him stumble his way to the bathroom and then get himself dressed.

I was putting on the last of my war paint when the text came through that one of our good caregivers was out sick and I needed to fill the shift. I doubled my speed for getting out of the house, changed into scrubs and we left for the day.

My clients were way across town, out in the country. I somewhat know their routine and knew they would be getting hungry and breakfast is part of their routine.

I arrived only a few minutes later than their normal caregiver, “T”, but they remembered me and were happy to have someone there to “assist” them for the day. Mr. K met me at the door with a smile and Miss P was still in the bed. One glance around told me that they had been pretty much alone all weekend, as “T” and I worked together to help make them a schedule and keep things consistent for them. We have a system for them to follow and have shared it with their children. Their family is involved in their care but they have lives and families to raise too, so we are there to help mom and dad.

It isn’t that mom and dad, or P & K, are all that up in years, they are both 70 with her just having a birthday. Their bodies are healthy for the most part and they love to talk, laugh and enjoy life. They no longer go as much as they use to because they are both in different stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. They are like thousands of others in the Boomer generation that are still “young at heart” and in need of care due to a terminal diagnosis.

Miss P has middle stage Alzheimer’s and needs help bathing, getting dressed and can no longer cook or clean. She talks some, more in the afternoons, but she is so sweet and a joy to be around. She has no problem with me bathing her and “helping” her get pretty for her husband. As long as she knows where he is, and I gently remind her if she gets anxious, she is fine.

Mr. K has early stage dementia. He “runs” the household and “helps” Miss P. She is his world and he talks of “his beautiful pearl” and “young blushing bride” as though it is now. You can see the love they share. He knows her memory is “bad” and that she needs help. He knows he “forgets” things but he has reminders and that is why I am there to help them.

We do our best to communicate anything that goes on to each other so that their weekdays flow consistently, or at least a semblance of it.

To watch her struggle to remember how to remove her clothes and thank me over and over again for being so “nice” to “help” her get bathed and dressed for the day, it breaks my heart. I think back to earlier that morning, was it really just that morning? When I got the text I would be covering for T and my day with them.

To see people so vulnerable in so many ways because by nature they are kind and trusting, but now we add in the memory loss factor and I worry for them. My problems and irritations seem to shrink in light of what they face on a daily basis. Not that I don’t have my own issues and hardships, but that I can get so irritated over something so small at times, or that I got so caught up in something I missed something beautiful. It makes me rethink what I see as important.

I think of how my mind works and how I ponder which thing was more important and then I will jump to another topic. I also will multitask and continue on with the flow of my day. I just know what needs to be done and I do it. I may miss things, but I know it’s on the list for tomorrow even if there is no actual written list. Then I stop. Their lives are no longer like that. They can’t remember things as clearly or even at all in some instances.

That afternoon I drove straight from their home through craptastic traffic to get the boy. I knew we had things to do, I still had to work and there were chores to finish, but I scooped him up and hugged and kissed him immediately. I savored the little boy sweat smell and the way he holds me so tight. I want those memories to always be there. I don’t ever want to lose that part of me. If I forget everything else, I want to remember he chose me to be his mommy.

I woke up alive but after going through the day I realized how alive I needed to be and I am thankful that I was reminded just when I needed it.

Keep Hope Alive and have a fabulous day!

I can breathe again, my miracle is with me


My heart is home. I feel so much lighter. I can breathe better. He is a part of me and I am a part of him. A bond that nothing can break. A love that goes beyond anything I have ever imagined and cannot put into words.

It’s so hard to “share” a child. Sometimes life throws you curves you just didn’t even see coming when a miracle happens.

I prayed for so many years to have a child.

After a while, I didn’t care how it happened I just knew I was supposed to be a mommy.

I saw and dreamed of a child. I seriously thought I was crazy at times. The child from my visions had blonde hair and blue eyes. Their coloring didn’t match mine but it is what I saw. I prayed.

Years went by. I researched ways to become a mommy through all kinds of avenues. There are tons of options but most of them cost more than I could afford. It didn’t help my body decided to play some sort of twisted game of let’s mess with her hormones, her baby making parts and her mind. 8 surgeries, not necessarily to get pregnant but to at least clear a path and relieve me of discomfort.

Then it finally happened. In a very old fashioned, unplanned and completely unexpected way.

God, the universe and my GrandMaMa have a heck of a sense of humor. On my 39th birthday, 6 years ago, I Prayed. I asked that I please be given some sort of sign if this child of my visions and dreams was to come from me.

A month later, I was pregnant. I was also terrified. My situation wasn’t exactly ideal; however, I knew that this was my sign. If this was meant to be, then this was the ride I was taking.

It hasn’t been easy. There has been pain, loss and heartache along the way. I’ve lost people in my life both because of the relationship that his father and I don’t have as well as people who are no longer on this ride with me. Like my grandparents and my Daddy.

Hand to God my boy is The Absolute Best thing that I have contributed to the universe as a whole. It’s like everything else was a prelude to this beautiful creature that lived inside me like an alien for 38 weeks. This child that I am responsible for, that I would do anything for… I am responsible for teaching him, nurturing him and loving him unconditionally. There is so much it overwhelms me. It brings me to my knees.

I am so far from perfect. I make mistakes. Usually huge big ones that end poorly. You can fill in the cracks of those with the many little ones I make far too often.

I also know how to love unconditionally. I still know how to be a kid. I am learning how to walk that line of parent and friend. Sometimes I have to be more parent because of our situation, but I know he loves me unconditionally and he wants to understand why things are the way they are.

He is still so innocent yet understands far more about life and death and how some people can be so kind and others so cruel. He is just 5 years old, yet he has seen far more of death that many adults. All up in his little face and he teaches others of eternal love. He does not forget.

He is so much like me and so much his own self.

I want to do so much more for him and I also want him to learn to do so much more for others.

I love that he gives his all and loves so big. He still snuggles.

I know life can change in an instant.

I know that there isn’t a day, hours, minutes that goes by that I don’t think of him and my heart swells more than I thought was possible.

I know I have no idea how much time any of us have. But I do know, that I am so blessed beyond measure that that boy chose me to be his mommy.

I know that miracles happen, prayers are answered and no matter what, I do everything in my power to keep him along the loving, happy paths he will take. I will follow him into the woods to get him back on a peaceful path for as long as I am able. After I am gone, he will always know he has me on his side. After all, he is a part of me. And I am a part of him.

Keep Hope Alive.

Hope brought me a miracle. You could say he’s my Christmas miracle. Believe. Never, ever, ever give up!

Letter to my son, after 5 fabulous years and we’re just getting started


Until you came into my life I didn’t truly know how much love I had to give. I knew I was capable, I had dreamed of you for so long. I saw you in my dreams many time throughout my life. With blonde hair and blue eyes. Everyone thought I was crazy, but then I could always see and feel things that not everyone could. I could never do things easy, I had to try the route mostly blocked by the vines, and trees of life.

When I found out you were going to be a part of my world I was shocked. But from the moment I knew you were mine, I was stunned, excited and terrified and more in love with anything than I had ever been before. You see I had prayed for so many years that we would find each other that I couldn’t believe it was finally happening. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe or didn’t have hope, I just figured you would come to me some other way. I took a test and then because I couldn’t believe it, I took another. Positive. I was going to be a mommy! I locked myself away for a good 24 hours only telling my sisters, your aunts, because I couldn’t believe it. I was scared to tell people because I didn’t want to jinx anything. But one by one I told, then we told. The fact I was able to have you at all was in itself a miracle. People talk about how they would have done things differently in their life. I can completely understand, however I believe all of the things I did led me to you.

Now that you are starting to get older you ask questions that are beyond your years. I see the old soul in your eyes the way I see the mirror of my own. It excites and scares me for you. I watch you try new things and talk to people. I watch you share, I watch you not want to share. I watch you. I am caught off guard so many times by you. You constantly awe and amaze me. I know I make mistakes but you are so forgiving. It’s like you know somehow when I need to hear you say those certain things to me… “I chose you and you chose me”. One of your favorite things to tell me. When you repeatedly look into my eyes and tell me, “I love you mommy. You’re the best mommy I ever had. Of all my mommies you’re the best.”

My miracle, angel boy, of all my lives, I love this one the best because of you. You have made me a better human. More understanding and compassionate. More concerned with the world around us and less tolerant of those who bring harm, whether they mean to or not. You will learn and see more than I want you to but I know you must grow up. I know I cannot keep you from the pains of this world. You have already experienced much loss in your short life than others ten times your age. You love and believe with your whole heart. When you laugh it fills my soul with the most beautiful music I only dreamed of. Your arms around my neck and my waist are pieces of heaven and when you kiss me I know what they mean when they say touched by an angel.

I dedicate this to you, my sweet boy. The last 5 years have been the best of my life with you in it. I pray for many, many more. Mommy loves you more than you can ever begin to understand. I know you can feel it in your heart and soul.

Keep Hope Alive!