Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Getting it off my chest....

I've been contemplating blogging about this...worried that a certain family member would see it...in my blog earlier tonight, I mentioned how dads passing had changed me in some ways...softened my heart a bit towards mom. And that is true....and I'd like to say it was that way for everyone, but it's not.

Do I write this and worry about someone seeing it or do I hold back and keep it in?

To that I say, oh well....if she reads this, then she'll know exactly how I feel, right?

I am the youngest of eight children - my brother, only brother I might add, is the oldest - he is 55....then there are 6 sisters who range in age from 53 to 44. I came along 11 years after my parents thought the family was complete. I was a surprise - in the sense that they weren't planning on more children.

So for 11 years, my sister K was the baby ....and then boom....along comes Erin.

Well, at the funeral, K got up to talk about dad and imagine my surprise when she decides to tell everyone how dad told her she was still his baby no matter what, how she was his favorite and loved her the most. Can you imagine how hurt I felt? K has always done whatever she could for attention, and dads funeral was no exception. at 44 yrs old, I have to wonder when she'll grow up and act like an adult.

There we are at the funeral, my heart is in a million pieces and now I sit and wonder if dad really loved me?! I wonder what all the people who were there thought? Of course, I know deep down that dad did love me, but it still hurts like hell to hear a sister get up in front of a crowd and tell how she was loved more and the favorite.

When the service was over, and the crowd was passing through, she made a point of mentioning it to several people again...and even used the term "mistake" to describe my being born. It hurt me so much that I got in the car and balled my eyes out even more...not wanting to go on to the reception after the funeral...my other sister had to talk me into going...I wanted nothing more than to go home since K made it quite obvious that I was pretty much a nothing.

It is precisely this type of bull that has caused me to stop being friends with her a while back....she is my sister and nothing will change that....but that doesn't mean I have to like her or be friends with her....she's hurt me one too many times now....no amount of sorry will repair the damage done....she's pulled crap like this one too many times now.

A few years back she came to visit and one night at supper she called me a cow or heifer no less than 25 times in an hour...I went to bed that night soon as supper was over, crying my eyes out.

She tried to teach Trevor, who was 2.5 at the time, to say I was a bitch.

The list goes on and on....I refuse to be sucked in to her lies anymore...I refuse to feel sorry for her anymore....I don't need that type of person in my life....

If you do read this K....this is why you don't hear from me....this is why you won't be around my children....this is why I want nothing to do with you....you made the choice to be this person and now you have to live with the fact that you have alienated your family....

But as for me, I am standing up and refusing to allow you to hurt me again!!!

Still so raw....

The pain of losing dad is still so very raw...it's been a week and half and yet it in ways it seems like just yesterday but the pain feels like it's been a lifetime.

Mom needed to go back up to the Veterans home yesterday to get dads walker and the cash he had left in his spending account. Well, with her car not working, she asked me to take her up, so I did. When we got up there, I left mom in the car with the kids and ran inside to get the stuff. I didn't imagine that it would be hard being back there....wasn't I in for a surprise?!

I stood at the reception desk for about 2 minutes...no one in sight...I look out the window and what do I see? A hearse! I couldn't believe it...of all the times to be there, it would be when someone had passed and was being picked up! I suddenly felt a bit nauseous. I walked through the doors and down the hall...and it felt like the walls were closing in on me....there were patients sitting in the hall slumped over...staring into space...the room of the man who passed away, the door was open, curtain barely pulled....there are carts of stuff in the hallway - looked like bedpans and what not...nurses trying to weigh an elderly gentleman ....I went to the nurses desk, asked for dads walker and who to see about getting the money. The nurse told me to check with so and so...and I turned to walk back down the hall...what do I see but the man who they were trying to weigh, being pushed purposely into the cart of bedpans and the nurse yelling at him to watch himself.

I couldn't find anyone who could help me get dads money, so I went back outside...and with that they were bringing out the man who had passed away...his body draped with the American flag. I couldn't help but cry...it was still so fresh in my mind...loosing dad...wondering if they did that for dad when they came to get him...wondering how long his body was left at the hospital since it was after midnight when he passed....it was just a flood of emotion all over again.

Back to the Veterans home...I have to say I hate that place. The level of care is horrible...we've heard from so many people who either have loved ones there now or have had in the past how horrible it is.

See when dad was alive, he was on oxygen...and several times he was taken to the ER and told that he had too much oxygen in his system...who was upping it? Why was it being upped? The day dad passed, when mom and Gail went up to see him and he was out of it, couldn't open but one eye for a second, couldn't eat, couldn't drink, couldn't speak, the nurse said it was a reaction from the Ativan and Xanax....too much on his system....why the hell was he being given both of those medications together? There are so many questions left unanswered! See, dad was still of sound mind and wasn't afraid to speak it...he might of been in the nursing home but unlike his counterparts, he was still had full mental capacity. We wonder now if they got tired of dad speaking his mind...you know give him a little something extra to keep him "calm and quiet"? Let's face it, when the rest of your patients are in a daze and have no idea who is coming and going and what is going on around them, and then you have the man who isn't afraid to tell you where to shove it, you have to wonder?! I mean, he went so fast - yes he was sick, but who authorized these medications? Why were they given? The nurse had told mom and Gail that he'd sleep it off and be fine...obviously that wasn't the case. I will go to my own grave forever wondering if perhaps all wasn't done that possibly could have been done to save him! Wondering if perhaps there was some sort of foul play there.

When mom and Gail got up there to see him - he had no pants on - he was half exposed....not cleaned up....his shirt had red jello stains all over it...he was wearing red socks - and if you knew my dad, you'd know it would be a cold day in hell before he'd willingly put on red socks. He was all dirty. It was as if they hadn't given a rats ass about him.

When we went back to the nursing home at 4am that morning to collect his things, his light was still on...TV still on...he'd been out of the room for almost 12 hours and no one had noticed?

It kills me to wonder about what kind of care he received in his final days....and just hurts my heart so much.

I just want the hurt to go away...I want to feel like I can breathe again without this weight on my chest...but part of me is so scared that if the hurt stops that will mean I no longer remember dad, and I don't want that either.

I am dealing with extreme guilt...it had been two weeks since I had seen dad....between him being in and out of the hospital with pneumonia and the kids and I being sick, I hadn't been up more - for fear of making him sicker. And of course, dad would always tells us 5 minutes after we got there, that we could go...I think he didn't want to feel like anyone was making a big deal out of him...so here it had been just about 2 weeks since I had seen him alive, breathing, smiling ....two weeks....and then the last time I see him, he isn't even responsive and has no idea I am around....it breaks my heart so much...I wish I had seen him more...I wish I could have one more chance to tell him how much I loved him...to tell him he was my hero....to tell him he was the best daddy....how he shaped and made me who I am today....how he was the first man I ever fell in love with....I want to say all of that and so much more to him and I hate myself for never having that chance...I wanted to write him a letter...and kept thinking I had time...and before you know it, he was gone.... I don't know if I can ever forgive myself!

I will say that dads passing has softened me a bit....I've had issues with my mother for years...and while I still do - I mean, I haven't forgotten those things, they are in the back of my mind now....it makes you realize how short time is and how you don't want to focus on stuff like that. This is a time to support each other ....grieve together, not argue and hold on to hate.

On another note, we leave tomorrow for our trip downstate - Trevor has an appointment Friday with a specialist. To be honest, I don't care about this trip - if it hadn't taken so long to get into this doctor, I'd cancel it, because right now the last thing I want to do is go away. I want to stay here and continue to grieve in my own way. Everyone keeps saying this will do me good, but I just don't know. I don't want to have a bunch of fun right now...it doesn't feel right....

Sunday, May 17, 2009

With a heavy heart....

It is with a very heavy heart that I come tonight to blog. The past 24 hours have been a whirlwind of emotion, from the very high to the utmost depths of low!

Saturday morning at 1:45am, my sister Gail (my fathers proxy) received a call once again from the nursing home stating they were taking my dad over to the ER, as he was having issues breathing again.

A few minutes later, they called back to tell her they decided to keep him there instead and increase his oxygen, and would call if need be.

Mom tried calling dad repeatedly in the morning, only to have the phone ring busy. Finally, she was able to get through, only to hear the phone pick up on the other end and then nothing. She called the nurses station and left a message to have someone check on dad.

In the meantime, my sister Kerry and I were out and about and so mom asked us to stop by the nursing home and go in and check on dad. When we got to the nursing home, Victoria was asleep in the back, so Kerry went in alone.

Kerry came out and explained that dad wouldn't answer her as she stood at his door, so she got a nurse, who came down to check on dad. Finally, she was able to go in and see him, but he was basically unresponsive - didn't acknowledge her - was slumped over. They explained it was the medication and that he was tired and weak.

This left us very worried!

Mom and my other sister Gail, decided to go up themselves around 1pm to see dad. Dad was still basically unresponsive, one arm shaking against his stomach, only able to open one eye, not able to speak, he hadn't eaten or drank anything. Mom fed him ice cubes to help quench his thirst, and at one point he did grab her finger and held on for dear life.

After being there a couple hours, they left - the nurse assured them that dad was just tired and it was the effects of the medications. 3:30pm they came home.

5:30pm they received another call from the nursing home stating that dad was not getting better, so they were taking him over to the Emergency Room. Mom and Gail immediately headed up, and I went and picked up my sister Kerry, and we also headed up.

Up until that point, I still thought dad would pull out of this, he'd be fine, back in his room at the nursing home and life would go on. I really believed or perhaps, just wanted to believe, that he'd show us all, and would live another 10 yrs.

But when I walked into his room in the ER, I knew right then, that his time was extremely limited - this was indeed the end - would it be minutes? hours? days? No one could tell us, but this was it. At this point, he was receiving what they call, "Care and Comfort" - measures just to make his final moments in this world tolerable and pain-free.

Dad was hooked up to an IV for hydration - he hadn't eaten since the day before, as well as Ativan and Morphine. We sat there around his bedside, crying, knowing all to well that this was the end of our time with dad. Bells were dinging, lights blinking, machines screeching, words like "extreme tachycardia" flashing across the monitor, all the while, dad lay there, his body cool to the touch, his breathing ragged, his chest heaving, and occasionally his heart stopping every so briefly as it worked so very hard to keep going.

Shortly after, they came and told us they were bringing dad to another room so that we weren't in the ER, with all the loud noises, people, etc. They put us in a big room - brought us snacks, big reclining chairs, blankets, etc. We continued to sit around dad, talking to him - hoping that maybe, by some small chance, he could hear our voices and know that we were with him as he was about to leave us. We shared stories of our youth - how we would run to dad as he was headed to the store and whisper to him, asking him to buy us a candy bar, and not tell mom! LOL! I sat there watching as his body began to involuntarily move, his chest and stomach heaving with every strained breathe he tried to take. I longed to have him awake and just one more time tell me, "not to run with scissors" or "put your gloves and hat on"....just to hear his voice one more time.

We paced back and forth, we sat and cried, we shared stories, and mostly we watched dad.

Mom's pastor stopped by and stayed a while...eventually praying with us before he left around 10:30pm.

As time went on, the episodes of dads heart stopping got more frequent and lasted longer. His body stopped heaving as much with every breath. The involuntary reflexes became fewer and fewer.

I rubbed his hand...stroked his head and face...kissed him...told him how much I loved him and how much the kids loved him. I wanted to lay down next to him and just be his little girl one more time, but that was not possible.

Shortly before midnight, the episodes became one after another - our eyes glued to his chest, waiting to see if each time would be the last one. Mom said her goodbyes, told him it was ok to go. And it wasn't long after that with all four of us around him, loving him till the very end, that my daddy drew his last ragged breath, and passed away.

My own heart felt like it had been ripped out of my bare chest - like it was exposed. I didn't want to believe it. I watched his chest, hoping that at any second, he'd take another breathe, but it became quite apparent that wouldn't happen.

I walked down the hall to the nursing station, bawling my eyes out, to tell them, that it appeared dad had drawn his final breathe. A nurse came in and listened for a heartbeat and confirmed what we already knew, dad was indeed gone.

I cried more...I felt like my legs were jello and would give out....my stomach felt sick and I could feel bile crawling up into my throat...my head was pounding, feeling like it would explode at any second. I kissed dad one last time, stroking his cool face, hoping he knew even though he was unconscious when we got there, that somehow he knew were were there till the very end.

They allowed us to stay as long as we liked - so we spent another hour with dad - making phone calls to loved ones and silently pouring our hearts out to him, least I know I was.

Around 4am, we went over to the nursing home and cleaned out his stuff, so that we wouldn't have to go up there again and face that.

My heart is aching....burning....stabbing pain. Part of me feels this is a bad dream and I hope I wake up and find everything is ok, and the other part of me is angry...angry I didn't get to see dad alive one more time before last night....angry at how unfair life is...angry that at 33 yrs old, I am saying goodbye to my dad for one last time.

Walking out of that hospital room this morning, looking back and knowing that dad would never be coming out of the hospital was gut-wrenching.

Watching your parent, a person you love beyond words, draw their last breathe on this earth as they pass into the next is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

Dad, I hope you knew how much I loved you. You were my hero! I couldn't have asked for a better father. I will miss you forever! You will always have a special place in my heart!

May 4, 1928 - May 17, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Not making any friends....

I am sure I won't make any friends with what I am about to say, and dare say, I might even loose some, and if that is what happens, well then, really it's their loss.

Maine yesterday became the 5th state in the nation to legalize gay/lesbian marriage. I am beyond thrilled! I am glad that for once, Maine is paying attention to the times. I am glad that we can be amongst some of the first states to do the right thing.

No, I am not a lesbian, but I've had many gay/lesbian friends over the years, and I am happy that they will now be able to experience the very basic right of getting married. I have two small children and have no idea what the future holds for them, and if one of them years down the road were to tell me he/she were gay or lesbian, I'd still love them, be happy for them, and want them to be able to experience the same things their father and I had.

Yesterday, one of my sisters brought up two points why she was against it. One being the fact that now people will want to marry dogs. I think this is making a huge leap. Yes, there will always be nut jobs out there, but they will be there whether we allow gay people to marry or not. Legalizing gay marriage won't suddenly give the idea to a sane person to marry their dog! That is suck a weak argument.

The other point she used was that now people will be suing pastors, priests, etc if they refuse to marry them. I don't see this happening. The church doesn't have to marry anyone it doesn't want to. No one will be forcing a church to marry gays and lesbians. I would venture to guess that gays and lesbians are going to want to be married by people who support their sexuality. If I was a lesbian, I sure am not going to ask the pastor who is vehemently against homosexuality to marry me, obviously he isn't going to do it. I would go to a pastor/preacher/priest who I knew was accepting of my sexuality and life.

I really think these arguments hold so little merit! Gay marriage will not take anything away from a straight marriage - if it does, then I would be so daring and bold to say, that your marriage had issues to begin with.

Karl and I have been married 10 yrs - together a total of 15 - allowing gays to marry has absolutely no affect on our marriage. It doesn't demean it. It doesn't change it. We are still just as married today as we were 10 yrs ago.

I just can't wrap my mind around how people can be so close-minded. I don't understand how those who call themselves Christians, as in the case of my family, who profess to love everyone, can be ok with denying basic rights for a group of fellow human beings.

I especially don't understand how the majority of my family can judge others, yet send their risque/crude emails and jokes, curse like truckers, watch porn, have sex outside marriage or before marriage, drink, smoke, etc, and yet turn and use their religion against others. Where was your religion when you were sending the email with the naked guys to me? Where was your religion when you called me to curse and talk about your soon to be ex-husband and his !bleep! new girlfriend? Where was your religion when you were out having an affair? Where was your religion when you were having sex before you were married? etc? Where was it? Why is it my family only uses their religion when it's convenient? when it suits their needs/wants? Don't live your life ungodly all week long and then when something like homosexuality comes along, suddenly profess your Christianity. Don't talk about how God is being taken out of everything, when you never acknowledge God to begin with any other day of the week. Stop being hypocrites.

I came across a quote recently and I thought it was wonderful, unfortunately I have no idea who wrote it, but I will share anyways, with the admission that this is not something I wrote:

"Live in such a way that those who know you but don't know God, will come to know God because they know you"

I'd love to ask certain family members, are you really living in such a way that people will come to know God? Because as someone who isn't religious, who doesn't claim Christianity, you are not drawing me in by the way you live - if anything, you are turning me off even more.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

National Scrapbooking Day

Today, May 2nd is National Scrapbooking Day! This means lots of awesome sales and contests and freebies...it's a festival for the senses! I scored some really fabulous stuff and can't wait to get scrapping!

If you are a digital scrapper, I hope you got out there on the internet today and took advantage of all the festivities!