Friday, May 04, 2007

*One Year*

A year. A year passes so quickly. So many things can happen in a year. And then you think back to a moment a year ago that changed your life and you realize that a year can feel like yesterday while feeling like an eternity at the same time.

A year ago today the bottom fell out of my boat. A year ago today, my sisters and I became members of the “Dead Dad’s Club” and my Mom was alone for the first time in more than 45 years.

My Dad was always healthy when I was growing up. I only remember him being home sick from work a few times. He was a healthy guy.

Until the Christmas of 2004 when he ended up in the E.R. What sent him there, we found out later, was an infection and gall stones. But in diagnosing this, they discovered he had liver cancer. Apparently it’s quite rare for someone to have liver cancer as a primary cancer, but that’s what Dad had. In April 2005, Dad had his liver resected, needed no follow up treatment for the cancer and life went on.

Until July 2005…. we got another phone call… Dad was in the hospital with Congestive Heart Failure. He spent about a month in the hospital waiting for valve replacement surgery and recuperating. He healed well, was on a tonne of meds and was moving a little slower, but life went on.

Until April 2006. Mom and Dad traveled from Regina to Calgary for Easter. They went home on April 18th and I remember feeling like my heart had been ripped out as I watched them walk away through security at the airport. I was depressed like you wouldn’t believe. Something just wasn’t right. On the morning of April 26th, I was in tears and Bruce said I should call him, just to let him know I loved him. I thought I’d do it later in the day as it was still early and I didn’t want to wake him and Mom. I went to the gym and came home to a ringing phone. It was Mom… Dad was just taken by ambulance to the E.R…. the word was “stroke”.

My older sister and her daughter arrived at the Regina airport about an hour after I did the next day and we went straight to the hospital. Dad had had surgery the night before to try to alleviate the pressure in his brain and to stop the bleeding.

We spent the next 8 days back and forth to the surgical ICU. Hours sitting in the waiting room to be able to go in and see Dad for a few minutes. For the first few days, we held out a lot of hope. Then we were “guardedly optimistic”…. hoping he would wake up, but fearing the damage that was being done. And on May 3rd my sister and I were the first to go into his room and we knew something was wrong. It was if he was already gone, even though there were machines that were helping to keep him alive. It seems like the nurses knew too… instead of 2 of us allowed in the room, all of us were there… Mom, Heather, Sandra and Tim and I. We were sure that he wouldn't make the night...

But he did. We were all surprised. We went in to see him on the 4th and again, we weren't limited in our visits. We left in the mid afternoon and made the decision that it was time to let Dad go. They started to unhook Dad from all the machines somewhere after 6:30… we were there with him, we said good bye. Mom and I couldn’t stay in the room, but Heather and Sandra both wanted to stay with Dad. Dad was gone in minutes. And when we went back to his room after it was all over, it was so silent. No machines, no dings, no nothing. Silence. And peace.

And he was gone.

My Dad was 74 years old…. And was the greatest Dad I could have asked for. He wasn’t perfect, but he was my Dad. I miss so much about him…. His whistling… the twinkle in his eyes….hearing him call me (and my sisters and nieces) “Babe”.... hearing him call my sons “Guy”.

Growing up, I was Daddy’s little girl. I think he had hoped that this third child would be a boy, but alas, he had all girls. I did a lot of stuff with Dad. We played catch with a softball and our gloves in the summer. We rode our bikes together. We cross country skied. He taught me to drive. We played cards. We’d watch Days of our Lives together on his days off.

He loved his grandbabies so much… all five of them…. When the kids were babies, Dad would often have them entertained and happy. He’d have their diapers changed before anyone even knew they needed it.

A year. It can go by so quickly. But the memories make it seem like it was yesterday.

If tears could build a stairway
And memories were a lane
We would walk right up to heaven
And bring you back again

No farewell words were spoken
No time to say goodbye
You were gone before we knew it
And only God knows why

Our hearts still ache in sadness
And secret tears still flow
What it meant to lose you
No one can ever know

But now we know you want us
To mourn for you no more
To remember all the happy times
Life still has much in store

Since you'll never be forgotten
We pledge to you today
A hallowed place within our hearts
Is where you'll always stay.

author unknown

**Lovingly remembered and sadly missed by Bev, Heather, Rachael, Sandra, Tim, Casey, Ali, Nancy, Bruce, Alex & Matthew

I love you Dad


Tracy.H said...

Big Hugs, Nancy.((((((Hugs))))))

Thanks for sharing that with us.

safaricat said...

Dear Nancy,
I am so sorry for your loss. It doesn't matter how much time passes, loss can still feel the same way it did that very first day. Sending hugs your way.
I love the verse did you write it?

Jana Weaver said...

What a beautifully written remembrance of your dad! I'm so sorry for your loss. Lots of Huggs coming your way!!


Michelle said...

I know that was difficult for you to write. But it was just beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with us. I lost my dad two years ago...and it still hurts.

Big hugs to you.....

stampin_melissa said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. It really helps to put life in perspective. I've really been dragging my feet about going on a short trip to help celebrate my MIL's 70th birthday. We never know the twists and turns life has in store for us, and it is better to celebrate our loved ones now than regret later that we didn't take the time when we could have. Thanks for the reminder. {{{{hugs}}}}

Melanie K said...

Thank you for sharing Nancy and the tears are flowing. I was taken back to last days with my Dad. He wasn't perfect either but he was the perfect Dad & Grandpa for us.Blessings to you and your family on this sad day.

Amy said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Dad Nancy! He's smiling down from heaven reading the wonderful things you wrote about him. He might be physically gone, but he is forever alive in you!


p.s. Feel free to use the Flashback Friday thingy!

Kevin & Amy said...

So sorry for your loss and the grief you still suffer. Thanks for sharing this.

~Amy H.

SB said...

I lost my own father 10 YEARS ago and the pain is still very fresh. I think what you've written is a beautiful tribute to your dad. Have you tried scrapping it yet? I still cannot bring myself to scrap about my Dad...
I wish you comfort and healing. And I so glad that you know that your dad is at peace now. He is watching over you, I know it. I feel like I have my own personal abgel in Heaven with my Dad watching me.

Anna-Marie said...

Oh Nancy---what a beautiful thing you have written about your dad---sniff sniff sniff..
Lots of hugs and thoughts going out to you and your family today...


Sheila said...

Thank you for sharing Nancy. Your dad sounds like he was an amazing man. He must have been cuz he helped raise an amazing woman! I lost my dad 11 years ago this August and my mom is terminal. Needless to say reading your thoughts has brought tears to my eyes.
Take care Nancy and know that you have lots of people thinking about you today.


Terri said...

*Sniff* :(

(((HUGS))) Nancy!

Jan Scholl said...

Every time you look in the mirror-your dad is there. Every time your kids giggle, your dad is there. Everytime you eat your favorite dish, your dad is there. I truly believe that while bodies stop working, spirits never do. He is inhabitating everyone who's life he touched. The essence of each person never dies-it is passed on to those who love and share his life.

My brother's broken body has been buried for 35 years, but I always leave a spot for him on the sofa when Star Trek is on.

Live long and prosper.

Starr Mercer said...

I am absolutely touched by your tears actually. You are so strong and it is good to hear your beautiful memories. I love the poem and hope it's OK to use it next week as we prepare for a very hard day ourselves.


Quilt Nut said...

(((hugglies))) Nancy

Gerrie West said...

Hi Nancy hon, You have me in tears for many reasons. I am really feeling your pain Nancy. It has been 3 years May 3 when my mom left us. My two sisters and I spent the day doing things with each other and remembering more. We shared lots of hugs and stories . Sometimes it is easier and others it is like it was yesterday. It will get better but never go away. Always keep your special thoughts. And most of all know that I am thinking of you and your mom at this time. Have a wonderful visit with her and share lots and hug lots . Many hugs from Gerrie

Alli said...

I cried through that post! So touching Nancy. Life is so short really. Thank you for sharing these eloquent words; food for thought. Sending hugs.

Alex said...

Oh Nancy this had made me cry, probably because I know how you feel and just for the way you have written about your Dad, it is really beautiful. My mum passed away 11 years ago now from Cancer and it is still like yesterday in many ways but in memories and not so much grief. I still cry for her loss especially as she never saw her three beautiful granddaughters, whom she would have loved (I sometimes feel like this makes it worse for me somehow!!) but for other things in my life that have happened. But I know she is in a better place and is now with my step-father who passed away just 8 weeks ago now, which again brought it all back for me. So thinking of you at this time and hugs to you and yours - Alex xx

Tina Suzan said...

Hugs and Strength to you and your family.....
I lost my father 13 years ago today. It feels like but a couple. We were VERY close and spent a lot of time together. I feel soooo blessed to have had such a wonderful father/friend. A tear or two still falls BUT the good times/memories are what truly fill my heart.
In Peace,
Tina Suzan