Friday, October 21, 2011

A look back on 18 months

So I was thinking... or wondering, why for the last year I had such a hard time being so positive. And tonight, it dawned on me that it's been one heck of a year.

1) I bought my first home on my own. Now, this is great but stressful. Finding the home, waiting for the short sale to go through, finding a renter for the other house, moving into the new house. Budgeting... I am still trying to figure this one out.
I started looking at the end of July 2009.
Found this house in February 2010
Closed in May 2010
Moved in May 2010 (Memorial weekend)

2) The week I was signing papers on the house, I found out my dad had been given 6-12 months to live (that was in January 2010).

3) June 2010 - go to Alaska to see my dad

4) Him- he comes to visit for Labor Day, have a great time together, then he gets distant, work is stressful for him, life is stressful. We grow distant, well he does, I go girl, he goes more distant... not a good situation. Both of us are having a difficult time. My heart is sad.

5) Max dies {my 14 year old Rottie/Queensland Heeler dog}

6) My mom moves into my house the end of September with her crazy yellow lab. She has fractured her knee. I have a new puppy {Lynkin}. She is a great help but we realize 6 weeks later we cannot live together. Mom goes back home but I am thankful she could stay with me and we were able to help one another (me with her knee, her with Lynkin and the house training).

7) I finish my MBA sometime in October 2010. That is it, it's over. I get a 'good job'.

8) November 2010 - back to Alaska to see my dad

9) Washington DC in December 2010 to visit Erika. I need a major vacation and it was just what I needed. He is even more distant, my heart is even more sad. My dad is not able to understand that I am even in DC.

10) Did I mention work has been stressful since April 2010? Yeah that is not a good mix but I still like my job and work with some great people so I am thankful for their support.

11) After March 2011, the budget with the new house is getting better, less stressful. I've come to accept We are done. My dad has a great week.

12) April 2011 - my dad is continuing to stay in his confused frame of mind. He would usually come out of it once a week for at least a day. I would be happy when I caught him on a 'good' day.

13) May 2011 - Things with my dad are not improving. I do not know what to do. Do I go see him or wait. Confused, sad, concerned.

14) June 2011 - Back to Alaska. Things spiral from there. 6 weeks of phone calls to Alaska, trying to find a way to get my dad here. The wife can't take care of him, possibly a nursing home, unsafe for him to be home alone. What to do

15) July 2011 - Well, you can read below

My mom mentioned that I have been through a lot in the last year. That I am strong. I thought why would she say I've been through so much? Then I started thinking and that is what I came up with.

October 21, 2011 -
My mom is healthy and you know, she is my best friend. That makes me happy.
He is back, slowly. So maybe? Maybe we needed a break. Maybe no matter what, he would have tried his best and it would not have been good enough for me. So maybe, that is why. Maybe to prepare my heart for July. I don't know but He is back and that makes me happy.
My dad.... my heart is still empty. I am communicating with a friend of my dad's, he is emailing me stories. {my dad is badass!} The stories put a smile back in my heart. A smile where my dad is. My dad would want me to be happy. To keep him in my heart. I will and I do.

For those of my friends who have dealt with me for the last 18 months, I thank you. It's definitely been a ride and the grieving is not over with but I am going to be ok. My mom says I am strong. My dad told me I am him. My dad was very strong.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


found this through pinterest... so very true.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Memorial Service for my dad

On Sept. 24, I had a memorial service for my dad. For me, it was not the traditional, go to the funeral home type service. It was held in my mom's backyard. I rented a 30x30 tent with tables and chairs for 90 people. We had centerpieces and food for after. I spent hours working on a video to share with family and friends. I planned it to be perfect, just for him. I guess in my mind, it represented how much my dad meant to me. It started with me getting up to thank everyone for coming. The problem was, I did not write anything down to say. Every time I went to write, my mind went blank. I had rehearsed over and over what I would say, what I wanted to say, how I would eliminate some things, add something else. There was just so much and I couldn't get it down on paper. Oh, I have sheets of paper all over from my flights to go up there over this year, the flights on my way home, notes or thoughts while I was up there, and obviously this blog as well. So, after I started my thank you's and after the nice neighbor across the street stopped the landscapers (yes, right when I got up to talk, they appeared behind my mom's backyard brick wall to trim the oleander's,). They were nice enough to stop though... so back to the service. I thanked people and left some out (ughh... I knew that would happen, it's IMPORTANT to write things down for situations like this!!!) the Marines entered for the full honor guard.
My entire life, I had imagined this service. When I was little, I would tell my dad that I wanted the flag and even as I got older. I never thought the day would come though, that I'd be accepting a flag in honor of my dad's service to this country. The ceremony was... I don't even think I know the words to describe it. It was somber, beautiful, sad, respectful, amazing. I am so proud of my father, he was an amazing man who accomplished his dreams. He had no fear, he protected his family and loved them with all he had. He was a true friend to so many people. Ones that I can count and go to for advice, because my dad was the man he was. Honor, Courage, Commitment, Integrity, and Respect.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

from your daughter

Today I just missed you. Today would be one of those days I would have just picked up the phone to call you and talk about my day and yours. I'd ask you what you were watching and if it wasn't a football game, it would be CNN, the Military Channel, or some movie. Whether it be a war movie, your cowboy/China movie, a comedy, or even a lifetime movie. I don't know why today was so hard for me. I have to start another class today. I would have told you that too. I would have told you that finally, over the last few months, work was finally getting better. I would have just been able to hear your voice and tell you that I love you. You would have asked if I was driving and talking to you and I would have lied and told you no because you hated when I would drive and talk to you. I still don't get that because if we were in a car together, we'd be talking so what is the difference? People drive and eat at the same time, not much difference there either. I would have mentioned that and you would still say it doesn't matter, you don't like when I drive and talk on the phone... so that is why I would have told you I wasn't driving. We'd talk about the weather, was there snow yet and I would tell you today it was nice. You'd say it would still be too hot for you here. Eventually, we'd end up wrapping up our conversation and I'd tell you that I love you and you'd say "I love you too, baby". Then we'd hang up. I would be able to call you again another day. And now I can't call you... and dad, it's really, really crappy. I hate it and I miss you so much. I love you with all my heart... forever.

Saturday, October 01, 2011


So since my dad died, I keep having dreams of people dying or they are going to die. My aunt said the same thing happened to her when each of my grandparents passed away. So far, it's been random people. Nothing that really effects me. Last night, it was about my mom though. That is not cool! So now I'm awake and my emotions are blah, I really hate when a dream does that to you. I never dreamed like this when Paula died, so this is new. I really don't like it because most of the time I don't even remember my dreams. I just wish that my dad would appear in mine. Maybe I'm not ready for that yet though.

I know that I keep writing about my grief; however, there is a purpose to this. I am hoping that others will find this and it may help them through this horrific time. I am hoping that anyone else with a parent who was effected by Agent Orange and who has cirrhosis of the liver, knows that even though the government will not admit that Agent Orange causes cirrhosis, it really does and that he or she is not alone. Just so the world does know... Agent Orange does cause cirrhosis of the liver. Even my dad's doctor mentioned that his cirrhosis was not because of drinking. Now to figure out how to get the government to change their thinking.