Papa Joined Nana in Heaven Today

For those of you who may not be familiar with my blog posts, on October 24, 2018, not even 2 weeks after learning about my fathers lung cancer diagnosis, we lost my husbands grandmother Lorraine (Nana). Today, we lost her husband Mike (aka Leo, aka Papa). Mike was my husbands step-grandfather, but if you wanted to remove the “step”, it would be appropriate. Mike was a great grandfather to my husband for the majority of his life, and was a very big part of my children’s lives as well.

He owned and operated a body shop for many many years, and enjoyed his spare time at Lake Erie with Nana, and anyone else who was able to make the trip for the weekend. As a family, we spent many weekends (but not enough) at the lake where we enjoyed summer days on the boat while I tanned and my husband and children fished.

There is something to be said about a marriage that lasts 50+ years, and Mike and Lorraine spoke volumes about love and commitment. They laughed, they fought, and they loved. Papa, I am sad to lose you but I am happy that you and Nana are united once again. In less than 6 months, your love for Nana won, and you joined her in heaven to fish while Nana drank her Vodka on the rocks.

We will miss and love you both, and we are so happy that we were able to tell you good-bye last night. May you both rest in peace, and enjoy one another for eternity.

2 Months Since I Lost You

Dear Dad,

I cannot even speak your name without emotions creeping up one me. I can’t watch a commercial without emotions creeping up on me. I can’t hear of someone else who has a terminal illness without emotions creeping up one me.

Honestly Dad, I just can’t think of anything at all without emotions creeping up on me. But you know what, I would not have it any other way. If I have to cry every day for eternity I am good with it. If I have to cry for every person that I know who is diagnosed with cancer, I am good with it.

I know that I will forever be grateful that I had you as a father, and I am convinced that you are watching over me, us.

As I type this, once again, I am listening to Pandora through your waterproof Bluetooth speaker that we got you for your 69th birthday last year. I am balling my eyes out right now to Tuesday’s Gone by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I can’t help it. When I hear a song you liked, I like it even more. I feel at peace when I listen to music, even if it means that I cry.

Although it has been a little while since I wrote, this blog is my therapy. It allows me to cry, scream, smile, love, and every emotion in between because no one else is watching.

I love you so much that I can’t explain it. I never thought about how much it would hurt to lose you because I never had to. But now I have to think about it… every single day.

All I know is that I love you more than words can say, and I miss you dearly every single day. Please keep watching over us and know that you are loved unconditionally by everyone who ever had the pleasure of calling you their father, son,  grandfather, brother, relative, or friend.

You were one of a kind!

 

 

 

A Month Since He Left and I Feel Lost…

It’s hard to believe that a month has passed since I said good-bye to my Dad. I still can’t explain how I feel to anyone. One minute, I am laughing and joking, and the next I am trying to hide tears. It’s not like I have never lost anyone close to me before, but the reality is, I had never before lost my Dad.

It’s not something that you can prepare for, even when I knew he was terminally ill. You just keep waiting for him to be the next miracle cancer survivor, so you don’t want to prepare yourself for the inevitable even if you know it’s coming.

Most of the time, I want my alone time so that I can miss my Dad the way I know how without feeling guilty. I know that I shouldn’t feel guilty, but for some reason, I do. On the other hand, when I am laughing with family and friends, I feel guilty then as well.

I don’t think there is any definition of grief. I think that it is different for every person, and I believe that I am struggling to cope with life, and I am struggling to cope with death. What I mean is this, when I am living, I feel guilty that I’m not grieving, and when I’m grieving, I feel guilty that I’m not living. It’s the only way I know how to explain it.

The only stations I have been listening to (on Pandora) are Bruce Springsteen, and a few of the other classic rock stations that play the music my Dad loved. It’s then that I can smile and feel happy because it’s then that I feel so close to him. It takes me back to when I still lived at home. Dad would come home from work, when he would be gone for days at a time on the railroad, and it would be 3 or 4 in the morning. I can remember being so mad at him that he would turn the stereo on in the living room. He didn’t even turn it on loud, but I would wake up when I would hear him come in, so naturally, I could hear the music. I would give anything to wake up to my Dad playing his favorite tunes on the stereo. I would give anything to have just one more day with him.

It seems to be getting harder by the day, and I think that it has finally become “reality”. I have finally realized that I cannot call my dad anymore, and I cannot sit out in the sun with him anymore. The newspapers piling up on my front porch might just be piling up because I don’t want to throw them out. I don’t know what to do with them. The only reason I subscribed to the newspaper was for him.

I am beginning to feel lost without him. I am beginning to feel like I don’t know how I ever coped with him being so far away from me for the past 9 years. Maybe because I knew I could call, I knew I could visit. Now, all I have are the memories from those phone calls and visits, and all of the days before December 29, 2018.

I will forever miss my dad, and I will forever cherish every last minute that I had with him.

 

 

 

My Dad Secured His Place in Heaven Today

Today, at 9:05 am, my Dad took his final breath on this earth, and left us to be with the angels.

To My Dad:

I will never forget how much I loved you, and how much you loved me. I will never forget all of the things that made you a great dad, and a great father. I will never forget the sacrifices you made for your family. I will never forget all of the times in these past few months that you said to me “Miss, I don’t know what I’d do without you”. I will never forget the way you would play the drums on the steering wheel while driving in the car and listening to your favorite Bruce Springsteen song. I will never forget when I laid in that hospital bed with you just yesterday and wondered if you knew I was there. I will never forget the past 44 years, 6 months, and 7 days that I got to spend with you.

If I had to fight this battle with you again and again, I would appreciate every single day because it would be more days that I had to spend with you. More times that I got to hold your hand and tell you I love you. More times that I would have to say thank you for being the most wonderful father any girl could ask for.

I am grateful that you are finally at peace, but I miss you so much already that I can hardly breathe. I want to be angry, I want to scream at the top of my lungs, but I know that it is not what you would do. You would take the hand given to you, and you would make the best of it, as you always have.

You are the strongest man that I know, and I will be forever grateful that I can call you my Dad.

 

It’s Time to Hit the Bricks

In the final stages of cancer guide that was given to us by Hospice, it talks about the final days and hours. It talks about how people that are getting ready to let go begin “planning for their trip”. With women, they tend to talk about things like making sure that they remember to get milk, or to make sure that the laundry is done. With men, they tend to worry about things such as fueling up the car, or making sure the car is tuned up for their wife.

This morning, my sister heard my dad say very softly, “It’s Time to Hit the Bricks”. To many of you, this may seem insignificant, but to my sister and I, it meant something. My dad has been saying this since we were young. Every time we were going somewhere, he would say “It’s Time to Hit the Bricks”. He said it when he got called to work on the railroad, he said it when we were going to visit family, he said it for a variety of reasons, but it always meant one thing; IT’S TIME TO GO.

I called my Uncle Jimmy (Dad’s brother) because he wanted to be there with Dad during his final hours and/or days. He came to the house to be by dad’s side as well as ours.

Now, all we can do is wait for whenever it is that Dad decides “it’s time to hit the bricks”…