Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's Nice To Share/Are We There Yet?

"We have got to stop meeting like this", I told the receptionist/cashier at the pediatrician's office when Ella, Brennan and I left for the fourth time in less than a week.  Ella had what the doctor referred to as "a nasty ear infection".  Antibiotics.  Next, Brennan was diagnosed with the flu.  His appointment was for 4:40pm and we finally got home about 7pm, after chasing from one pharmacy to the other, trying to fill the prescription for Tamiflu, which everybody seems to be out of.  When we opened the package, there were pills for our four year old Brennan to swallow.  We swapped it for liquid and within 10 hours, he was like brand new.  It actually took longer to GET the correct meds than it did for the meds to take effect. Then, the day after, Ella complained with her throat, as it turned out, because she had strep throat. Different antibiotics. The day after that, Brennan spiked a high fever and we learned he also had strep.  More antibiotics.  If they could only learn to share everything else as well as they do their germs!

Naturally, they recovered in plenty of time to attend Maddie's birthday party in Pearland on Friday evening, but were completely spent, weakened, I suppose after a week in the infirmary and on the way home, expressed that they were tired of being in the car and "how much longer" was it going to take.  Anna and Ella fell asleep, but Brennan was awake and as we drove into Lake Jackson, he began to recognize a few familiar buildings and businesses.  "Mama, what land are we in?" he asked, wanting to know if we were close to home.  We tried not to laugh, but didn't have much luck.  The kids keep us in stitches with their innocent vocabulary as their minds develop.   I could share much more, but the censors would be all over us.

God's Country

He's gone.  My Daddy-in-law quietly passed away this evening and I will be forever grateful that yesterday afternoon, Chelle and I had an opportunity to visit him in Houston one last time.  

I wish you could have known him.  The quintessential gentleman, always impeccably groomed, a good dancer with the social proficiency of a diplomat.  In later years, when his sweetheart and wife was ailing, he took impeccably good care of her, without so much as a single complaint, and nothing else put the light in his eyes like talking about his children and grandchildren.

Knowing how intelligent and friendly he is, it saddened me to see him trapped in a phase void of memories.  Because he lived a full life, Dad now has countless wonderful experiences to remember again.  

I will miss him terribly until I follow, not only because I feel like I have lost another little part of my husband, but because Dad was always kind and made me feel loved.  But it does make me smile to think that now, he is literally in God's country.  Love you, Dad.  


Friday, September 18, 2009

This Birth That We Call Death

Earlier today I received a call from my late husband's sweet sister, Marsha, to inform me that my beloved Daddy-in-law is rapidly failing, both mentally and physically.  We've known for some time that he was easing away from us with Alzheimer's and now, his body is catching up with his mind. I tell you this, because I have already begun the grieving process.  

When I returned home from my granddaughter, Maddie's birthday party tonight, I had a message on my machine from Marsha's Jon, letting us know that Dad has taken a turn for the worse, that they don't expect him to live much past the weekend, if that long. My heart is so heavy and yet, I am buoyed up when I visualize the joyful reunion with his wife, whom he adores, his son Michael who adores him, and others that have gone before. 

My wise friend, Virgie, once confided in me that she thinks of death with parallels of the birthing process.  Some departures from this frail existence happen slowly and methodically, while others can be so untimely and quick that there is little time to take it all in. Her husband, for instance, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, in the middle of the night, just as many babies have come into this world.  But I think of my mother's passing; gradual and predictable, not unlike an infant, making that difficult passage through the birth canal, with our knowledge that a grand event is eminent.  Now, I never fail to think about the comparison of childbirth, when faced with the parting of a loved one.

The irony is, today we celebrate several birthdays other than Maddie's.  My brother-in law, John, was born on this day and more recently, my beautiful granddaughter, Amelia Grace. Our friends, the Ashtons, presented us with a brand new baby girl this week.  My husband, Mike died on his daughter Tracie's birthday and I lost a cousin yesterday to cancer. It is no wonder that in preparation for death, our thoughts are appropriately drawn toward the connection with new life.   

Tonight, I savor the cherished memories I have of this extraordinary man that I have loved and admired from the very first introduction.  Dad would be 90 years old in November and I am aware that nobody is getting out of this world alive, but I often find comfort in the following quote I'll have to paraphrase . . .

"Aren't we grateful that God doesn't leave the details up to us?  When, oh when, would we ever be willing to let go of those we love?"  I am hoping I will have time to visit Dad once more, even though he no longer knows me or will even know that anyone is there at all.  This, I do for me.