If We Were Having Coffee, August 14th

If we were having coffee today, August 14th, I’d welcome you back with open arms and if you’d offered a hug, I’d take it. 2022 has been rough and I could use one. Pull up a chair while I share some updates.

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We all experience life-changing events and this year, it was my turn. My father was diagnosed with cancer in January and since then, my family and I have been completely immersed in his journey. In the beginning, my sisters and I split shifts so that two of us were at my parents’ house each day and night. As Dad’s disease progressed, we adjusted our schedules and by May, we were all living there full-time. Our children and husbands came over on a regular basis and as my Mom said, we were determined to “make this the best summer ever.” I think we succeeded with the help of many, many people. We folded new additions into the family like Lane, my son’s friend, and Paola, my nephew’s fiance. They were with us every step of the way. We often had visitors — extended family, friends, and neighbors who came by to see Dad. John, the landscaper, stopped in each week to check on my father and even the local pharmacists asked about Dad when they saw one of us at the grocery store, often tearing up as we provided updates. Neighbors stopped by with food and strong shoulders to cry on. To say our community rallied is an understatement. Dad was well-loved.

My father was an exceptional man, a larger-than life character with a big, booming voice. He was kind and wise and had been very active in local government and events. He was someone people turned to for advice and helping hand. He valued family above all else and loved my mother with complete devotion. She was his everything and he was hers and through that they built a family I am proud to be a part of. Not many are lucky enough to know the bond we share.

Our days were filled with lots of laughter in addition to the inevitable tears. We now have a new collection of photos and videos, many of which include Dad singing various songs. One of my sisters spent time talking to Dad about his life, recording each conversation.  We became a well-oiled machine, learning to take care of his needs and adjust daily activities as needed. We were blessed with an amazing Visiting Nurse, Tara, who supported all of us as we dove further into this new reality. She is truly an angel. 

It was a tough transition when we moved from having Tara to hospice care. We selected a company from a list the hospital provided. All I can say about that is DO YOUR RESEARCH. The company was a complete nightmare and we spent a lot of time on the phone with them, trying to correct their errors or letting them know the person they sent was no longer welcome in our home because of incredibly insensitive behavior. They did very little to help my father. Thankfully we have medical personnel in our family who guided us through and explained not only what was happening but what would happen next. You often hear that hospice provides support for the family in addition to the patient. Not true in our case. In fact, they made things difficult for us at a time where we most needed assistance. Enough of that. Just do a search on a company before hiring them. I wish we had.

My father’s wake and funeral took place about a month ago. There were almost 300 people in attendance and we were fortunate to receive each one and listen to their kind wishes and memories. Some had gone to elementary school, high school, or college with Dad. Others were former colleagues or had worked with Dad on town events. Some were childhood friends, cousins, or neighbors. Others were friends of family members. Again, we were blessed by our community.

We are all adjusting to this strange new world without my father. We’ve all returned to our homes and respective lives. I’m starting to write again which somehow, I think, will be good medicine.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time… 

 

 

9 comments

  1. My sincere condolences on the loss of your dad here on earth. Fortunately, as Christians, we can be assured we’ll spend eternity together…. but that does not erase the pain of loss – – – however your wonderful family and supportive neighbors and friends will go a long way toward helping to ease you through this period. I really related to your comment about some caregivers who are not suited to their position: “… letting them know the person they sent was no longer welcome in our home because of incredibly insensitive behavior. ” We had a similar experience with people we hired to help care for my father-in-law before he qualified for Hospice. Fortunately, our Hospice caregivers were the loving compassionate type you have heard about. I’m sorry yours were a different experience. Bummer! Thank you for sharing with such open transparency. My heart goes out to you. “I [do] welcome you back with open arms and … offer a hug…” Please take it! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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